2017 National Model Train Show in Orlando Preview


Advertisement graphics courtesy by The Train Show

Written by Nathan Wertheimer

Orlando, FL – Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) is the place to be on the weekend of August 4 – 6, 2017, for the 2017 NMRA Orange Blossom Special Convention and The National Train Show. This show is open to the general public and is a family friendly event. Admission prices will vary. Bring your entire family down and have some fun.

It is only a short drive from Downtown Orlando to the OCCC. Get your GPS for the best travel route there. There is a surcharge of $15 cash/credit card for parking on the property at the OCCC. Sorry, there is no free parking around the OCCC area.

Upon arriving inside the OCCC expect to walk a lot. Wear some good tennis shoes.  There is much to see and do at this years train show. Attendees will see a variety of different scale trains from O to Z scales.  Some of the features are the 2-football field train layouts, all of the latest and greatest model trains, accessories, collectibles and more from the world’s best-known manufacturers and retailers geared for all model railroaders – from first timers to old timers. Plus, there will be a Lego® MiniLand with 2,500 sq. ft. area of tracks. Also, there will be train appraisers on-hand to give one an estimated value on your model train collection. This is a free service to attendees. And Ffinally, check out the hands-on-demonstrations too. This show has everything is under one roof.

Just a little insight in to this show. The National Train Show® was established in 1988 by the National Model Railroad Association as a nationally sponsored combined industry trade show and public train show to promote the hobby of model railroading. The 2017 National Train Show is held in conjunction with the national convention of the NMRA in Orlando, FL.

If you’re getting into this hobby, this is the best place to learn and ask questions on becoming avid model railroader. Everyone starts at the bottom and work their way up. This hobby can teach one to being a craftsman, an artist, an electrician, an engineer, and so much more. You control your own destiny with model railroading.

Looking to get into this hobby? Shop around for a reasonably price train sets depending on the scale size. Most of these new train sets include an engine, a few cars, some tracks, and a transform controller, all packaged into one box. Go home put your train set together and let the fun start. Most new beginners will want to expand their collection in the near future.

Also, this train show just doesn’t stop after this weekend. Look for smaller model train shows around Central Florida during the entire year. From beginners to seasoned model train collectors, a train show is a place to pick up new and used pieces for your collection. Why pay retail, when you can get better prices on trains and accessories at a model train show.

So come on down and learn about model railroading. For more information on this train show visit www.nmra2017orlando.org/NationalTrainShow.aspx or www.nationaltrainshow.org/2017/ntsorlando.html . If you like this article, then like it on our Otownfun WordPress account. For more great events and places please check us out at www.otownfun.com .

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Source of information from nationaltrainshow.org



2017 Florida Collegiate Summer League (FCSL) Baseball Preview


Summer is here in Central Florida. Don’t make it a boring hot Summer, the college boys are back in town for another Summer season of college baseball. This is a great venue to bring your whole family down and experience some the rising college baseball stars. The start runs from June 1, 2017 – August 6, 2017. Games and times may vary between teams at home stadiums.

Here is some history about the The Florida Collegiate Summer League (Florida League), which is a wood bat baseball league with six teams in Central Florida. Founded in 2003, the Florida League provides a valuable opportunity for college players to play wood bat baseball against top-level competition with the goal of preparing them for a career in professional baseball.

The Florida League is one of twelve leagues affiliated with the National Alliance of College Summer Baseball (NACSB) – an alliance of college summer wood bat leagues which operates under National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) legislation. It is funded in part by Major League Baseball and is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation that is primarily dependent on donations from individuals, businesses and foundations in each team’s community.

The Florida League is recognized by Baseball America as one of the top summer leagues in the United States. Presently, 367 former Florida League players have been drafted by Major League Baseball (MLB) teams – with 33 former players taken in the 2015 MLB draft.

Entering its fourteenth season, the Florida League will give more than 200 college players the opportunity to compete. The League also provides positions for 24 coaches, and more than 30 summer internships for college students and recent graduates. Team rosters are comprised solely of players who have completed one year of college and have college eligibility remaining, positioning the NACSB summer leagues at the highest level of pre-professional amateur baseball in America.

