Just 22 days before Christmas, Santa Claus will make his rounds locally in the 22nd year of the Indiana Rail Road's Santa Train.
The company, which turned 25 this year, has scheduled stops in Solsberry, Bloomfield, Linton, Dugger and Jasonville on Dec. 3, during the second run of a three-day tour for the jolly old elf and his helpers.
The schedule for Greene County appearances runs as follows:
* In Solsberry, the train arrives at 8:30 a.m. and the line to see Santa closes at 10 a.m.
* In Bloomfield, the train arrives at 11 a.m. and the line to see Santa closes at noon.
* In Linton, the train arrives at 1:30 p.m. and the line to see Santa closes at 3 p.m.
* In Dugger, the train arrives at 4 p.m. and the line to see Santa closes at 5 p.m.
* In Jasonville, the train arrives at 6 p.m. and the line to see Santa closes at 7 p.m.
Stops are also slated on Friday, Dec. 2 at 3 p.m. in Bargersville; at 6:30 p.m. in Morgantown; and at 8:30 p.m. in Helmsburg.
Illinois visits are slated for Sunday, Dec. 4, with an 11:30 a.m. stop in Newton; a 1:45 p.m. stop in Oblong; and a 3:30 p.m. stop in Palestine.
The Santa Train's final stop this year brings it back to Indiana, with a 6:30 p.m. stop in Sullivan Dec. 4.
Begun in 1989, the volunteer effort brings Yuletide greetings, allowing kids the chance to mingle not only with Santa and Mrs. Claus, but also costumed childhood icons like the Grinch, the Cat in the Hat, Buzz Lightyear, and Spider-Man.
"For me, just seeing the excitement on the kids' faces is the best thing about the Santa Train," said Christopher Rund, the railroad's assistant vice president for corporate relations. "It's not only that they get to see Santa, but it's also a chance for many of them to see a train."
Hauling four passenger cars, the engine's typically festively decorated with wreaths, Christmas lights and snowflakes. Christmas carols and seasonal music, mainly rock and roll, is played over loudspeakers as costumed characters greet the children, distributing
The annual event drew about 300 visitors in Linton last year, though attendance was down to around 100 in Bloomfield as chilly temps and a wintry mix brought snow and rain down.