Category Archives: Special Benefits/Fundraisers

Back On Track: Model Citizens’ Annual Train Show October 13 & 14

By Brian M. Howle

The Grand Strand Model Railroad Club will bring the tradition-steeped hobby to the public, as they have announced their second annual Model Railroad Show and Sale. The event will be held on Oct. 13 and 14 at the Lakewood Conference Center, 5837 S. Kings Highway (on the frontage road) beside Lakewood Campground, Myrtle Beach, S.C.

The show will run Saturday, Oct. 13 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $5 adults;  children 12;and under FREE. The Conference Center’s phone is 843-447-7383.

Modular layouts on display will include Lionel (O-gauge), HO-gauge and N-gauge sizes. There will also be Free Modeling Clinics conducted throughout the day, so you can learn now to make mountains, trees, rivers, rocks, and more. Woodland scenery – pre-made miniature grasses, rocks, shrubs and trees are available from manufacturers, but more and more modelers are going the extra step of creating their own flora and fauna. Plus, there will be door prizes, and a Kid’s Engine Simulator.

Last year there were 1,600 attendees, 75 tables with 25 vendors, and all types of trains. This year features 80 tables with 29 vendors.

The club was formed over 25 years ago in Myrtle Beach by Nick Nicholas, who moved to Florida (and sadly, has since passed away). Ed Sharrett was stationed at the M.B. Air Force Base when he joined the group 24 years ago, and the love he developed for model railroading – as for so many of all generations – had its roots in the glorious heyday of Christmas mornings that featured the coveted Lionel train set underneath the Christmas tree.

There are currently 40 avid members, ranging from 18 to 92 years young. All types of people from all backgrounds belong, from chiefs (ret. USAF) to high school student, to former railroad engineer who worked for the railroad in Japan after WWII and then worked on the PL&E in Pittsburg, Pa. Always looking for new members that are interested in the hobby and would like to share their knowledge with others, they have operating sessions and in-house clinics to teach each other about all types of subjects: electrical, scenery, track laying, weathering and painting cars.

Their headquarters has recently moved to a new home after 25 years in downtown Myrtle Beach. The new location is at Myrtle Beach Mall on Hwy. 17 next to Bass Pro Shop, just off the Hwy. 22 interchange. The hours of operation are Saturdaya 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Mondaya 4 to 7 p.m.

Before or after the show, stop by and see the three layouts: The Lionel, the N-gauge and the HO-gauge are operational.

Their transportable N-Scale modular layouts meet National Standard specifications, which means they can be attached to other layouts with the same specs. The club can take their layout to national shows or conventions and literally “plug in” to other layouts.

According to Sharrett, the train sets and layouts of today have advanced by leaps and bounds from those earlier forerunners. The world of model railroading use to be overwhelmingly Lionel (O-gauge), with one train and one track. Placing a second train would reduce voltage and slow the performance of both trains. Those “little engineers” now over the age of 40 have fond memories of this larger gauge format of trains and accompanying accessories, which were almost always located in more expanisive attic or basement locations.

Old layouts required huge amounts of wiring for each and every function of trains, tracks and accessories. Electronics now allow layouts to utilize computer chip technology that gives today’s enthusiasts far more control with a fraction of the time to build.

But today, the sets are controlled by Digital Command Control (DCC), which allows you to run 99 trains on one track at the same time, traversing in different directions and at different speeds, complete with sound systems that reproduce those snorting gases, air pumps, pistons and steam hissing – along with that amazing sensory delight, the billowing smoke from the old steam engines – that make the illusion ever stronger.

The engines have small electronic chips that receive the signals from the DCC controller, similar to your TV’s remote control. These are dedicated signals for all of the different commands you might wish to program into your layout.

HO-gauge is currently the most popular in today’s model railroading world, because of its size and relatively lower costs. The larger Lionel scale is still popular, but requires a lot of space (and money) to build a working layout.

And the advent of N-gauge opens up the ability to have a great layout in a much smaller space, giving them the nickname of “Coffee Table Layouts.”

But if you really want to go small, the incredible “Postage Stamp” Z-gauge has to be seen to be truly appreciated.

Size Matters

As mentioned above, model railroaders have several scale sizes to consider when building a train layout:

Z Gauge – 220:1 Scale – Smaller than a penny, about the height of the top of Lincoln’s head. (Requires almost sterile operating environment, though; a speck of dust can bring your railway to a screeching halt!).

N Gauge – 1:160 Scale – This scale has exploded in popularity, due to the fact that you can build a huge scenario on a simple 4’ x 8’ layout, and buildings, scenery and accessories are plentiful.

HO Gauge – 1:87 Scale – The most popular scale, not as big as “O” Gauge, but big enough to provide great layouts and detail work. Again, huge variety of accessories.

S Gauge – 1:64 Scale – Most likely your Grandfather’s train set!

Standard “O” Gauge – 1:48: Scale – The one that went *BOOM* after WWII and graced millions of Christmas morning floors.  Consisting mostly of Lionel and American Flyer sets; layout complementing Corgi die-cast vehicles are also scaled this size.  Accessories are varied and may be harder to find (where you live), but worth every penny.

G Gauge – 1:29 Scale – A much larger scale, this scale is used in outdoor layouts that have become the darling of retirees across the country. Combines track planning and outdoor landscaping, which begs for a scale trestle over water somewhere!

On Site At The Show

The club will feature these layouts at the Lakewood Conference Center show:

N Scale – 6 ft. x 20 ft. layout – 8 Trains, 4 Tracks.

HO Scale – 10 ft. x 18 ft. layout.

Lionel (O-gauge) layout – 5 ft. x 6 ft. – Kids will love to operate these, which feature the some of Lionel’s legendary accessories, including the operating Log Loader, and an Electro-Magnetic Crane that picks up washers and puts them in a gondola car.