The Florida League has a 45-game schedule per team. All games are played at night to allow players time during the day to work, attend summer classes or condition on their own. The night schedule is also conducive to attendance by families, for whom the Florida League baseball provides affordable entertainment.  In 2016, the Florida League welcomed over 70,000 fans to the ballpark!  Fan events – such as the Rubber Chicken Chuck and Races of the Bases during every game – are among the fun activities that promote family participation.

Community involvement is a priority for the Florida League. We partner with local non-profit and civic groups through the FUNraiser program, providing a venue for interaction with fans and an opportunity to sell tickets to raise money for their respective cause. Our players, coaches and interns also volunteer their time by performing community service for other non-profit organizations in each team’s hometown.

There are six teams this year, which are the Sanford River Rats, Winter Park Dawgs, Winter Garden Squeeze, Altamonte Scorpions, DeLand Suns, and Leesburg Lightning. These baseball games are reasonably priced for the entire family outing. There are a variety of stadium to attend a college baseball game in the Central Florida area. Here are these stadiums, which are Sanford Memorial Stadium, Conrad Park, West Orange High School, Lake Brantley High School, Bishop Moore High School, and Pat Thomas Stadium. Most baseball games start at 7pm, but check the schedule for times and locations. Some games maybe rain delayed due to afternoon and evening storms. Check the schedule for cancelled games.

The final championship baseball game is played at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg on Sunday, August 6, 2017. This is a double-header game with Tampa Bay Rays playing the Milwaukee Brewers at 1:10pm. Following the game the FCSL will play their final game for this Summer season. More information about this Championship game will be posted in the future from the FCSL.

For more information on the Florida Collegiate Summer League (FCSL) go to www.floridaleague.com . If you like this article, then like it on our Otownfun WordPress account. For more great events and places please check us out at http://www.otownfun.com .

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Sources of information from floridaleague.com


2017 Baby Owl Shower at the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey in Maitland

DSC_2712_MODPhoto courtesy of icflorida.com

Come down and bring the whole family for the Baby Owl Shower at the Audubon Center for Birds in Maitland on Saturday, May 13, 2017, from 10am – 2pm. Each Spring the Center holds its annual Baby Owl Shower to raise funds to offset the increased costs during baby season.  Join us for a day of activities plus special visits with the Center’s Ambassador birds. Non-releasable baby raptors will be available to view (pending).  Admission is “free” that day with an item from our wish list  that is used in caring for these young raptors.

Driving from Orlando to Maitland is only a short drive. Check your GPS for the best route. Due to the popularity of this event we encourage carpooling.  Offsite parking will be available at St. Lawrence AME Church located at 549 E. Kennedy Blvd., Eatonville, FL 32751 is just a $5 donation.

This day would not be possible without the participating community sponsors from Orange Audubon Society, Art & History Museums-Maitland, Kissimmee Valley Audubon Society/Pine Lily Chapter Native plant society, UCF Entomology Club, Maitland Public Library

Photo courtesy of icflorida.com

The reason why the Audubon Center host this event every year to raise money and collect supplies to help support the new birds coming into this world. Spring is coming and with it brings baby bird season.  During “baby season,” as the Center calls it, the clinic receives approximately 20% of our annual patient load.  Most of these young birds have been temporarily displaced from their nests. The Center’s ultimate goal is to get all these babies back into the wild where they belong.  Many of these babies will be reunited with their families or placed in foster nests. Others that are orphaned or that cannot be returned with their families are being raised and prepared for life in the wild.  Center staff spends many hours educating the public on what to do if they find a baby bird and if the bird is in need of help.  The best procedure is to get the baby back up into the nest with its parents if at all possible.

Funds raised will be used to buy food, medications, medical care and other essential supplies.  To give you an idea of what it takes to care for these youngsters, a typical season looks like this:

  • FOOD…287 pounds of fish, 148 quail, 595 chicks, 679 mice, 93 rats, 5000 crickets and 4000 mealworms.  We went through 2 knives and three pairs of scissors cutting it all up into baby-size portions!
  • HYDRATION…12,000ml of fluids were administered.
  • CLEAN-UP…we washed 956 baby blankets and used 150 pounds of newspaper.
  • LABOR…500+ volunteer hours were donated to rescue, feed, clean cages and care for the babies.

