Thomas brings in record crowd
Thomas the Tank Engine has once again left Baldwin City, but not before it set record sales and made thousands of children smile.
This year's Thomas experience was not the first time Christian Green, 5 years old, had visited Thomas. Green came with his parents Miguale and Marquita Green from Kansas City, Mo. They have came to see Thomas a few times.
"Our son loves Thomas," Miguale Green said. "His room is decorated in it. He has every book and every video. We come out every year."
Many people drove several hours to see Thomas this year. Mandy Imm brought her son Laike Imm, 2 years old, to Baldwin from Phillipsburg.
"He's a huge Thomas fan," Mandy Imm said. "We drove five hours that makes us big Thomas fans. He loves Thomas."
One little boy came to see Thomas for his birthday. Luke Fields Jr. turned three years old this week, and his parents Luke and Andrea Fields took him to see Thomas for his birthday present.
"He loves Thomas," Andrea Fields said. "We brought him here for his birthday."
Event Supervisor Tim DeMott said the furthest he heard of anyone traveling to Baldwin for Thomas was from Kenya. DeMott said the group was also visiting family in the area.
The entire event, which spanned two weekends, totaled over 16,600 passengers on the train. That number was new high for the Baldwin event.
DeMott said the event was run off very well, especially because of the workers.
"It was phenomenal," DeMott said of the event. "We sold out both Saturday and Sunday completely. We had some all-time high numbers for the passenger numbers. We had great help from all of the groups helping us. Everything went smooth."
This year's event also saw the return of Marty Hahne, Ozark, Mo., as Marty the Magician. Hahne loves performing for children and loves the Thomas event.
"I always tell people working with kids keeps me young," Hahne said. "I love this event. It's fun. I put on six shows a day, so I do 36 shows over the two weekends."
DeMott said he isn't sure if Thomas will return next year or not, because Midland Railway may find another big event to rotate with Thomas.
"It's becoming apparent for both the railroad and the community that it's a profitable fundraiser," DeMott said. "It's necessary for Midland to do a large scale fundraiser and there becoming other events available that we are looking into. We are looking into rotating between those venues and Thomas. The odds are we will do something but there have been no decisions made at this time."
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.