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Anatomy of an LCCA Convention

Anatomy of an LCCA Convention

The annual LCCA convention has been a favorite time of fun and fellowship for many of our members. Held during one of the last two weeks of July per our Constitution, the convention changes cities each year, moving around the US to visit and explore all areas of our country, focusing where available on current train excursions that exist in that locale. While the convention themes vary with each venue, and while the main thrust of the tours have a railroad component, we have noticed that the convention has also become a time of family vacation planning for young and old alike.  In July during the summer, the kids are out of school and the tours are planned to take advantage of sights in areas not normally seen by our members.  All events and most tours are suitable for all ages and are ADA compliant.  Family members of all ages are invited and welcome.  All LCCA Conventions offer unique, different experiences depending on location and venue, but are generally structured with our time proven program.

Weekly Schedule

Starting things off we have the President Welcome on Sunday night where everyone is welcomed by the president with the officers and directors present for everyone to meet and greet. On Wednesday night we have the First Timers Reception. This is for everyone who is coming to a convention for their first time. Whether you have been a member for 20 years or 2 months, if this is your first LCCA convention, then this one’s for you. Come and meet other first timers and who knows, great friendships may be just beginning. Also, during the week there may be clinics or workshops during the evenings to enhance your modeling skills or ideas about layouts or scenery building or repair notes. We never know from year to year what may be discussed, but rest assured they will be noteworthy, enjoyable.  Of course, listen for the “clapper.” Wherever you may be, listen for the clapper and get your raffle ticket out, ‘cause you may be a winner. What’s this you ask? Come to the convention and find out. It is fairly new and has become an instant favorite. 

The Hotel

The selected hotels are name branded and if you are member, you may use points to cover the bill or compile points to add to your total. The hotels are site selected as to size and capability to adequately take care of our crowd, in addition to concessions offered with regards to the number of room nights we occupy. Signing up for our Registration Block provides a nightly room charge for LCCA attendees that's lower than what the hotel typically charges during that time of year, which makes for a win-win for both the hotel and the club. 

The Tours

Speaking of tours, this is one of the main reasons everyone enjoys coming to our conventions.  We research the tour options offered in each city or area and personally visit each one to determine how enjoyable and memorable it might be to our attendees, both adults and children. In fact, often we will find one that is educational, and also highly interesting and entertaining. For instance, the California Railroad Museum in Sacramento CA. comes to mind, as does the Anthracite Coal Mine and Museum in Scranton, PA. and the Nautilus submarine in Groton, CT.  These three, and many others, have been on our tours, and were extremely popular with both adults and children.

The LCCA Dinners

Three of the most popular events at each convention are the famous Get Acquainted Party, or GAP, the Banquet and of course the Trading Hall. The GAP takes place on Thursday night and usually features a buffet of locally iconic food and entertainment, which in the past has ranged from a magician to big band to 50’s impersonators to dueling pianos and the list goes on. Finally, whatever professional entertainment is available in the convention locale. This is a casual evening for everyone, and a good time is had by all. 

Saturday evening the convention wraps up with the final event, the Banquet. This is a seated meal service where the meal is only highlighted by what is on the table. It has been the custom for each table to be adorned with orange and blue boxes containing goodies from that “little ole train maker” Lionel. There’s usually one box per dinner guest, but which one you get is routinely changed from year to year, but you get to choose the box you want, or sometimes what’s left to choose from. Either way, it’s a chance and the best part is, it’s free and its fun! This is the finish of another week of LCCA convention fun and friendship. Goodbyes are said, hugs are made, and best wishes are passed from one to all.

The Trading Hall

On Friday morning those wishing to sell train items can begin setting up their tables in the trading hall, which is open only to those getting their table ready. Then at 6:00 pm the hall opens to the members attending the convention and selling/trading begins. This is certainly one of the most looked forward to time at the convention. The bartering is hot and heavy, and the sellers and buyers usually both walk away happy. On Saturday, the public is welcome to the hall.  This continues until 3:00 pm, when everything is wrapped up and everyone heads to the ballroom for the banquet.

Other Member Convention Activities and Opportunities

LCCA conventions offer a number of unique activities.  There is puzzle room which doubles as a social meeting room, with snacks open the entire convention.  Perhaps a Bingo game night, a card game, or just a place to meet, this room is always occupied.  The LCCA store is stocked with Lionel items for sale at reduced member pricing.  Whether LCCA club product, or standard Lionel offerings, or even an as-is table, there is something for all attendees.  The store is where you go to get the limited-edition On-Site car, a special keepsake for each year.  You can’t miss the operating layouts that are present at each venue.  There may be raffles and the ever-popular silent auction.  The LCCA module layout is often joined with that from a local club or organization.  And while at the convention, you will have direct access to our business office staff.  One important reason for the success of LCCA Conventions is that it is completely run by volunteers.  Our volunteers are comprised of our leadership team, regular member convention goers, and new or existing attending members who want to be involved.  The size and breath of this volunteer staff is a major component of the warmth and welcoming characteristics of the convention.  


Registration opens with the February issue of The Lion Roars – usually in mid-February.  Registration is both mail in and on-line.  The hotel block opens up at the same time.  Tours and events are offered, and where noted may have limited first come, first served ticketing.  If you are interested in a limited seating event, do not delay.  The first 400 members who register and stay at the host hotel receive a really nice gift.  Member registration covers the entry of the member and his family.