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Big Boy and Crowd
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Spike 150 Brings Boost To Weber, Box Elder Economy

OGDEN, Utah — As the Sesquicentennial celebrations for the completion of the transcontinental railroad were going on at Promontory Point, brothers Tim and Richard Gray were avoiding those crowds by enjoying a display of the Big Boy and Living Legend steam engines.

“No, we didn’t want to have that many people around us,” Tim Gray said, laughing.

Tim and Richard Gray

Tim and Richard Gray

The two brothers remember seeing the Big Boy in a museum in Southern California as children, making it their main reason for driving from there to see it.

“When we were kids, we were actually on the running board of that, back in Los Angeles, back in the 60’s,” Tim said.  “We got a picture of us all as little kids.”

Early estimates of the roughly 200,000 people, visiting both Weber and Box Elder Counties, from around the world, are expected to bring a significant boost to the area economies. Area hotels were booked well before the celebrations began.

Jeff Norr and his parents are among the vendors doing business along 25th street through Saturday. They brought the family’s Old Fashioned Soda business down from Logan.

“We travel all over the place,” Norr said. “My dad’s from Tremonton. We have a dry farm, in Promontory. And so we were hoping to get out there, but then this one came up.”

Jeff Noor

Jeff Noor

Second-billing or not, Norr said business has been busy over the past two days.

“It’s been fun,” Norr said. “We’ve met people from all over the country, all over the world actually, from Ukraine, from Germany, from New York, to Massachusetts.”

The Norrs say they weren’t completely prepared for how well business has been, however. Commemorative ‘Golden Spike 150’ metal mugs they’ve been selling were almost sold out Friday afternoon.

“Unfortunately, I didn’t order enough of them,” Norr said.

The next shipment comes in Monday.

The Ogden Heritage Festival, which normally lasts only one day, will wrap up Saturday night, after running since Thursday.

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