YESTERDAY'S TOWNS

HOWDY, MY NAME IS BILL STRONG, I'LL BE YOUR "24 HOUR MAN", ROUTING YOU INTO THE PAST TO SEE WHAT THE CIRCUS WAS IN DAYS GONE BY. IF YOU'RE LIKE ME, AND MISS WHAT IT USED TO BE, THEN COME ON ALONG AS WE GO DOWN THE ROAD FOLLOWING THE ARROWS BACKWARDS, TO "YESTERDAY'S TOWNS"! IF YOU HAVE CIRCUS RELATED PICTURES YOU WOULD LIKE POSTED, SEND THEM TO,,,,yesterday1@verizon.net,,,,AND WE WILL TRY TO FIT THEM IN. "24 HOUR MAN" WILL HAVE THE FINAL DECISION ON POSTING.

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Location: GIBSONTON, FLORIDA, United States

Three years at CWM made me a real traditionalist, and I keep remembering Bob Parkinson saying, "I want the people to see what the circus used to be, not what it is today. That's what this site is about!

Monday, November 12, 2007

FROM JOHN GOODALL: T.J.'s CIRCUS TRAIN

Baraboo man's circus train will take imaginations for a ride this weekend!



By TIM DAMOS / (Baraboo NEWS REPUBLIC)

T.J. Howell gets his custom-built circus train ready for Trainfest in Milwaukee this weekend.

10/09/07


T.J. Howell didn't know exactly what to say when he walked into the Baraboo National Bank a little more than five years ago with an idea. "Just imagine walking into a bank and telling them you'd like a loan so you can buy a train," he said. But Howell didn't just want any train. He wanted something unique.

Since then, his Great Circus Train Ride has entertained children — and adults who are young at heart — at events from Baraboo to North Dakota.

After purchasing the small-scale train from an Italy-based company in 2002, Howell said its popularity has snowballed.

The company, Zamperla Rides, mainly made Western-style model trains, Howell said. But he specially requested they design a train with a circus theme.

"I'm so glad I did it, because it's a really unique piece," he said. The colorful, character-filled train features circus music and a "choo choo" sound. It can hold up to 22 children and adults.

The train used to give rides to children at the Circus World Museum, and Howell said it really got noticed one year at the Circus Parade in Milwaukee.

That's when he said John H. Tews, managing director of Milwaukee's Trainfest, took an interest.The train has now appeared at that annual event for the last three years. And Howell will make the trip again this weekend.

In the last five years, the train has now entertained at events in five different states. "It's kind of funny," he said. "I'm not pursuing them. But one job finds you, then another, and so on."

Howell — a comedy juggler and unicyclist who has performed for 30 years — now puts on shows for the Tommy Bartlett Show & Exploratory during the summers.

He said he loves to see the faces of youngsters wearing engineer hats and OshKosh B'Gosh overalls as they climb onto the train.

Therese Novotny, Trainfest's spokeswoman, said Howell's train has become a cornerstone of the annual event. "In Milwaukee, we used to get to see it during the Circus Parade," she said. "That doesn't happen anymore, so this is the only way we get to see the circus train at this point."

This year's Trainfest will feature 50 hobby dealers, 60 manufacturers and 12 historical groups in more than 200,000 square feet of display area at the Wisconsin State Fair Park in Milwaukee.

Howell said he got the idea for the train by watching his newborn son's reaction to a model train at a mall. Nowadays, he said, his two children — ages 7 and 10 — always want him to set up the train in his front yard along Water Street in Baraboo.

"They always say, 'Come on Dad, we'll be the only ones in town with a train in our yard,'" Howell said.

3 Comments:

Blogger 24-HOUR-MAN said...

"Em Circus guys are, aaaallll right"!!!!

11/12/2007 11:08 AM  
Anonymous Ninette said...

This is something, that, I allways loved to have had in my house going all around the wall e.c.t. wiht out saying' naturely a miniature one. There is something very special in a train that catch the heart of just about any-one.
It is nice to hear that T.J. Howell made so well with it.

11/12/2007 2:03 PM  
Blogger Down the Road by Jim said...

T.J. and the train , were the center of the show -- we could all find our ways around , because of the multi-colored umbrellas in his layout ---- and don't forget the tatoos and train whistles in his set-up ! Agentleman and a good friend !

11/12/2007 7:48 PM  

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