Thomas thrills tots again
Thomas the Tank Engine celebrated another popular weekend in Baldwin City as nearly 8,500 people rode the train and enjoyed the various activities at the depot.
The Day Out With Thomas 2005: The Celebration Tour kept the Midland Railway busy Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Tim DeMott, event supervisor, said the first weekend of the event was a success.
"It went awesome," DeMott said. "We had a great time. The kids all enjoyed themselves, and we had a steady crowd all weekend."
All three days Thomas was in town, the sun was shining, which made for a very enjoyable weekend, DeMott said.
"We had beautiful weather for it," DeMott said. "It was a little warm, but it cooperated real nice. There was a slight breeze the whole time. It made it real comfortable for people."
Some of the festivities for the children included an inflatable slide, moon walk, temporary tattoos, magic show and toy trains. Every station saw steady business throughout the three days.
"Everything has its own popularity with each individual kid," DeMott said. "Of course Thomas draws and Sir Topham Hatt always draws. Kids love the temporary tattoos, because it's something different they don't get all of the time. They all stay pretty consistent and have their own advantages."
Even riding the school bus to and from the depot make many children excited.
"It's just a thrill from the moment they get into town," DeMott said. "And it doesn't stop until mom and dad drag them home because they aren't ready to leave yet."
Baldwin High School coach Kit Harris gathered some of his wrestlers to help work the event. Harris said he loves watching the children at Thomas.
"It's a kid-oriented event and those are always fun," Harris said. "But we are in the sun a lot, but it's still fun. The children really enjoy it, so it makes it fun for us."
Every train on Saturday sold out, but a few afternoon trains on Friday and Sunday didn't' sell out. DeMott said he expects the sales for this weekend to be very similar.
The sales for the event have dropped every year, but DeMott hopes this year will change that. DeMott said the sales are about even with the 2003 event and may catch 2002, the first year for the event.
DeMott said many people from Baldwin City showed up throughout the weekend, but he still hopes for more.
"I was very pleased to see the turnout from the Baldwin residents," DeMott said. "We'd still like to see more local people come out and take advantage of this special event for the kids."
The whole event starts over this weekend, beginning at 9 a.m. Friday morning when the first train ride departs. The last train for this year's Thomas experience will leave at 3:45 p.m. Sunday.
DeMott said several trains are sold out for Saturday, so Friday and Sunday would be best for walking up and buying tickets.
The Midland Railway crew has been working at setting up for this weekend's festivities.
"We're getting geared up for this next weekend," DeMott said. "We'll be cleaning Thomas up and cleaning the grounds up for our guests this weekend. We're looking forward to it."
This week's issue of the Baldwin City Signal includes numerous pictures of participants in last week's Thomas the Tank festivities. Copies of the paper are available by calling the Signal at 785-594-7080.