Monday, December 19, 2016

Santa's Village Needs a Train

Click for a panorama

Richardson's Santa's Village is an annual holiday tradition for families. It's a tiny town of holiday buildings offering children fun activities and a community stage offering the whole family live performances of song and dance. But there's something missing. Click on the photo above for a 360 degree panorama. Look around and see if you can tell what's missing.


If you guessed "There's no train" give yourself a candy cane. That's an omission that can be filled in time for the opening of Santa's Village in 2017 if the City of Richardson acts now. It just so happens that there's a holiday train that's been a community favorite for years and years that needs a new home.
Every night between Thanksgiving and New Years, Joel Occhiuzzo has operated the Holiday Express Riding Train in his backyard, providing wonderful holiday memories for families in the Richardson area for nearly a generation. He never charged for tickets, and his wife Bebe always opened their warm home to visitors – even baking homemade cookies for everyone. The Occhiuzzos are exemplary role models for our community. Unfortunately, the time has come for Joel to hang up his conductor’s hat, and find a new home for the Holiday Express.
Visit the website of Friends of the Holiday Express to learn more. The mission of the new group is to acquire and operate the train itself, but I am confident that they would welcome interest from the City of Richardson to acquire the train for Santa's Village. So, do what you can to support the train — either by offering help to the new organization directly or by contacting the City and asking that it acquire the train for Santa's Village. Santa really does need a train.

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