The club has constructed some interesting ways to show off model railroading to the kids (and not-so-little kids!).

The club uses a trailer to take the N-Gauge layouts to train shows, and the trailer has been painted to look like a real train caboose, complete with ladders, the smokestack from the old wood stove, and the iconic cupola on top!  Look for the Little Red Caboose to guide you in when arriving at the show’s site.

All proceeds from the sale go to the club building fund, so that the permanent home layouts will remain on the strand for all model railroading enthusiasts to enjoy for many more generations to come.

For further information, contact Edward Sharrett at 843-293-4386; Joe Corsetti at 843-297-7162; or Bill Smith at 843-602-2420.

This article was originally published at


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South by Southeast Presents: Georgetown Rocks the Equinox Festival Pre-Party with Mike Farris and Phillip Lammonds

The amazingly talented Mike Farris.

Gospel-Soul Singer to Perform Concert at Winyah Auditorium Benefiting Music Education

By Seth Funderburk

On September 21, Nashville based singer-songwriter, Mike Farris, will perform at the Historic Winyah Auditorium, 1200 Highmarket St., in Georgetown, SC.  South by Southeast will sponsor the event as part of the 1st Annual Georgetown Rocks the Equinox Festival which will be held on Front Street in Georgetown at 8 p.m. on September 22.  Proceeds from the concert will be directed to SxSE’s music education fund, and proceeds from the festival will go to the Tara Hall Home for Boys.

In music there are those special artists that seem to transcend genre and defy categorization.  From time to time one hears a voice that can stop you dead in your tracks and shake your very foundation to the core.  Mike Farris is that artist and he has that voice.

In June of 2007 Farris released the critically acclaimed Salvation in Lights which married old time roots gospel sounds with his own unique arrangements that were mainly inspired by New Orleans, Stax and the blues.  In 2008 he won the Americana Music Association’s “New & Emerging Artist of the Year” award and started to make a name for himself as a dynamic performer.

In 2008 and 2009 Mike Farris and his Roseland Rhythm Revue performed monthly residencies at Nashville’s’ Station Inn and called it “Sunday Night Shout!”  The shows had audiences that consisted of people from all walks of life and the goal was to make the crowd feel “excited, delighted and loved.”  The official live recording of the Station Inn shows, Shout! Live, was released in 2009 and won the Gospel Music Association’s Dove Award for “Best Traditional Gospel Album of the Year” in 2010.

Accredited songwriter, and local favorite, Phillip Lammonds, will open the show.

Tickets ($15.00) will be available at Limpin’ Jane’s on Front Street in Georgetown, by calling Seth Funderburk at 843-455-6499, or at the door day of show

For Mike Farris interviews, contact Tyler Pittman at

For information on Georgetown Rocks the Equinox, visit

For information on South by Southeast, visit

For information on the Winyah Auditorium, visit or call Debby Summey at 843-446-4777.


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“A Benefit for Ryan” – A Trio Of Special Fundraisers Help 6-Year-Old Ryan Howell To Triumph In His Battle With Adversity

By Angela Rosati Barwick

Ryan Howell

Ryan Howell is a local 6 year old boy who needs your help.  Minutes after being born, Ryan suffered a serious stroke. This is called an “infarction” in newborns.

This “Infarction“ causes Ryan to suffer symptoms much like someone with severe cerebral palsy. He is a bright sweet boy but is confined to a wheelchair; very challenged in normal daily activities, has never known a childhood, and is helpless as a newborn.

His father, Wesley Howell works for Time Warner Cable during the day and the House of Blues in the evening.  His wife stays at home to care for Ryan.

The family has been introduced to a treatment called “Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber” or “HBOT” for short. Their doctor has given them hope that this procedure can help by bringing their son back to a better standard of life. Simple things like squeezing his Dad’s hand may soon be possible.

This chamber was originally set up for people who surface too quickly after diving in the ocean.  It forces pure oxygen to the brain which can repair damaged areas of the brain. This procedure is also used to help those with spinal cord injuries after serious accidents.  The HBOT procedure for a child this age is a two step phase, with each phase taking 30 days to complete.  The child and mother have to go into this chamber forty times during each phase, and each session could last 30 minutes to an hour.

This procedure is not covered by any insurance because it is considered experimental. As a result, this family has to pay of pocket for the procedure. They have completed the first phase this past July with the assistance of donations, yard sales, car washes, passing a hat around the stands at local car races, anything they could to raise the money to pay for their child’s procedure.

Three benefits are now scheduled for February. The benefits are:

Sunday, February 20th from 2-4 PM
N. Strand Park, Hwy 57 (@ Hwy 9), Little River
$10 donation
Zumba instruction by several local teachers, refreshments, door prizes and a 50/50 raffle.
For more information, call 843-504-2141, 843-450-2622 or 843-283-0242

Poker Run
Saturday, February 26th
50/50 Raffle, prizes, fun
Details available by calling Ron Biller (843) 855-2020

Benefit Concert
Saturday, February 26th
House of Blues, Barefoot Landing, N. Myrtle Beach, SC
Featuring:  Sinful Blue, Chronic, Sick Stooges and That’s Cool & Stuff
Tickets $5 – available at HOB box office or at door
For more information, call 843-450-2622 or 843-283-0242

Donations may be sent to:
The Ryan Howell Project, c/o Carolina First Bank – Crescent Branch, 1801 Highway 17 South, N. Myrtle Beach, SC 29582. Phone 843-272-7344.


This article was also published in Alternatives NewsMagazine, Feb. 10 – 24, 2011.

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Posted by on February 9, 2011 in Special Benefits/Fundraisers

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