Model Trains Featured at iHobby Expo

October 17, 2008 10:08:08 AM PDT
It's hard to find anyone who doesn't like model trains. For many people, fascination with miniature trains starts when they're children. And a few continue to play with trains as they grow up. That's true for actor Michael Gross, best known as the dad the award-winning sitcom, Family Ties. Gross will share his love of model railroading at the iHobby Expo this weekend in Rosemont. He will appear on Saturday at the two-day Expo. Michael, who is a University of Illinois at Chicago graduate, is an avid model railroader. As a grandson and great-grandson of railroaders, he is also a life-long railroad fan, particularly of the former Santa Fe Railway. He is an amateur railway historian, photographer, and award-winning railroad modeler. He and his wife. Elza, also collect Santa Fe dining car china, silver, and other memorabilia. One of their great joys is riding trains together, wherever they can find them and, partly to ensure they will always have a train to ride, Michael and Elza are part owners of the Santa Fe Southern Railway, an eighteen-mile freight and passenger carrier headquartered in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Finally, he says, he's got a train he doesn't have to pack away after Christmas!

Michael recently joined the cast of the daytime drama, The Young and the Restless. Michael appears as "River Baldwin," an ex-60's radical who abandoned his wife and son when he escaped to Canada to avoid prosecution for a murder he claims he did not commit.

iHobby Expo is billed as the world's largest trade show for model hobby products. It's returning to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center where last year, the show brought model hobbies to over 20,000 people. Along with model trains, the expo features, R/C cars, boats, planes, helicopters, rockets, plastic and die-cast models. There is even a robot fighting competition. You may never have a chance to get behind the wheel of a racecar, or fly a plane, or become an astronaut, but at iHobby Expo you can live out the fantasy. There are over 700 booths and over 200 companies at the show to help you experience everything new and exciting in the hobby world.

At the family-oriented show, you can:

  • Fly an R/C plane or helicopter

  • Race a slot car

  • Drive an R/C car

  • Ride a miniature train

  • Run a model train

  • Build a model

    Clubs and companies will be sponsoring various events throughout the weekend. There will be a robot fighting competition that will put robots of similar size in a fight to destruction. There are also robot logic events to demonstrate robot intelligence. There will be indoor race tracks where there will be demos of the newest products. The National Radio Control Truck Pullers Association will be running a monster truck track where some of the largest R/C trucks will be shown. The World Micro Heli Cup is in its 3rd year and will feature some of the most talented R/C flyers in the United States. There will be a Thomas Playland and a free riding train. Children can learn basic hobby techniques and take free products that they make home with them.

    iHobby Expo is open on Saturday and Sunday, October 18 and 19 from 10am to 5pm. Admission for adults is $10, children under the age of 10 are admitted free and seniors over age 65 will be admitted for $8. More information can be found at www.giantshow.com.

    MORE ABOUT MICHAEL GROSS:

    During his thirty-five year professional career, Michael has portrayed a remarkable range of characters, including recurring roles on both the Drew Cary Show, as well as on NBC's acclaimed series, ER. He has appeared on the original Law & Order as well as its popular spin-offs, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Other appearances include The Outer Limits, Ally MacBeal, CSI: New York, How I Met Your Mother, Boston Legal, and Medium. He guest-starred with Family Ties veteran Michael J. Fox in Fox's farewell episode of Spin City.

    His long list of made-for-television movies include his frightening portrayal of killer William Mattix in The FBI Murders; Right To Die with Raquel Welch; F.D.R.: The Last Year, with Eileen Heckart and Jason Robards; Manhunt in the Dakotas with Rod Steiger; Little Gloria? Happy at Last, with Angela Lansbury and Bette Davis; and, most recently, the HBO special, Mrs. Harris, with Annette Benning and Ben Kingsley.

    Born and raised in the Midwest, Michael spent his school years in Chicago, and part of every summer in rural Iowa. He graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a B. A. in Speech and Theatre, and earned his Master of Fine Arts degree in acting from the School of Drama at Yale University. He married casting director Elza Bergeron in 1984. They have two children, Theodore and Katharine. Daughter Katie is the mother of Michael's two grandchildren, Nicholas and Allison. Michael and his wife divide their time among homes in Southern California, Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Manhattan's Greenwich Village.

    Michael has been active in various charitable pursuits. Some of his past work has included work with World Vision, animal welfare, anti-drug programs, responsible gun ownership, and AIDS research. He has been a spokesman for the ALS Association (Lou Gehrig's disease). Michael and his wife are particularly active with Futures for Children, a sponsorship and self-help program working with Southwestern Native American tribes. They are Foundation Board members of the Institute of American Indian Arts Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Michael was, for many years, the national spokesman for Operation Lifesaver, a national safety organization devoted to railroad crossing safety. He is the recipient of the American Hero Award for his charitable activities

    For more information, please visit http://www.greatesthobby.com/wgh/MS_2234.html and http://www.greatesthobby.com/wgh/MS_2247.html.


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