The first annual Cabin Fever Model Engineering Expo introduced the public to model engineering, a unique hobby with an increasing following. Model engineers take pride in building scaled-down operating replicas of engines and other practical machinery using the same material and manufacturing processes as the original.
More than 1,000 people from as far away as Iowa, Virginia and New Hampshire attended Cabin Fever at the Leesport Farmers Market the first weekend in February.
'The show promoted model engineering and provided camaraderie for people who build models more complicated than plastic kits found in most hobby shops. We are definitely scheduled for the same time, same place next year,' says show producer Gary Schoenly.
'I believe people appreciated the skill and hours of work it takes to design and build models, and get them running,' he adds.
Building models from rough iron castings or scratch requires understanding complex drawings and operating metalworking machinery. In the process, the model engineer gains a great deal of expertise and personal satisfaction in fabricating working models.
Visitors to Cabin Fever observed wheels turn, rods push, and gears mesh on working models of gas hit and miss engines, steam engines, model trains, hot air engines, boats, cars, and airplanes. Some models are so tiny they fit in your palm while running.
Schoenly expects that next year more exhibitors will display the working models they created, and additional vendors will sell supplies for people who desire to build their own working models.
Vendors on hand supplied kits to build engine models, machine tools, and accessories, how-to books and magazines and instructional videotapes.
New on the east coast, Cabin Fever is similar to successful annual North American Model Engineering Society expositions held each April in Wyandotte, Michigan.
N. A. M. E. S., organized in 1990 to encourage model building and hold a yearly exposition, has grown steadily as interest in this hobby increases.
The second annual Cabin Fever Expo is scheduled for January 31 and February 1, 1998 at the Leesport Farmers Market on Route 61 in Leesport, Pennsylvania.