“It is a wonderful tradition as it brings families with young children and introduces families to the park.”
-- Ann Korzeniewski, employee at Colvin Run Mill park
During the last weeks of December, the interior of Colvin Run Mill parks barn was filled with 250 feet of train track, nine trains and more than 500 miniature imitation trees for the 24th annual train display created by Jim and his wife Jo Anne Stapleton. “This is the only hobby I’ve ever had,” said Jim Stapleton, a resident of Purcellville in Loudoun County.
On Saturdays, Dec. 21 and 28 and Sundays, Dec. 22 and 29 the model trains were on display at Colvin Run Mill barn. No reservations were required to see the free event, which lasted from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. “It is a wonderful tradition as it brings families with young children and introduces families to the park. It also brings people to visit during what may be a more quiet time of the year,” said Ann Korzeniewski, employee at Colvin Run Mill park.
“My son is really into trains, so it is fun for him,” said Chris Keating, resident of Reston. “I tried to purchase an electric train set for the holidays but was unable to. It is good a wholesome event.” Amongst the train decorations was a small sign that read, “Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional.”
“This is my first year seeing this show at Colvin Run Mill,” said Paul Russell, a resident of Alexandria. “It is a beautiful exhibit and it makes good use of the space for the holiday time. My son was interested in the Thomas the Tank Engine.” Jim Stapleton and his wife Jo Anne were assisted by some volunteers to put together the train display. “It is pretty much the same as last year,” said Mrs. Stapleton. “I think it has been a good show.”
Over a thousand visitors came to see the train display during the four days it was on display. The first train exhibit at Colvin Run Mill was in 1990. “The Stapletons are really great people, there are not many people like that in the world,” said Jerry Bohlander, a resident of Maryland and member of The Washington, Virginia & Maryland Garden Railway Society.
Located near Virginia State Route 7, Colvin Run Mill in Great Falls is the sole surviving operational 19th-century water-powered mill in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Throughout the year, the mill hosts events for children, adults and families, from music to historical perspectives. In February, the mill will present maple syrup boil-downs to public. To learn more about Colvin Run Mill, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/colvinrunmill/ or call 703-759-2771.