Metrolina hosts final event, vendors searching for new space

- For more than 30 years the Metrolina has hosted hundreds of shows and fairs. Thousands gathered on Saturday for the final events, with many still wondering where they go next year.

"It is the end of the line," said vendor, Gordon Hartranft.

It's a play on words as the Metrolina Expo Center was transformed one last time. Nearly 2,000 hobbyists took a trip down memory lane by browsing and buying model trains.

"We usually consider this one of our go to shows every year," said a vendor who traveled from the Atlanta area.

For 13 years the North Carolina Model Train Show has called the Metrolina home. Gordon Hartranft has been setting up his table since day one.

"Whenever you go to a new area for a show you are always a little apprehensive as to if you will be receipted or what not," said Hartranft.

Next year, that feeling will return. The close to 100 acres that make up Metrolina has been sold. The land has been re-zoned as light industrial and is expected to become a business park. As vendors packed up and went home for the final time, they don't know where in Charlotte they will return next year.

"It's kinda bitter sweet knowing this facility has served us well," said Hartranft.

"Well I think it's kinda sad because this is the 4th show I have done here, but I am very positive they will find another venue for this show," said Robert West.

Just like their real-life counterpart, vendors say their model trains will travel back to Charlotte.

"You know we do a lot of train shows and they come and they go as far as the locations," said West.

Although it's now closing, the Metrolina is considered one of Charlotte's largest expo spaces. The new owner of the property could start work before the end of the year.

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