Seligman to offer 'Santa Train' ride for Christmas holiday

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Sponsorship proceeds help local foster children

Santa is once again calling children and adults to step aboard the Santa Train for a special holiday experience to remember on the Arkansas-Missouri Railroad.

The Seligman Area Chamber of Commerce will once again be hosting the annual train ride, which helps raise funds for the chamber, but also supports a great cause, as 100 percent of sponsorships proceeds go to For the Kids Foster/Adoptive Parents Association of Barry, Lawrence and Stone counties to help foster children and families with everyday needs like clothing, diapers, bottles and basic supplies.

There are about 5,000 foster children in Missouri, 700 in the preceding three counties alone. The association steps in to help meet basic needs that state funding lacks.

"Children often get brought to foster parents without anything, sometimes in the middle of the night, so the money helps them purchase clothes, supplies or whatever they need to help take care of the children," said Cleta Stanley, Seligman Chamber of Commerce president. "Last year, we raised $5,000, and this year, we've already exceeded that."

Two routes are available: from Seligman to Rogers, Ark., and from Monett to Exeter.

The rides will take place on Dec. 17 and Dec. 18. On Dec. 17, rides begin at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. for the Seligman-to-Rogers route, and 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. for the Monett-to-Exeter route.

For the Seligman route, the meeting point is at Seligman City Hall, located at 29144 Main Street.

For the Monett route, the meeting point is at the Monett Soccer Fields at South Park.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for children 12-and-under and ages three-and-under are free. Walk-ups are welcome but are limited to space availability. Trains seat up to 250 people.

Along with great scenery and the unique experience of riding a train, some for the first time, Santa will be coming on board to ask children if they've been naughty or nice and hand out treat bags. There will also be hot chocolate, cookies and holiday singing, making for a unique experience not found in typical holiday activities.

"We've done the train ride in Seligman for 12 years now," Stanley said. "Last year, we went from Seligman to Rogers, Ark., and from Seligman to Exeter, but everyone liked the trip to Rogers so well we're doing that again.

"We're also offering the opportunity for people to ride the train from Seligman to Rogers at 9 a.m. and stay and shop in stores in the old part of Rogers by the railroad tracks, then get back on the train around 11:30. That ride is $30 for adults. Children's prices stay the same."

Along with the experience of riding a train, the trip offers some quality holiday family time to get away from the hustle and bustle of the season.

To make a reservation, people may call the Arkansas-Missouri Railroad Depot at 1-800-687-8600, or go to www.amrailroad.com.

To support For the Kids, people may donate gently used clothes, shoes, coats, baby furniture, bed and other items to their clothing closet in Aurora. People may also set up a clothing drive at their respective churches or business to collect coats, school supplies, diapers, backpacks socks and other necessities. Monetary donations and volunteers at the closet are also accepted.

For more information, people may call Virginia Gaston, association president, at 417-229-2415.

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