Archive for Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Thomas rumbles back to Baldwin

July 30, 2003

It's not too late to get tickets for a ride on Thomas.

Tickets are still available for this weekend's Day Out With Thomas at Midland Railway featuring Thomas the Tank Engine.

For the second year in a row, the popular children's book and public television show character -- complete with his trademark smiley face -- will be at Midland Friday through Sunday as well as Aug. 8-10.

Day Out With Thomas is geared for children ages 2 to 6 years old. It will feature 25-minute train rides throughout the day with Thomas, a full-size, 17-ton, 25-foot-long replica, leading the excursions. There are 12 train rides a day, starting at 9 a.m. and running every 45 minutes.

The Midland depot area and parking lot will also house many other Thomas activities and events, he said, including storytelling, coloring, live music, clowns and temporary tattooing.

Concessions and Thomas merchandise will also be available.

Tim DeMott, event supervisor, said about half of the Thomas tickets have been sold for both weekends. People from 20 states, as far away as Rhode Island, Wyoming and Louisiana, have purchased tickets for the train ride.

Tickets are needed for the train rides only. DeMott said the Saturday train rides are filling up quickly. Other Day Out With Thomas events are open to the public. Tickets are $16 per person, including the handling fee, and can be ordered by calling (866) 468-7630 or by going online to www.ticketweb.com.

"There will also be plenty of tickets available at the gate," he said.

Parking for the event will be at the Baldwin High School parking lot. Shuttles will take people to and from the depot.

Those who have tickets to ride Thomas, he said, are encouraged to arrive one hour before the departure time. He said those who want to participate in activities after riding Thomas should plan to spend at least half of the day at the depot.

"The average Day Out With Thomas is about four hours," he said.

There are some new attractions this year, DeMott said. A misting tent has been added to accompany additional tents added to provide shade. An air-conditioned first aid and baby care area has also been added.

"We want to help people cool off while waiting for the train," he said.

The merchandise tent is larger this year, he said, complete with an increase in the inventory.

"By the larger size, it won't be as crowded or hot," he said.

Even though the depot area will be busy the next couple of weekends, DeMott said, Baldwin shouldn't be affected much.

"With the schedule of train rides, people are only in town for an average of four hours," he said. "There should never be more than an additional six to seven hundred people in town at a time."

He said Day Out With Thomas should prove to be a popular event with the children again.

"Kids just like trains," he said. "This is a fun activity kids can relate to."

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