The now sixth annual Train Day celebration over the weekend saw perfect skies and hundreds of people converge in downtown Hope throughout the day and early evening for the ever-growing and evolving event.

The now sixth annual Train Day celebration over the weekend saw perfect skies and hundreds of people converge in downtown Hope throughout the day and early evening for the ever-growing and evolving event.
“I think it went great today. I think we had a great crowd, and everything went very smoothly,” Sharon Caldwell, the principal chairperson and organizer of Train Day, said.  
Caldwell said the weather was a concern briefly as it had rained part of Thursday and Friday in the lead-up to the event, but Saturday saw near perfect weather and temperatures, just in the nick of time.
“We were watching, but as it turned out, it was a great day, a great turnout,” Caldwell said.
Due to what is now a multifaceted event, happening throughout the day and spread over two city blocks in downtown, Caldwell conceded that an exact attendance figure remains elusive, but she believed “We looked like we had a lot of people here, more than last year, but we added new attractions, like the petting zoo and the dunking booth, and we had more people involved than ever before.”
The Southwest Arts Council, for example, had artists at its emerging ArtPark, while another new addition, street vendors, inhibited the adjacent space directly behind Caldwell’s Tailgater’s Restaurant.
“The event keeps getting bigger and bigger each year,” Caldwell said, “We are already looking forward to year seven.”
Caldwell was also quick to praise the event’s sponsors and numerous volunteers.
“Without them and their commitment, none of this would be possible. I am so thankful and blessed. The overall goal has always been to make this fun for families and free for families; thanks to our sponsors and volunteers, we can make this happen,” she said.
Since much of the activities and shows within Train Day are free, including the Charlie Farley concert at the end, there were no tickets to reflect a head-count.  Over the course of the day, different groupings of people were seen coming and going; the early part and mid-morning of the event saw many more young kids and families, while later, a young adult and mid-aged crowd was mostly seen at the Farley concert.
As Farley took the stage, he kicked off a 90-minute performance with a rousing rendition of his popular sing-along “Backwood Boys” as well as “Jacked Up” and a very Ted Nugent-sounding version of “Rock til You Drop,” with Jason Helms on lead guitar.  Occasional trains that went by were not withstanding as Farley simply cranked up the volume.