Railroad enthusiasts from coast to coast have plenty of options when it comes to celebrating the railroad heritage and origins of American towns. Starting in April and extending through October, railroad festivals offer residents and visitors everything from crafts and music to train rides and talent shows. Here, a sampling:

April 6-8
34th Louisiana Railroad Days Festival
DeQuincy, Louisiana 
The town of DeQuincy, established by the Kansas City Southern Railroad in 1897, rolls out the welcome mat each year for its annual Railroad Days Festival that pays tribute to the fact that the town’s growth was a result of railroad jobs. It has been recognized as an official state festival since 1984. Held at the Railroad Museum Park, it consists of food booths, carnival rides, bands, a parade, a K9 Caboose Pageant, the Bizarre Boxcar Contest, and more. Details: www.larailroaddaysfestival.com

April 6-9, 2017 
39th Annual Amory Railroad Festival 
Amory, Mississippi
Like DeQuincy, Amory owes its existence to the railroad. The town was established by the old Kansas City, Memphis & Birmingham and named for railroad magnate Harcourt Amory. The KCM&B became the Frisco, in turn purchased by the Burlington Northern, which then merged with the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad, resulting in the BNSF. The festival includes the annual Mr. & Mrs. Railroad Pageant, a car and truck show, a fishing rodeo, vendors, and more. Details: amoryrailroadfestival.com

April 28-30
Railroad Days
Pleasant Hill, Missouri
A small town between Lee’s Summit and Harrisonville, Missouri, celebrates rail heritage in a big way each April. The emphasis is on trains, the talents of residents, and bits of regional history. The railroad has long been an important center point to Pleasant Hill, established in the early 1830s, and remains so today. Many buildings in the historic district are 150 years old. Details: phillrailroaddays.com/railroad-days/

May 6-7 
Railroad Days in Fullerton 
Fullerton, California
Once a year, rail fans from all over the country come together at the Fullerton railroad depot for a weekend filled with railroad history and unique opportunities. Organized by the Southern California Railway Plaza Association since 1999, it seeks to preserve rail heritage through education and entertainment. A fully-restored and operational Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe steam engine is brought in for the festivities, and other railroad memorabilia usually is on display. Vendors sell toy trains, train t-shirts, collectibles, and model railroads abound. Details: www.scrpa.net/scrrdays.htm

Katy Days 
May 26-28 
Parsons, Kansas 
In 1870, the first Missouri-Kansas-Texas train rolled into a new town in Southeast Kansas that would become Parsons, and the railroad would be remembered as the Katy! One-hundred forty-six years later, Parsons celebrates its railroad heritage and town history with the Katy Days Festival. It includes track building demonstrations, the High Striker Contest, a history zone, a railroad reunion, locomotive tours and passenger train rides, a tour of the Iron Horse Museum and rail yard, as well as the usual festival activities like fun runs, food vendors, sports tournaments, petting zoo, and more. Details: www.katydays.com

June 3
Bradford Railroad Heritage Festival
Bradford, Ohio
The railroad was once a significant part of Bradford’s economy, employing many who manned the trains and worked in the switching yards and in the roundhouse where steam locomotives were kept and serviced between runs. This celebration of 130 years of railroad history features Penn Central, Pennsylvania Railroad, and Conrail artifacts on display, historical exhibits, children’s train games and a puppet show, train videos and train vendors, model train displays, and a Thomas the Train ride. Details: www.ohio.org/events/bradford-railroad-heritage-festival

June 22-25 
The 40th Annual Galesburg Railroad Days
Galesburg, Illinois 
The railroad industry was integral in the growth of Galesburg and remains a proud symbol of the town’s heritage. The slate of events includes historical tours, flea markets, food, crafts, a toy show, and historical steam engines rolling down the track. Visitors may explore the Galesburg Railroad Museum, take a Railyard Bus Tour, watch a firemen’s water fight, hear live music, and see an antique tractor display. Details: www.galesburgrailroaddays.org/

August 18-20
Snoqualmie Railroad Days
Snoqualmie, Washington 
An annual festival in Snoqualmie celebrates the town’s spirit and origins as a railroad and logging town, and the home of the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe. The event is held in Historic Snoqualmie, in and around the Northwest Railway Museum. Volunteer firemen and their wives organized the first festival in 1938, and the popular event still is going strong. It includes train excursions, entertainment, vendors, a parade, model trains, children’s activity areas, timber sports demonstrations, food, a beer garden, art, and more. Details: www.railroaddays.com

October 21-22, 2829
Hinton Railroad Days
Hinton, West Virginia
Each year for two weekends in October, the streets of Hinton are filled with vendors selling unusual crafts like rings made from coins, coal scrip and old coins, handmade wooden banks with old post office doors, wooden furniture, and more. Food and special events abound, and the New River Train arrives each afternoon. Details: www.hintonwva.com/railroaddays


Know about a railroad-inspired festival not mentioned here? Let us know! Email astefanoni@watcocompanies.com