All aboard the Santa train

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Holiday train ride with Santa and treats

A chance to see Santa Claus, eat cookies and take a train ride is available to the public again this year, with multiple opportunities for local families.

Two trips from Seligman to Rogers, Ark., will be on Dec. 15, at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. On the 9 a.m. ride, people can exit the train station and go shopping around downtown Rogers, then catch the train ride back with the 11 o’clock ride.

The Monett to Exeter train rides are on Dec. 16, with three trips, noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. All trips are about an hour and half long, and span miles of track. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for children 12-and-under, and ages 3-and-under are free.

Aside from the train ride experience and winter views, during the ride, children and adults enjoy the company of Santa, who hands out goody bags to all children under 12 and asks who has been naughty and who has been nice. Also, children are given hot chocolate and cookies, and get to sing Christmas carols with the Flyin’ Buzzards, who will be on the train both days.

“The kids love it, and it keeps growing every year,” said Cleta Stanley, president of the Seligman Chamber of Commerce, which hosts the rides. “The first year we did this, we made up about 150 bags of candy. Last year, we made 400, and we plan on making 500 this year.

“The kids love Santa Claus, and we let Santa hand out the bags of treats. The children sing along with the Christmas carols, and they just really enjoy it.”

Sponsorship proceeds are given directly to the For The Kids/Adoptive Parents Association, and the association helps families who foster children. For the Kids operates in Barry, Lawrence and Stone counties, so the money stays local.

“The train ride started out as a fundraiser for the Chamber of Commerce,” Stanley said. “Recently, Lynette Bailey with For the Kids contacted me, to see if we could help in some way to raise money for the Association. I thought, well we can use the Santa train ride for that.

“We used to just ride from Seligman to Rogers, but when we started sponsoring the foster kids, we started doing a trip out of Monett, also.”

Stanley said the Arkansas-Missouri Railroad Depot have been helpful, and they are the reason the Chamber can do the train rides.

For Santa train ride reservations, people may visit amrailroad.com or call 800-687-8600 or 479-725-4017.

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