Homewood will celebrate its rail history at the 15th annual Homewood Rail Fest from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 18, in the H-F Park District Auditorium, 2010 Chestnut Road.
The Homewood Rail Fest features intricate multiple-gauge model train layouts to view and kids activities, including crafts and coloring train cut-outs. Kids can also participate in the railroad scavenger hunt. Prizes will be given to kids who find the hidden items in the train layouts.
Collectors can also view and purchase vintage train memorabilia including antique trains, model trains and items associated with the bygone days of the railroad.
Homewood’s own MG Bailey will perform rail songs from yesteryear, and food will be available as well.
While the main attraction is at the auditorium, Rail Fest is an opportunity to visit Homewood’s other nearby rail amenities, including the rail watching platform on Harwood just south of the Metra station.
Viewers can watch the train traffic and listen to the conductors over a speaker as they maneuver on one of the eight tracks servicing Amtrak and Metra passenger trains and CN and other freight trains.
Visitors can also experience the Rail Park on Park Ave north of the Amtrak station on the west side of the tracks, featuring the restored Illinois Central locomotive and caboose 9426.
Connecting the two rail attractions is the underground pedestrian tunnel adorned with murals depicting local railroad history and murals painted by Homewood’s Girls Scouts.
“This is a great festival for the whole family to experience what makes Homewood such a wonderful community,” said Mayor Rich Hofeld. “The town was built around the railroad. Homewood’s Rail Fest is the perfect time for the community to come together and to have everyone outside the community to visit us on the Metra Electric line.”
Public works open house
The annual Public Works Department open house from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. is the department’s headquarters at 17755 Ashland Ave. The day provides residents with a chance to see up close how Public Works works, with demonstrations and opportunities to operate machinery with the help of Public Works staff.
Kids will have a chance to take a ride up high in an aerial bucket. They can try their hands at operating a backhoe or mini-excavator under the guidance of a professional. There are sand piles to play in and demonstrations of how the water system works and how water line and sewer repairs are made.
Hotdogs will be served.
The village Tree Committee will have representatives there to answer questions about the local urban forest and the current decline in maple trees.
Other government agencies and utility companies, including ComEd, Nicor and Cook County Department of Homeland Security & Emergency Management, will be present to provide information.
Homewood Rail Fest and public works open house are free and open to the public.
For more information, visit homesweethomewood.com or call 708-798-3000.