We often spend time thinking about the future and trying to predict what is to come. I went down that track a bit last year when discussing the future of the National Narrow Gauge Convention after the pendemic hiatus. I felt pretty good about that future after Hickory, and I’m actually feeling even more positive after the just-concluded Tacoma convention. Certainly, the attendance levels have yet to return to pre-pendemic numbers, but Tacoma held its own and was an excellent convention in all respects. Now on the Denver, and I’ll address that in a moment.
Hobbyists have been pondering the future of the hobby since it was a hobby. There was much thinking during the 1930s and certainly during World War Two that the hobby had been a passing fad and would not survive. Approaching 100 years later, that wasn’t the case, but in some circles, the pessimistic outlook remains. Human nature, I guess. As that relates to the magazine, I get asked all the time if I am looking for new authors, and the answer is an enthusiastic “yes!” I adapted something one of my old market professors taught about markets. It goes something like “Imagine standing on a corner watching a parade. If people are not joining the parade around the corner, at some point the parade ends, and you are staring at an empty street.” So I am always on the lookout to add new authors to the parade, as established authors will not be in every magazine for various reasons. I’m pleased to report that you’ll note a number of new by-lines in this year’s edition. The future pipeline of ideas and techniques looks secure.
Which brings me around to the upcoming National Narrow Gauge Convention in Denver in 2023. Traditionally, Denver has drawn the most attendees, and three years removed from the depths of the pandemic, this will be a great indicator of where things stand. As the Chairman of this convention, I can share with you some of the things we have planned. The convention itself will be very traditional as far as events, offerings and schedule; just more of it! We have a large venue available to us, which means we can offer the largest collection of vendors and display layouts in a single large space, in addition to multiple spacious clinic rooms. We have several dozen outstanding home layouts, (including Jim Gray’s in this issue), open for tours, and of course, we are in the middle of narrow gauge country here with all the opportunity to visit the prototype that affords.
So where’s the future? Much of it is not readily available to the eye, but we’ve engaged a firm that specializes in software for professional business events and conferences. Not only has it streamlined the registration process, but will make checking in when you arrive at the event a breeze. In addition, a free app for your mobile device will be available in June that will give real-time notifications of event times, clinic and tour changes, and allows you to connect with your fellow convention attendees in a way never before offered. We like where the future is poised to take us! The future narrow gauge conventions are Denver in 2023, Pittsburgh in 2024, St. Louis (area) in 2025, and Twin Cities (area) in 2026, I encourage you to attend them all, starting with Denver!
With that, it is my pleasure to present to you this year’s HOn3 Annual. As always, I hope you find the mix of articles useful, entertaining, and inspiring, and all of us at White River Productions thank you for your continued support of this, and all our publications.
—Chris Lane, Editor