For the last five or six years, Bob and I have volunteered at the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad as Trainman and Elf for the Polar Express runs. We have a great time doing it. I started out as a train elf but found that a little too much to handle and last year switched to the North Pole.
The North Pole is a little less hectic and still a lot of fun. North Pole elves arrive at the "Pole" around 7 PM and sign in. We're out ready to greet the first train by 7:15 as it pulls in from Akron. The train pulls through so all the cars can see the North Pole lights and the elves. Then it backs up and stops and Santa in a John Deere version of the Polar Express train drives down the parallel road and waves to all the kids.
On his way back Santa boards the train and then magically makes his way through all the cars by the time the train has returned to its starting point. Of course each child gets a Polar Express bell and as long as they believe, they can hear it ring.
Meanwhile the elves at the North Pole are welcoming the second train from the Independence station. It does the same procedure as we elves wave and greet the little faces at the windows. And magically, Santa is there for them too!
This year I chose to be a baker again but expanded my costume to a chef's jacket and new red hat. I kind of like the look and someone told me I look like the movie part. If you look closely at the picture, you can see that someone stole a bite of one of my cookies. I walk along the stopped train and try to find the culprit. There are a lot of suspects *smile*.
If you are in the area and would like to volunteer to have some seasonal fun, go to the CVSR website for volunteer information. The North Pole furnishes costumes if you don't want to make your own and you can even be a tree or Rudolph or Frosty if they are available. I'll be looking for you.