ELLIS — For it being the first year of the Planes, Trains and Automobiles event, Glen Keller couldn’t have been much more happy with its opening Saturday morning.
A member of the tourism group and director of the Ellis Railroad Museum, Keller took a few minutes to look out the window at Trio Home Center and smile — watching people walk by and cars pass. The event, which first started to be pieced together in October by the town tourism group, was planned as a way to showcase the three museums in the downtown vicinity — the Walter P. Chrysler Museum, Bukovina Museum and the Ellis Railroad Museum. It just so happened to be the day Ellis had its annual citywide garage sale, and the Chrysler Car Show was able to be incorporated into the event.
“I think it’s been a pretty good draw so far,” Keller said. “We’re spread out so far with everything. We’re used to events with people all in one area. It’s easier to see them all, but I think if you were able to take everything into account, there’s probably a lot of people. They started coming to the museum for train rides at 9 this morning.”
The event also included an EagleMed helicopter for people to get a chance to see. There also was a fire truck to tour, and the Ellis Police hosted a child safety seat check.
Tickets for all three museums were sold to the public beforehand, allowing for visitors to buy a pass at an individual or family rate.
At the Chrysler Museum, visitors filed through the automobile legends childhood home, starting in the garage, then moving into the house. Museum tour guide Shauna Clark said the event has been a lift with tours through the house, but this year alone has been a solid year for visitors.
“Our numbers this year are actually up,” Clark said. “We usually don’t start our summer hours until after Memorial Day, but we started them early this year because our numbers have been increasing during the time periods we wouldn’t have been open.”
A tour group of 61 from Fort Hays State University, Clark said, visited in early April and wanted to come in at 9 a.m., which at the time was two hours earlier then they opened. After that tour, the museum decided to go ahead and continue opening at 9 because of the number of calls people were wanting to come in earlier.
Saturday was an added bonus to the museum’s strong visitor numbers this year.
“It’s been a pretty good turnout today,” Clark said. “The car show has helped with that, too.”
The annual Chrysler Car Show brought in more than 50 vehicles ranging in age from the 1920s to modern day hot rods. By 10 a.m., cars being shown still were coming into the area
Vanessa Keller walked around wiping down the five cars she and her husband, Mike, brought from their business Big Creek Renovation. One of the cars they brought was Vanessa’s own 1956 Chevy Nomad.
A love for cars since they were young, Vanessa Keller had a 1968 Ford Mustang Coupe when she was in high school, and Mike had a 1966 Mustang. They go to approximately five or six shows a year. This was the second year they have taken part in the Ellis show.
“This is a very nice show,” Vanessa Keller said. “Beautiful setting, small town. Can’t beat that.”