Mysterious Happening at Edaville Railroad

| January/February 1991

559 Pleasant Street, So. Weymouth, Massachusetts 02190.

On the road and into a questionable weather report at best we all drove towards Edaville Railroad, our minds on vague rumors we had heard at other steam/gas shows. This Edaville Cranberry Harvest Festival Show would be a tad different. Something was in the air. What was going on down there in Massachusetts' Upper Cape Cod?

There were more early arrivals than usual on Friday. The field was set up earlier than usual. The number of out-of-state plates was higher than in the past. The perennial locals were buoyant, some looking as smug as cats full of 'canary au grautin.' Could the rumor be true ? Showtime Saturday, rain expected. Why all the mysterious grins?

Edaville's Cranberry Festival is a relatively old show, 1990 being its eleventh year. A two day show held deep in bog country at one of Upper Cape Cod's premier tourist spots, a narrow gauge steam railroad and museum complex that was started by Ellis D. Atwood, the founder of the Ocean Spray Cranberry brand name and all that it implies. Originally the five mile steam railroad was used to bring the bog workers to and from their planting, flooding, sanding, and harvesting tasks, and to transport the harvested cranberries to the onsite processing plant. As Mr. Atwood was a renowned railroad memorabilia collector, the museum 'sort of got started' with his acquisition of the narrow gauge rolling stock, equipment to maintain it, other railroad and steam memorabilia, early fire fighting equipment, model trains, even the later addition of a few amusement park items. Buildings were added to house the collection, and this grew from its humble beginnings to a fine permanent museum complex with many attractions designed especially for the youngsters. Mr. Atwood has passed on now, but the train whistle is still blown in his memory on each run of every scenic train ride around the heavily productive bog area.

Among those living within 100 miles, Edaville is best known for its Christmas light displays. Many of us now at the grandparent stage remember going to Edaville as children to view the wonder and magic of these displays. Edaville at Christmas, for many, is a family tradition. For us exhibitors, Edaville is also at its best at show time, with many tourists coming into the upper Cape area to also view Plymouth Rock, the Mayflower II, and Plymouth Plantation, all within ten miles of the Railroad.

Saturday came and went out early. It started to pour about three o'clock. Word got around: 'Let's all get together in the main festival tent at 8:30 tonight.' Most did, braving a real goose-drowning rain to do it.


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