The 32nd annual Railroad Day was held on July 14 and 15. Saturday kicked off with a breakfast at the Senior Center starting at 9 a.m. At 11 a.m., classic cars, horses, and floats paraded down Railroad Avenue as people lined the route and kids clambered for candy thrown from the line of vehicles. Long-time Alberton resident Joe Peterson was the Grand Marshal and Mineral County rodeo royalty, Madison Hill and Jonna Warnken, lead the way while carrying the American and Montana Flags on horseback.
Both Friday and Saturday were filled with music as seven bands took the stage in the park, as well as at the Sportmans J Bar, Trax Bar and the River Edge Steakhouse. There were children’s games and activities, vendors showing their wares, there was an antique car show and plenty of good food. The activities were completed with a bouncy house and even cotton candy.
A talent show was held at the park, where a variety of people showcased their singing and musical instrument abilities.
The Edgehill family, sisters, Victoria Roberts and Karen Tesi traveled to Alberton from Central Valley, California, just for Railroad Days. The pair sang a Stevie Nicks tune wearing matching black t-shirts with silver studded letters that read, “Back to Montana”. They had been celebrating their birthdays in March and decided to take the trek back to Alberton after 35 years of being away, “we’ve always wanted to come back,” said Victoria.
They came with several family members, including their mother, Evon Edgehill, who used to substitute teach at Alberton School in 1982. Evon was also in the talent show and played patriotic tunes on a xylophone. Though the family only lived in Alberton one year, it had a big impact on them.
“We experienced things that we never would have had the opportunity to do in California. I learned how to buck bales, how to shoot a shotgun, I learned to pick huckleberries, I’d never even seen a huckleberry before that,” said Karen.
After the talent show, kids gathered around a table and had an old-fashioned watermelon-eating contest. The crowd cheered on the contestants as they held their hands behind their back and dug into the red, juicy fruit as it dribbled from their smiling faces.
Temperatures climbed into the high 90s but part of the heat of day was relieved by some cloud cover. There was also heat relief from a variety of water games, including the dump bucket and other water fun games.
The entire event was put on by the Railroad Day Foundation. Traditionally, the event was operated with the purpose of raising enough money to cover festivities and bring the town together. However, the committee this year has decided to expand on that mission and raise additional funds to improve the Alberton community in a healthy and sustainable way.
The Foundation is hoping to raise enough funds to help the town buy a security fence and camera system for the water reservoir located north of town. This will help protect the town’s water supply and also reduce the town’s liability insurance because the site is not properly secured.
Their three-year goal is to raise funds to enroll the Alberton School in the Farm-to-School Program which will offer area children healthy and nutritious meals, as well as provide additional employment opportunities.