The 2020 NASG Convention

July 7 through 11 (Tue. through Sat.)

Bloomington, Minnesota

"A Gathering of Friends"

The Pines and Prairies S Scale Workshop invites you to join us for the 2020 NASG National Convention in Bloomington, Minnesota July 7th through July 11th, 2020.

The Convention Hotel

We have selected the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel as our Convention hotel. It is a beautiful facility and well-appointed to host our Convention. The hotel offers free parking, complimentary shuttles to and from the Twin Cities International Airport (MSP) and the "Mall of America", complimentary breakfast, and features a fine restaurant and bar. Additionally, there are regular and fast-food restaurants within walking distance.

The DoubleTree by Hilton hotel is located at 7800 Normandale Blvd., Bloomington, Minnesota 55439 (view the interactive map). Call (985) 835-7800, or follow this link, to make your hotel reservations. Use code "NAG". We have reserved a special room rate of $109 per night. The link to the hotel itself is available here.

Convention Registration

Currently in effect is the "early registration", which ends April 1, 2020, at $85 per person, or $120 per family (includes spouse, and children under 18 years old).

To register, please click on the link below to view, print, or download the PDF file that is the registration form. Then, fill it out and mail, along with payment, to the address shown on the form.

2020 NASG Convention Registration Form


Vendors must both register for the Convention (see document link above), and place a reservation for one or more tables (two different sizes are available). Currently in effect is the "early vendor registration", which ends December 31, 2019.

2020 NASG Convention Vendor Table Registration Form

2020 NASG Convention Vendor Room Diagram

2020 NASG Convention Vendor Exhibit Space Form

Convention Car

Due to the short-notice of getting this Convention going, there is no NASG Convention Car planned for this year.

Building the P&PSL

Yes, we are going to build a model railroad layout right at the Convention!

The P&PSL is a Granger branch line connecting the Minnesota town of Long Prairie, a small farming community, with the town of Pine City. Long Prairie is a typical small town in the fertile breadbasket of the upper mid-west, its business district anchored by the local grain elevator that dominates the prairie skyline. Pine City is a larger community, the county seat and regional economic center. The P&PSL connects with a regional Class 1 railroad in Pine City.

The P&PSL will be constructed and operated during the NASG 2020 Convention. The construction and operations of the layout will be a hands-on activity for all Convention-goers. It will be an opportunity to demonstrate many of the methods and options available to create a railroad model in "S". The railroad will also be a community meeting space where old friends and new acquaintances can share modeling experiences and skills while interacting in an informal setting. The layout will be a canvas for mini-workshop clinics conducted throughout the convention. New and traditional techniques, tools, and equipment will be demonstrated that many Conventioneers might not have had the opportunity to encounter. The railroad will provide the opportunity to test run equipment purchased during the Convention. Finally, the railroad will "work"; it will have meaningful operations and will demonstrate the fun that can be had with a small scene on a layout or modular railroad.

The project begins Tuesday with the preparation of the roadbed and laying track. By Wednesday we expect to have wheels rolling on the layout. Throughout the Convention, we will be demonstrating control systems, scenery, and operations. When we are not demonstrating, the layout will be open to test your latest purchase, run your favorite locomotive or freight car or just run trains. Is a piece of motive power or car a "railroad model", and the base we run it on a "model railroad"?

The Schedule

Tuesday, July 7, 2020
The NASG Convention officially begins today with self-guided railfan and layout tours throughout the Twin Cities. Several of these layouts will offer opportunities for operating sessions! Family activities on Tuesday and each day will include the Mall of America® which features over 520 retail stores as well as vast entertainment and dining options on four floors. Each floor offers one mile of shops!

Tentatively, we are also looking to add an additional bus tour of Duluth, including the Lake Superior Railroad Museum, Canal Park, and other points of interest.

Michael Fox' switching layout built in his condominium's store room shows you can build a great S-scale layout in a minimum amount of space. Michael will also be leading the "P&PSL" small layout build project we have going this year.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020
Convention-goers will travel to the Mall of America® where we will ride the Twin Cities light rail to Downtown Minneapolis. Then ride the "heavy rail" train round-trip to Big Lake, Minnesota. On the return trip, you will have the choice of riding the light rail to St. Paul or back to the Mall of America®. Note: Wednesday's costs for the rail trips and lunch are not included in the Convention registration price. On Wednesday evening, self-guided layout tours and clinics are scheduled.

Thursday, July 9, 2020
We will explore the Twin Cities by air-conditioned motorcoach. Included in the stops will be Loram, a leading supplier of track maintenance-of-way services and equipment. Other sights will be added and announced. This excursion is a extra-fare item to the Convention (see the registration form). Thursday evening features the NASG "Icebreaker" Reception, clinics, and the Trading Floor.

Friday, July 10, 2020
Friday features a full morning of clinics and the Trading Floor. The NASG Membership meeting begins at 1pm, after which the Trading Floor will re-open until 9pm.

Mary Spears Fitzgerald is applying static grass after one of our hands-on workshops. Mary will be a featured workshop teacher at the Convention.

Saturday, July 11, 2020
The Trading Floor opens from 9am until 2pm. The contest, model, and layout rooms are open until Happy Hour starts at 5:30pm, with the Annual Banquet following at 6:30pm.

The Banquet, followed by a possible presentation for the 2021 Convention, followed by the always-entertaining NASG Auction.

Sunday, July 12, 2020
Today is a get-away day. However, there will be self-guided tours available.

NASG Contests


Clinics are sessions where one or more persons make a presentation. Note that some may have some time set aside for a more hands-on or close-up workshop.


Workshops are sessions where one or more persons show how to actually build something. These may also include hands-on opportunities for the attendees.


For general information or questions, contact Ken Zieska.

For financial information or questions, contact Tom Lennon, Treasurer.

For web site questions, contact Peter Vanvliet.