I went to a neighborhood Holiday Display that they have every year at a local mall. Since my office was close, I sometimes go to lunch there. The display has gotten a little smaller this year, yet the place was packed.
I spoke to one of the shops and asked them if they needed to expand their seating due to the business. I was told the people were coming for the trains and business was great. Unfortunately, when the trains go, so do the people.
I have attached a couple of pictures of the layout. It is a nice layout, no switching with different segments for different buildings and scenes. There are all kinds of buttons around the layout. The kids can race cars, get the martians to steal cattle, can make the Sodor train run. I should have taken more pictures but with the kids I did not want to be impolite.
When I said there must be other things you can do to bring people in to the mall. I was told that at Easter they bring in someone dressed as a rabbit. However, one of the other people there said, "the rabbit sucks."
So, in essence, for over a hundred years people are fascinated by model trains. Although I don't advertise my hobby when talking to people, when it gets brought up, I am often told that this or that friend or relative has a great setup. They usually smile and state that they love the layout that relative or friend had.