For the first time to the public, the Western Elite landfill site, south of Alamo on U.S. 93 opened their annual Polar Express winter attraction.
Company vice-president Scott Seastrand said they have had the event for about three years for company employees and families and customers, but this year decided to open it to the public.
Held Dec. 7, he said the event went well, although the turnout was only about half of what they expected, primarily due to the weather. It was cold, and it had snowed during the day. “We had about 120 [people], and we were hoping for 300.” Most who came were from the Pahranagat Valley and further south.
However, with the snowfall, Seastrand said it was a perfect atmosphere for the event. The main part of the event, he explained, is a train ride, in a real coach car on wheels, pulled by a semi-tractor, that goes around the Western Elite Ranch. The train car was built in 1927 and came from the Heber Creeper train in Heber City, Utah. It held about 50 for each trip.
There were about five holiday scenes from the Polar Express story the train passed by during a 30-minute trip that were lighted and holiday music played in the car.
The two main highlights were a live Santa Claus scene with Santa Claus and elves, and a live nativity scene with animals The music played in the car changed to a religious theme as the train approached the live nativity scene. “The nice part this year,” Seastrand said, “was that the trees that line the trail were snow covered. It added to the whole mystique of the thing.”
At one point, Santa Claus came about the train and says hello to the kids and gives each a little treat.
After the ride, Seastrand said, some decided to go home, but others stayed to enjoy the chili dinner at Santa’s Village with cornbread, and hot chocolate, and a big bonfire, too.
There were also hayrides and horse drawn carriage rides.
“The important thing to us,” he said,” was that we loved being able to put on an event that was completely free of charge, and the kids will probably never forget it.”