The Audubon Center needs your help!  Please donate to help these birds get back into their natural habitat. For more information go to http://fl.audubon.org/chapters-centers/baby-owl-shower . Contact the Center at 407-644-0190 for more details or if you have questions.

Photo courtesy of icflorida.com

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Source of information from the Audubon Florida website


Photo Tip Series – Travel Photography


Written by: Nathan Wertheimer

The next Photo Tip Series I will be writing about is travel photography. Most people like to travel and have a great time too. What better way to remember your experience than to have a collection of personal photographs? Photos can be cherished for a lifetime.

Before heading out on out trip here are some tips. First, don’t pack all your photography gear to take with you. One only need a limited number of photography gear. I recommend bring just one camera with two lenses only. The two lenses I recommend to bring are a 28-300mm lens and a 12-24mm lens. These two lenses will help one have fun while photographing your experience. The 28-300m lens is a general purpose all around lens. Next, the 12-24mm lens is the best wide-angle lens used for close up and in very tight places. Another item to bring is either a monopod and or a tripod. This depends on the subject matter you are taking. The monopod and or tripod can be packed in your luggage bag. Another item one will want to add to your camera bag is a Speedlight flash which is great in low light situations. Please note that not all places let tourists take flash photography. Ask before photographing.

Before leaving home for your vacation, it is recommended to conduct research on the places one is visiting. Check to see what photos other people have taken. This will give you an idea what people have photograph in the past and to try to improve on there inspired images. Look for places people are not photographing it. One may have an exclusive image.

The next thing one needs to think about is how to carry your camera gear. There are a few different options. One is buy or use a plain non-discreet backpack. Many camera manufactures have their own brand labeled on their camera bags. One should not be advertising to the world what type of camera gear one owns. If you have one of these bags, I recommend removing the outside brand label. If you’re looking for a professional photographer traveler’s camera bag go to a photography retail shop and check out a large selection of camera bag. Some camera bags maybe expensive. One bag does not fit all. One must decide how much gear one wants to pack for a trip. Remember to keep it simple.

Depending on where one is traveling too, it is always best to be safe. While traveling over seas, it is recommend taping up the brand name on your camera along with the model number too. There are thieves out there looking for certain brand cameras and models. This technique will deter them. Someone might approach one on the street and they ask type of camera it is. It is suggest not to provide any information to people out on the streets you don’t know. They might be casing you. So please be on guard at all times.

When traveling thru airport and cruise port security checkpoints, Security Officers may inspect your equipment at any time. Be prepared to have your camera bag inspected and or questioned by Security. Have your camera gear organized and stood properly inside your camera bag. This will made for an easy security screening. If your taking film on board an aircraft have security hand check your film. If one lets the film go through an x-ray security machine this may cause damage to your new and or used film. It is best to read the posted sign on what items should not go through a security x-ray machine.

Do your research on local laws on where travelers are allowed to photograph. In the United States, one is allowed to photograph on public sidewalks and right of ways. When photographing on private property is it wise to get permission first from property owner and or management before photographing. When ask to leave on private property by an employee and or management obey their directive. If not, one has a chance to be trespassed by law enforcement.

When out on location these are a few techniques one can use. If your riding in the car in the passenger side, roll down your window and take photos in places where one cannot stop. This is a very good technique for downtown areas. It is not wise to shoot through the car’s glass windows because reflection will show up in your photos. Some places one will want to stop and take a better photo outside of your vehicle.

Other things that might affect your photos will be the time of day one photographs at. Most of the time, one will not have a choice on what time of the day to photograph with. For dark places, it is wise to use a Speedlight flash. Some places may not allow flash photography. This is where a tripod comes in handy. One can use a tripod for long exposures. One may want to consider using a cable release on their camera on a tripod for the long exposures.

I wish everyone happy photography to you. Thank you for reading this Photo Tip Series and check back again for more Photography Tips in the future. If you like this article, then like it on our Otownfun WordPress account. For more great events and places please visit us at www.otownfun.com .

