Sunday, December 18, 2011

Another successful Santa Train event

Zoe (Santa's oldest elf) and Ms. Claus
joined Santa in greeting children and
preparing the list of who is naughty
 and nice.        
         Santa Train is the Northwest Railway Museum's premier event; it has been a Northwest tradition for 43 years.  Visitors travel on a 2 hour excursion on a century-old train from North Bend to Snoqualmie, visit with Santa and enjoy refreshments prepared in an authentic railway kitchen car.

        In 2011 trains ran for eight days and served 11,200 visitors.  The kitchen car stoves baked more than 24,000 cookies and Kris Kringle distributed nearly 7,000 small gifts to children.  Factors in a successful event include the 57 dedicated volunteers and permanent staff that hosted the event, and awesome community support from the Snoqualmie Valley. 

       Volunteers crewed the train, helped guide people around the depot, assisted Santa, served refreshments in the kitchen car.  They decorated the Snoqualmie Depot, the kitchen and the train.  They baked cookies, sold and mailed tickets, cleaned the coaches, and set up craft tables.  More than 1,600 hours were invested in preparing and hosting Santa Train.

24,000 cookies were rolled and baked
in the railway kitchen car. A dedicated
 team of volunteers served them too!  
        Continental Mills contributed Krusteaz® cookie dough and North Bend's John Day Homes provided monogrammed cups for hot cocoa and coffee.  The City of Snoqualmie Parks Department cleaned and maintained the restrooms in the Snoqualmie Depot.  They also did an outstanding job of decorating Railroad Park in downtown Snoqualmie.  The North Bend Public Works Department cleaned and maintained the North Bend Depot.

        2011 brought several important improvements to the kitchen car too.  The demise of Borders Books provided an opportunity to acquire and install an SBC Coffee machine.  New 300 ounce insulated beverage dispensers were acquired to improve cocoa service.  A new dough mixer has improved the quality and consistency of cookies. And a new cookie flavor was introduced: lemon!

        Santa Train is a wonderful event and all of us here at the Northwest Railway Museum really enjoy hosting it. Wishing you Happy Holidays from all of us at the Northwest Railway Museum.

Families young and younger rode in century-old coaches.
Seasonally decorated coaches greeted Santa Train passengers.
Locomotives featured wreaths and Santa's own class lights.
Excited children arrive in Snoqualmie.
As he rode back to the North Pole, Santa reviewed his "nice" list. 
Santa was very pleased to note that none of the children who visited
him in Snoqualmie were on the naughty list.                                   

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Recollections of a Santa

The Patron Saint of Children has been a frequent visitor to the Northwest Railway Museum ever since seasonal programming began in 1969.  He is an integral part of Santa Train and has brought joy to generations of children.

Santa Train is in its 43rd season and will serve more than 11,000 visitors during eight days of sold-out operation.  The event is an important opportunity to attract a diverse audience to the Museum where they ride on a 100-year-old train, visit a Victorian-era depot, and experience a working railway kitchen car.  And the Snoqualmie Depot remains an important stop for Santa as he collects lists from children around the world. 

To remain a successful event, a very special person is required to "stand in" for such a famous man.  From 1979 through 1999, Santa was portrayed by local resident Frank Webb who played this role purely for the joy it brought to children and their families. Now retired and living in South Dakota, Mr. Webb recently visited the Snoqualmie Valley and shared some of his fondest memories of being the Northwest Railway Museum Santa.

Perhaps you visited Santa Train years ago and were once a child on his lap? Regardless, his recollections should bring a smile to your face too!