Annual event raises funds for the Wilmington & Western Railroad's operations and maintenance

Over a thousand visitors flooded the Hockessin Memorial Hall this weekend for the 13th annual Wilmington and Western Railroad art gala, and the organizers couldn’t be happier.

“It is probably the single-most, largest fundraiser for Historic Red Clay Valley, Inc.,” said WWRR executive director David Ludlow. “Without a doubt.”

This year’s event, Ludlow said, would likely net the non-profit railroad roughly $20,000 over the three-day period, after expenses.

Those funds go into general operational costs for the railroad, including the maintenance of the cars and railroad ties and the purchase of diesel and coal to keep the cars running, Ludlow said.

Ludlow explained that the event splits the profits on all sales with the artist at 70/30, with the artist receiving the lion’s share.

In total, 27 different artists from throughout the region set up shop, representing a variety of different media and styles, from pastel landscapes to handmade jewelry to the metallic sculptures of Dallastown, Pa., artist Laurann Jacobs.

“There is just such a wonderful assortment of talent here,” Jacobs said of her fellow artists. “I just bought a piece myself, from that glass vendor back there. It’s beautiful.”

Ludlow said that the talent for the show comes from well-known Delaware artist Larry Anderson, who acts as the show organizer.

“He helps us put the whole thing on,” Ludlow said. “He works with these people throughout the year at other shows, and we gathers them and we look each year at who wants to come back; we have lots of returning artists each year.”

Guests on Saturday could also take rides on the WWRR’s train, taking a loop from Hockessin to Ashland and back up Hockessin Hill – a roughly 45-minute trip.

For more information on the railroad, including events and schedules, visit