Note: All written content and images are copy righted by either by the person and or company who wrote and photograph published for this article. This article may not be republished without written permission from otownfun.com. Any questions please contact Otownfunnow@gmail.com .


2017 8th Annual Northwestern Mutual Chili Cook-Off in Orlando Preview


Written by Nathan Wertheimer

Orlando, FL – The Northwestern Mutual Chili Cook-Off is one of the largest cook-off events in the Central Florida area, which raises money for Alex’s Lemonade Stand. What makes this event unique is that there is much to see, do, and taste. Plus, watching the tough chili-eating competition. This event is held on Saturday, February 18th, 2017, from 12pm -6pm, at Festival Park in Orlando, near the Orlando Executive Airport.

When driving down to this event there will be limited parking on Festival Park property. But there is parking available for a fee about a block away at a few area businesses. For the best parking spaces get there early because it fills up fast. If you can’t find parking park near by park head to the Fashion Square Mall where there will be shuttle buses going to and from this event. Check the event website for more parking options.

During the pervious year’s event it was hit or miss with the weather. It is recommended to bring a poncho, folding chair, and dress comfortably. Plus, don’t forget the your camera. There’ll be so much to take in. Your family pets are not allowed at this venue, but service animals are always welcome.


It is recommended to arrive hungry to this event. One will be sampling from many different flavors and recipes of cooked chili from about 100 booths. Not all the chili tastes the same. Some of the ingredients inside the chili are spices, cooked meat chunks, a variety of beans. Plus, these booths have added their own secret ingredients too. If you’re looking some for hot chili, they also have some of that too. Spicy chili is upon requested because not a lot of people like hot and spicy chili. Some people get heartburn after eating all the samples that their heart desires. Don’t forget to pack the over the counter heartburn medication for yourself and or family. There will be some lines wait in to get some samples of chili from many booths. Please be patient and wait your turn in line.

If you’re interested in showcasing your chili at this year’s event. You and your team can register before hand and pay a registration fee at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc8pEt7lsd31fasaX8qaVyHZMMv4MeZxIMHtXtztttFpwW6Bw/viewform . Any questions please contact ChiliDaddy@OrlandoWeekly.com


Besides tasting chili, there are other activities to see and do. There is also a massive kid’s zone, capture memories in the Paparazzi zone, live entertainment, and see the World Chili Eating Challenge. There are a number of musical acts that perform live on the main stage. Every year they have some local bands to get this party started. The crowds’ rock and dance to these tunes throughout the day of this event.

The main event at this event is the World Chili Eating Challenge. This is a food-eating contest that is sanctioned by the Major League Eating & International Federation of Competitive Eating. Some of the past winners were Joey Chesnut, Miki Sudo, and many more. Theses eating record holders will be back to try to win this year’s contest. The general public has a chance to enter into this eating contest too. Go to www.majorleagueeating.com for more information. Very few are selected to compete in this competition.

At the end of the day winners will be awarded in various Chili Cook-Off categories. Some of these winners go on to other major chili cook-off events. The Great Orlando Northwestern Mutual sponsors this event. For more information go to www.greaterorlando.nm.com or www.northwesternmutual.com .

Also, for more information on the 8th Annual Northwestern Mutual Chili Cook-Off in Orlando please go to www.orlandochilicookoff.com . If you like this article, then like it on our Otownfun WordPress account. For more great events listings please check us out at www.otownfun.com .

Photos courtesy by icflorida.com

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Margaret Noel Fine Art Exhibit at Seminole State College Review 

Written by Nathan Wertheimer

Sanford, FL – It is a start of the New Year and artist Margaret Noel was selected to have a solo art exhibition inside the Seminole State College Fine Arts Gallery from January 19 – February 20, 2017. Noel displays her landscapes and abstracts architecture drawings throughout the art gallery. On the opening night, this artist was unable to her art exhibition.

When arriving on Seminole State College property to visit this art exhibit, you will want to park closest to the Performing and Fine Arts Building. Parking is free. The college art gallery is open Monday thru Thursday 10am – 3pm and during intermission theater performances. The art gallery admission is free to visit, but they kindly ask for any kind of monetary donation to keep the college art gallery open and running strong.

