The Belleview Park area in and around the miniature train station underwent a major makeover as it became the home of the Englewood Holiday Express on Dec. 8 and 9 and again on Dec. 15 and 16.
The area of the park that is normally dark and quiet became a beehive of activity. The darkness gave way to the glow of an abundance of multicolored lights and a few wood-fueled fires.
Families chose their own schedule as the activities could include a ride around the park on the miniature train, a visit with Santa, time in Santa's workshop or warming by wood fires while making s'mores.
Holiday lights were everywhere. Strings of lights draped the train depot and children's farm barn, the miniature train as well as numerous trees around the station and along the train's route.
On Dec. 9, there was a line of people waiting to board the miniature train for the one-mile trip around the edge of the park. When the waiting passengers were seated, the engineer sounded the horn and rang the bell as the train pulled out of the station and chugged along the track providing a close-up view of the decorations along the route.
Maria Sanchez held the hands of two children as they got off the train.
“This really is a nice event. My grandchildren are having fun and so am I,” the Jefferson County resident said.
Angela, 6, agreed.
“The ride on the little train was a lot of fun,” she said. “We had fun when my brother and I went to see Santa and now Granny said we are going to make s'mores. I like s'mores.”
A short distance away the tap, tap, tap of hammers filled the air in tents housing Santa's Workshop. Home Depot provided the workshop with kits so each child could make a toy. There were kits requiring different skill levels, the easiest ones for the younger children and the ones that required a little more effort and work for the older children.
Emily Reisdorph helped 3-year-old Lacy make her toy.
“We saw the holiday express poster at the Malley Center,” Emily said. “We wanted our family to have a good time and I think the event is more than we expected. It is really cool.”
Of course there was always a line to see Santa.
“It sounded like a fun thing for the family to do so we signed up," Sam Kessler said. "We didn't know what to expect but it is a real nice way to celebrate the season spending the evening with the family. It is especially nice because the kids are having a great time.”
Vincent and Madison Hinman also stopped by to see Santa.
“Santa was nice,” Madison said. “Now we will go to Santa's workshop so Vincent and I can build some toys.”
The Englewood Holiday Express is new this year and is the brainchild of members of the Englewood Parks and Recreation Department. The express activities return to Belleview Park Dec. 15 and 16. Tickets are $10 for adults and children 12 and older. Children under 12 are $7. The tickets include all the express activities. Tickets can be purchased at the Englewood Recreation Center and the Malley Senior Recreation Center. There is a limit of 300 tickets available each night.
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