All-l-l-l-l aboard for 9th Annual Odd Fellows Holiday Trains Display

November 30, 2016
Santa Paula News

By Peggy Kelly

Santa Paula Times 

They won the Blue Ribbon for Best Float — an oversized engine complete with smoke puffs and plenty of finery — at the 67th Annual Optimist Club Christmas Parade, and now members of Odd Fellows Lodge are hoping you’ll come and see the rest of their trains at the 9th Annual Holiday Trains Display. 

The display will be open from December 2 through December 23 on Friday, Saturday and Sundays from 3 to 8 p.m. 

According to Engineer Wes Easley, admission to Holiday Trains will remain the same, 5 to 11 years old $2, 12 years and older $3. Children 4 years old and younger are free. 

Saturday the Odd Fellows opened up the second floor of their lodge, located at 868 E. Main St., for a soft opening and preview of the display.

The First Place Blue Ribbon they won for the realistic train was in proud view and they plan to use the 18-foot-long train for Holiday Trains Display promotion. 

“We’re still working on it,” said Easley who used his own vast collection to start the annual display with Carlos Juarez, who in years’ past has contributed special exhibits. 

But club members are still fine-tuning the display: “We are still working hard to make it a wonderful experience for everyone that drops by. We’ve changed the floor layout somewhat to add an extra, elevated Plexiglas walkway with trains running underneath your feet.”

And the ambiance of the display has a strong retro-vibe with a set of European engines with an art nouveau design among the more traditional “way back” machines. 

Artist Robert LaDuke’s painting of the Santa Paula Odd Fellows Lodge is also being used by the club for the Train Display poster.

The post-modernism of LaDuke’s work has a lot in common with 1920s and 1930s metaphysical art with scenes strong on modes of travel amid scenic vistas and dramatic cityscapes.   

His influence can be seen throughout the Train Display including the towering buildings constructed by Easley and his crew, as well as the LaDuke prints that remain to be hung to complement the display.

This year Juarez, who in years past created a whimsical “Nightmare Before Christmas” train display this year tackled a towering Christmas tree in the corner where trains run on two levels at its base and a flying Santa in his sleigh pulled by reindeer in a lazy circle as a tree topper. In between are dozens of car decorations that dress the tree, the collection of his son James, now in Marine boot camp. 

Easley said, “Many new trains have been added to the multi-level fantasy train layout,” plenty of room to enjoy it.

“There is ample comfortable seating around the display and Thomas and Friends awaits the arrival of kids, as well as the detailed Big Boy and Hudson locomotives for the “older kids,” You will enjoy the experience!”

There will be annual Count the Nutcracker contest — “I think last year it was 111,” said Juarez — and a limited number of train sets for sale or to win in a raffle.

Easley noted, “We are proud to have both the Rotary Club of Santa Paula and Chamber of Commerce host events and view the trains. We are taking reservations,” first come, first served through the full month, “for family, friends, church, school and business private showings and offer our remodeled dining hall to accommodate them.”

Proceeds from the annual Holiday Trains Display goes to the Clock Tower fund, which Easley said helps Odd Fellows maintain the 1905 built building and continue serving the community. 

“Extra donations to that effort,” he noted, “are much appreciated.”

For information visit the Santa Paula Odd Fellows Facebook page or email 

Call Easley at 805-766-4400 for more information.

And he added, “Being a second-floor display we do have handicap elevator access at the rear of the building, but you must call to make arrangements for it to be opened.”

Site Search



Call 805 525 1890 to receive the entire paper early. $50.00 for one year.