Saturday, December 6, 2008

Holiday Train

Hundreds of excited children and their families met Santa Claus and his helpers this afternoon at Caltrain, not to receive presents but to give them.

This happy, musical occasion, known as Caltrain's Holiday Train, is a charitable event to collect toys and books for less fortunate children.

The gifts are for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots Program and the Salvation Army who will distribute them.

Both tonight and tomorrow, the train stops at four stations along the Peninsula, a total of nine stations.

Once darkness falls, it is aglow with 40,000 lights and decorations, which the marines help to put on. Two privately-owned historic carriages, the Virginia City and Yosemite Falls, also make up part of the train, whose owners had loaned them for the event and were there for the ride.

Santa Claus was there with a host of helpers including Mrs Claus, Rudolph and Frosty, and musical performances were given by the Masterworks Chorale and the Salvation Army Band.

'I've been working it for a number of years and I wouldn't trade it for the world,' said Santa Claus.

'I think having all these groups together is really nice, the Marine Corps, the Salvation Army and all of the sponsors and the philanthropic owners who are donating the cars - the historic train carriages - '.

'Excuse me, back to business,' he said, turning quickly to a little girl.

It was six-year-old Julia who had come to give Santa Claus a present for himself, a tiny candy cane.

Father Christmas thanked her and chatted to her before turning back to me briefly.

'We have thousands of kids per platform and five stops each time,' he said quickly, before being needed on important Father Christmas business again!

Julia, in a pretty Christmassy dress with red skirt and black top, was on the platform with her mum.

Did she like Santa Claus? She nodded.

And what would she like for Christmas?

'A toy butterfly and a toy flower,' she said.

She was carrying a bag with a toy fluffy white kitten inside. 'We're going to give it to the poor,' she said. Julia had chosen it.

'I liked it and that little kitty needs to make someone happy,' she said.

The pics show: poster advertising the two-day event; Santa Claus and Julia; Masterworks Chorale and the Salvation Army Band performing on part of the train; Marine Corps Reservists John Wong, Gunnery Sergeant (lt) and Jeffrey Davies, Master Sergeant (rt), with Santa Claus.

More reports and pics to follow in next blog.

For an album of pics click here.
For info on Holiday Train for tomorrow, Sunday December 6, click here.

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