Upon walking into the Fine Arts Gallery a visitor will notice medium size drawings hanging on the wall. There is a total of 19 works of art from Noel. Her work is quite intriguing to look at. She gives the viewer a sense of being there whether in her abstract architecture or her landscapes pieces.

There were three drawings I picked out to critique from her art exhibit. The first drawing is entitled “Façade 1” and was created by ink on gessoed panel. This work can be described as an abstract architecture piece. The drawing has cross hatching lines throughout the entire artwork. Because this piece is a black and white, there is no color anywhere in the drawing. The perspective of the drawing shows many straight lines with repetition of shapes. The viewer may envision this piece looking like a part of a building. Also, Noel has posted that this drawing is not for sale.

The next Noel drawing is entitled “Structure 1” and is a copper point and ink on gessoed panel. When one looks at this piece it is considered to be an abstract architecture drawing. There are many repeated shapes in this piece. One will notice the vertical and horizontal lines that intersect which are cross beams. The viewer will overall think this piece is a building under construction. What gives this away is the open building structure along with the construction scaffolding in between the buildings. It is unknown the location of this building. There are a few colors used in this piece, which are a copper color, tan, gray, black, and white. Also, Noel has posted that this drawing is not for sale.

Finally, the third drawing is entitled “Rebuild 1” and is a copper point and ink on gessoed panel. Noel created this as an abstract drawing. The drawing has monochromatic brown in the piece. The artist gave the brown a washed look throughout her piece. Viewers will notice many repetition shapes and forms in her drawing. In some areas of her piece there are some geometric shapes. As a viewer it is hard to tell what this artist is trying to create in her piece. In my perspective it looks like an unfinished structure of some kind. Also, Noel has posted that this drawing is not for sale.

If your interested about learning more about this artist please visit her website at www.margaretnoel.com . On her website one will find her latest art portfolio, biography, and past exhibitions. She is a well-respected fine artist.

The next Seminole State College Art Gallery featured artist is Sean Sexton featuring paintings, drawings, and ceramics. Opening reception is on Thursday, February 23, 2017 from 5-7pm. Her art exhibit will run from February 23 – March 15, 2017. For more information go to: www.seminolestate.edu/arts/events/gallery

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Restaurant Review on the New York Deli II at The Gateway Center in Orlando

nyd2_photoOrlando, FL – Are you looking for a quick bite for breakfast or lunch then New York Deli II is your answer. This place is located in the Gateway Center at 1000 Legion Place in downtown Orlando right inside the Gateway Center Lobby. They serve a variety of food menu items. Your order is cooked fresh to eat. Price ranges are .50¢ to $12.99 depending on what you order.

New York Deli II is not open for dinner. Their hours are from 7am – 4pm during Monday thru Friday. Closed on the weekends and holidays. There staff is very friendly will make you feel welcome to eat at this place. This restaurant is independently owned and operated.

For Breakfast this deli has a large selection of breakfast items. They have bagels with cream cheese, eggs made to order, turkey bacon, muffins, and fruit. Plus, they have a special on smoked salmon with cream cheese on a bagel. Breakfast is served from 7am to 11am. This is not a place for breakfast all day.

The deli has a huge lunch crowd from inside the building and surrounding area. The lunch menu has a large selection of regular food items. They have deli sandwiches, soups, and salads. Also, they offer a special of the day. Mondays is usually a select deli sub of the day with a drink and chips, Tuesday is Taco day with a drink and chips. Wednesday is Chop BBQ pork or BBQ chicken sandwich with drink and chips and sometimes baked chicken Parmesan sub. Thursday is meatball sub day with a drink and chips. Finally, Friday is chicken with a side of white rice and beans with a drink.

Some famous local celebrities have eaten at this New York Deli. You never know whom your going to see at the deli. Many tenants in the building come down to eat at the deli along with visitors too. This place is a hot spot for breakfast and lunch during high peak times.

This deli is highly recommended by many visitors and tenants as a great fast casual restaurant whether your on the go or just want to sit in the dinning area. They accept cash and credit/debt card only. Experience this small deli for yourself. You’ll be sure to come visit again.

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