Local train garden brings community together; Display set up by Bel Air Armory

Kimberly Allen, Reporter

     Two years ago, local train enthusiast Mr. Joe Bragg created the train garden behind the Bel Air Armory. It is free and open to the public this holiday season on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 11am-5pm.

     Bragg said, “I decided to start the train garden because of Winter Wonderland on Main Street. I live in Bel Air, so I thought that it would be nice to bring something like this to the community. I’m also part of the Train Club and the Circus Club, and we do similar setups during different seasons. One day I called someone and asked about possibly having the train garden. They thought that it was a great idea, and that’s how the train garden in Bel Air started.”

     Local Business owner Mr. Mike Bertoldi commented, “Mr. Bragg has been one of my long-time customers at Splish & Splash Car Wash and M&J Auto. The train garden brings the people of our community together by showing how our community is always growing and how much it has grown over the years. It is also a very beautiful piece of artwork that people enjoy seeing every year. It instills pride in our accomplishments over time and may inspire others to do things that will help contribute to the community in the future. If anything, it makes me feel proud to be a part of this community and happy to give people a good experience that they will remember for years to come.”

     The displays at the train garden present miniature models of local businesses in Bel Air decked up for the season.

     Bragg wants to support local businesses through the trains. This gives the train garden a hometown feel, according to Bragg. People can look at the trains and recognize the businesses, which makes it feel more relatable.

     Bertoldi comments, “It’s important for small local businesses to get continued support from their communities. The train garden advertises businesses through its artistic models and the display might encourage more support for local businesses that might not have been noticed before.” 

     “I think that what makes what I do worth it is seeing the smiles on people’s faces. Everybody can enjoy the train garden, and that makes me happy. A lot of adults say that the trains bring back positive memories,” adds Bragg.

     This season, support a local business and visit the Bel Air Train Garden by the Armory with friends and family!