By Kathy L. Collins

If you like trains or have a child who does, then you should attend Railfest 2017 at the Robert W. Willaford Railroad Museum located at 102 N. Palmer St. in historic downtown Plant City on Saturday, April 8 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Railfest 2017 is a free event perfect for the whole family.

According to Benito (Bennie) Lubrano, Jr., Executive Director of the Robert W. Willaford Railroad Museum Society, Inc., “Railfest is an opportunity for us to educate the community about the railroad and its importance to us as a community.”

Railfest 2017 will be a fun filled day which will include balloon artists, face painters, a bouncy house and even a miniature train for children to ride in and enjoy. There will be live music both inside and outside of the museum. Children can even meet with “Mr. H. B. Plant” himself. They can also meet with personnel from CSX who will be on hand to provide information about safety around railroads. The museum will be open for viewing.

Railfest 2017 is a fundraiser for the museum. Everyone can enjoy a delicious Bar-B-Que dinner. There will be a silent auction which will include railroad memorabilia as well as non-railroad items such as gift cards from local merchants.

The official program begins at 11 a.m. The Third Annual Golden Spike Award will be given to an individual who has been instrumental in establishing and maintaining the Robert W. Willaford Railroad Museum. The museum helps to preserve the history of the railroad and its presence in Plant City. Past recipients of the Golden Spike Award include Robert W. Willaford who donated most of the items on display in the museum, and Commissioner Michael S. Sparkman.

The Robert W. Willaford Museum Society is a 501(c)(3) non-profit whose mission is to promote and educate visitors about railroad history and its impact on Eastern Hillsborough County and Plant City. The museum displays and maintains a sizable collection of railroad memorabilia, including a completely restored Seaborn Air Line no. 5735 caboose.

The museum is open Monday through Wednesday from 12 to 4 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The museum is also open until 8 p.m. on the third Saturday of the month.

For more information, please call 719-6989 and like them on facebook.com/TheRobertW.WillafordRailroadMuseum.