September marks the 30th anniversary of the filming of the movie “The Natural,” which starred Robert Redford, Robert Duvall, Glenn Close and Kim Basinger, and South Dayton is marking the event with train rides and festivities.
South Dayton was buzzing with activity in September 1983, as movie stars, directors, extras, makeup artists, costume designers, set crews and many onlookers transformed the normally quiet village in Cattaraugus County into a set for what would become an Academy Award-nominated movie.
The New York & Lake Erie Railroad will offer a 20-mile round-trip train ride from Gowanda to South Dayton Sept. 7 and 8. The train will depart from the Gowanda depot, 50 Commercial St., at 11 a.m. While on board, passengers can experience the nostalgia of riding in 1930s passenger cars while the train climbs the 2.5 percent grade out of the valley, travels through the Dayton tunnel constructed in 1865 and passes through farmlands and wetlands on its way to South Dayton.
During the three-hour layover in South Dayton, passengers can take in the festivities marking the anniversary, including an antique car display, a model train exhibit, a baseball game Sept. 7, carnival rides and music by the Slim Griffin Band on Sept. 7 and the Mountain Railroad Band on Sept. 8. Passengers can view the site of the movie’s baseball and carnival scenes, and visit the restored South Dayton depot.
The train will return to the Gowanda depot at about 4 p.m.
Train ticket prices are $15 for adults and $10 for children ages 3–11. Toddlers 2 and under ride free on the lap of a ticket holder. Tickets can be purchased by calling 597-4499.