Annual Hobo Days set this weekend at Ironhorse Central

A flat car with seating will carry passengers on diesel-powered train rides at Hobo Days this Saturday and Sunday at the Ironhorse Railroad Park. (File photo by Cliff Buchan)

A flat car with seating will carry passengers on diesel-powered train rides at Hobo Days this Saturday and Sunday at the Ironhorse Railroad Park. (File photo by Cliff Buchan)

Sept. 21-22 near Chisago City

 

Cliff Buchan
Staff Writer

Ever want to meet a real hobo? You know the kind. They ride the rails, some as a hobby of sorts, while others just love to travel by boxcar.

The public will have a chance to meet some real “bums” up close and personal when the Ironhorse Railroad Park hosts its annual Hobo Days this Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 21-22.

The Thompson family will open the gates at 10 a.m. both days offering diesel-powered train rides on the Sunrise Northern Scenic Railway that travels on the near one-mile oval track through the woods. Daily activities from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. will include concessions and gifts, a petting zoo, an antique flea market and tours of the Ironhorse Central Railroad Museum and the restored 1895 St. Paul & Duluth Railroad depot.

For the first time, the fall celebration will include visits by some real hobos.

“We are expecting four or five hobos for the weekend,” said Eric Thompson, head of the Ironhorse Railroad Park event.

Minnesota Jim, the 2012 King of the National Hobo Convention in Britt, Iowa, and Tuck, another former king of the Iowa hobo event, are slated to attend the weekend event. The visiting hobos will pitch tents in the hobo camp and be on hand to cook “hobo stew,” Thompson said.

Several other hobos have indicated they may drop in, Thompson said. Minnesota Jim lives in Oakdale when he is not riding the rails; Tuck resides in Minneapolis when he is not hopping freight trains for jaunts around the country.

Visitors this weekend are asked to bring a nonperishable food item for a local food shelf. Those who do will be treated to a free cup of steaming-hot hobo stew, Thompson said.

Train rides will commence at the top of the hour starting at 11 a.m. Visitors are welcome to use the picnic grounds and explore the railroad museum and its more than 20 pieces of rolling stock.

The Ironhorse Railroad Park is located at 24880 Morgan Ave. in rural Chisago City. To reach the railroad park from downtown Lindstrom, follow US-8 to CR-25 (Olinda Trail) and go south for 2.5 miles to Morgan Avenue. At Morgan Avenue turn right and go south 3.5 miles to the museum.

Signs will direct visitors to parking areas.

Admission will be charged. The adult admission for ages 12 to 64 is $12. Senior citizens 65 and older and kids 3 -11 will be charged $10. Kids 2 and under are admitted free.

For more information about the weekend event or to reserve space for the antique flea market, call Thompson at 651-357-3394.

This won’t be the final event this year at the railroad museum.

On Saturday, Oct. 5, the Sunrise Northern Scenic Railway diesel engine will be in action again for the annual “Fall Leaf Special.”

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