By Cindy Hoffman, Staff Writer
(Nov. 23, 2023) Train gardens are a staple of many people’s holidays, and that would be true for Joe Enste and his dad, Don, who remember visiting the local fire station in Baltimore to see the train garden each year.
The Enstes, along with their friend Mark Libertini have brought that tradition to Ocean Pines with their second annual train garden at the North Station Fire House.
Both Enste and Libertini had train sets at their homes while their kids grew up. Joe remembers visiting Libertini’s basement, where he had a big train display set up year ‘round.
Now both families have brought together their train displays, as well as donations from other friends to the fire station.
The train garden has multiple trains and even a Disney monorail, neighborhoods, work areas, new construction, a farm and roadways. Matchbox cars travel down roads and are parked in driveways.
The Ocean Pines Fire Station, ponds, ice skating rink and a Disney show are all on display. Joe’s son even donated his monster trucks.
“When we were little, we did not have a lot of stuff. But we looked forward to setting up the train under the tree every year,” Don Enste said.
One year, he spent the summer saving all of his money from mowing lawns to buy a new train.
It took the men three weeks to set up the train garden this year. They say it is their most elaborate yet.
Visitors will have to opportunity to scour the train garden for a scavenger hunt to find various hidden elements. Participants can enter a drawing to receive a hotel stay courtesy of the Francis Scott Key Hotel.
Thanks to a donation from Donna Frankowski of ERA Martin Associates, the fire department will be raffling a 911 address sign each week. Winners will be selected each Monday and people can participate every week.
Joe noted that Craig Thomas of Seaside Hobbies has helped to keep the trains running smoothly.
Visiting the train garden is free, but donations are welcomed and will support the Ocean Pines Volunteer Fire Department in its efforts to keep the OP community safe. To learn more about the train garden visit www.opvfd.com