Wheels in motion for Geneseo's Trains, Planes & Automobiles fest

Claudia Loucks
Geneseo Republic
BRIAN DEJOHN, center, executive director of the Geneseo Chamber of Commerce, and his children, Will DeJohn, left, and Kylie DeJohn, show tickets for rides behind the coal-fired steam locomotive. The train will be in town Sept. 7 as part of 'Trains, Planes & Automobiles.'

There will be something "old" and something "new" at the eighth annual "Trains, Planes & Automobiles" celebration in Geneseo, from period aircraft overhead, train engines on display, to antique cars lining the downtown streets and tours of the canal.

The event is sponsored by the Geneseo Chamber of Commerce and will be Sept. 5-7.

Three train trips on passenger cars pulled by a coal-fired steam locomotive will be offered on Sept. 7. The round-trip train ride will run from Geneseo to Annawan and back. The entire trip takes approximately 90 minutes. Departure times will be at 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Tickets for the excursion are available at the Geneseo Chamber of Commerce office.

"We are excited about having the steam engine back this year. We have had the steam engine in Geneseo before for the Trains, Planes & Automobiles festivities, but it was not here last year. We hope area residents will be a part of history and take advantage of the unique opportunity to ride the train," said Geneseo Chamber of Commerce director Brian DeJohn.

The three-day celebration begins Sept. 5, at the Geneseo Gen-Air airport when Geneseo pilots host the National Stearman Fly-In.

Members of the public are invited to see the World War II aircrafts at the airport from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Gen-Air Park airport is located east of Geneseo on U.S. Route 6.

The fall event also features "Cruise the Canal," tours of the historic Hennepin Canal on Sept. 6.

"We started the tours at Trains, Planes & Automobiles, four years ago and they continue to be such a big hit, we are including them again this year," DeJohn said. "They are a great asset to the weekend activities, and give people an opportunity to see and hear all the Hennepin has to offer, from facts about the history of the canal as well as new information about 'Renaissance Hennepin Canal,' which is an effort to rehabilitate the locks between Sterling and Geneseo to once again make them navigable."

The tours last approximately 90 minutes, departing at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Sept. 6 from Lock 24, north of Geneseo, and continue west. Parking is available where the tours begin. Those planning to take the tour should bring bug spray and sunscreen.

The cost includes a bottle of water, use of a cart and a guided tour. For more information about the tours or to reserve a cart, contact the chamber office.

Trains, Planes & Automobiles will conclude on Sept. 7. In addition to the steam engine train rides, other highlights of the day include a car show sponsored by the Maple City Cruisers. Approximately 300 classic cars will line the downtown streets. The show begins at 9 a.m. and will conclude at 2 p.m. A tribute to the military will be part of the day.

Awards will be presented to car show winners and the cars will remain on display until 2 p .m.

The Geneseo Model Railroaders Club will have "G," "O" and "HO" gauge model trains on display in the Geneseo Telephone Co. garage on Exchange Street. The club also will be showing movies about trains throughout the day.

An under-construction airplane will be on display downtown Geneseo.

The Sept. 7 festivities also will include wood turning demonstrations near the railroad tracks off State Street.

The Geneseo Farmers' Market will be open from 8 a.m. to noon in the city park on Sept. 7.

That same day, the Geneseo Historical Museum will be open for tours from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Vendors will have food available for purchase throughout the day.

For more information on Trains, Planes & Automobiles, contact the chamber office at 944-2686.