Photo Gallery 27 - Page 3
Group Photo and all photographs on pages 4 & 5 of Gallery 27 by Carol Jobusch
Reflections upon Fourteen Annual International Small Scale Steamup
Diamondhead 2007 by Jim Pitts
Literally across the years and around the world, the International Small Scale Steamup is simply identified as “Diamondhead.” This is the January pilgrimage point for veterans and novices whose passion is miniature live steam trains.
Amidst post holiday blues and the cold of midwinter, Diamondhead is a once a year gathering that is literally a warm spot of fun and fellowship, inspiration and encouragement. In the countdown to Mardi Gras, Diamondhead for the Gauge 1 live steam community is literally where the good times roll!
Because of Hurricane Katrina, the 2006 International Steamup was cancelled. Last year’s winter routine was out of rhythm and the inspiration of being with kindred spirits was sorely missed.
Despite news reports, the full furry of Katrina on the Mississippi Gulf Coast was not fully appreciated by many of us until we viewed it up close and personal. A casual tour of the region revealed more than we could have ever imagined.
In some ways the storms aftermath left a landscape of “third world” ruble and ruin. Living in a weather war zone is disorienting and depressing. Basics utilities of power and water, the security of home and employment, along with familiar landmarks were flooded and blown away.
The Diamondhead Resort (formerly the Ramada Inn) was bruised and battered. Despite wishful thinking by management underscored by our commitment that “the show must go on”; reconstruction is still “a work in progress.” Once we were oriented to the larger community context, our hearts went out in appreciation for the service staff, who faithfully reported to work in providing hospitality for their guests.
While never “first class,” the motel is our winter steam retreat. This is our place to “boil water” and blow off steam. Here there is permission is pass butane gas, burn coal and light alcohol fires. All with the purpose of recreating the tried and true technology of live steam.
Whether our fuel of choice is alcohol, butane or coal, there is an ecumenical spirit of acceptance. Friendships are established that span geography, culture and even language.
At Diamondhead 2007, we once again had opportunity to put names with faces, see the latest locomotives, secure supplies and to simply enjoy being in each others company. Our table fellowship moved to new locations with familiar restaurant names serving the cuisine for which the Gulf is famous.
There was a chorus of “Thanks You, Jerry Reshew,” for not only initiating, but also for sustaining this annual celebration of all things steam. The 14th Annual International Small-Scale Steam Up was once again a wonderful reunion of enthusiasts and friends.
A stated in big and bold billboard letters, “Welcome to Mississippi; it’s like coming home!” Yes, it was good to be back home with our extended family in Diamondhead! Already we have marked on our calendars, January 18-20, 2008 as our time to be together again.
The Fourteenth International Small Scale Steamup and Arts Festival 2007
WRAP-UP Report from Jerry Reshew
Where to start ? We spent almost two weeks at the hotel , part of the time grousing , but more of the time smiling. Those wonderful Canadians arrived three days after New Years and were chomping at the bit to get the tracks put up. Carol Homuth , Ed Cook , David Hamilton , Emily Kaldestad , and Bob Maas came down to make sure that we all had a track on which to play , and Diamondhead’s own John Hickson pitched in as well.We had everything tuned and ready to run on Friday , a full week before the advertised dates. The Michigan Live Steamers showed up en masse and put the Simpson track together to round out the atrium. With all of the Katrina warts , it still looked good.
Because of the slow recovery from the storm , we had people staying in three back-up hotels , but it didn’t seem to make us any less jovial. The number of smiles and the hugs were beyond my ability to count , but it was a major feel good event by any measure.
The Clack Valves and Cornets Steam Band concert was well attended , and Joe Hall was our bandmaster . We topped off the concert with our Saturday Night at the Movies , hosted by Vance Bass. It was a Saturday for the Arts and the rails took second place for a few hours .
The Steam Flea Market was a huge draw and Carol and his assistants were busy most of the time. The total number of locomotives and associated stuff changing hands was significant and it really added a sense of bazaar to the surroundings.
Here are some numbers for those of you who enjoy this sort of arcania:
We had 214 steamers show up and about 40 spouses came along. The 32 no shows would have had us setting a record if they had arrived.
We came from 34 states and 6 countries to play with our trains over a period of 9 days . The following tabulation does not include walk-ins , but it does give one the feel of it all.
Total Attendees: 214
We also were visited by the California track cleaner monster, courtesy of Sonny Wizelman If you missed this demonstration it means that you were out of the hotel - it was amazing (and loud)!
The local economy was boosted by our patronizing the restaurants in the area. It seems that the relocation of many of them made them even better that in the past . Our Saturday brunch was a smash from all of the reports and we’ll do it again next year. Having our brass quintet play during the luncheon was over the top !
The bad news is that the Steamup will cost you more next year. The increase in the registration fee has not kept people from registering early and it is needed in order to cover the ever increasing costs that we incur this without diminishing the event as we have come to know it.
Thank you for coming to Mississippi, and I hope that you get back here for 2008.
More pictures by Carol Jobusch are posted on pages 4 and 5 of Photo Gallery 27