Union Democrat staff

R ailtown 1897 State Historic Park is looking for interested volunteers to help support The Polar Express train rides this holiday season.

The staff and volunteers at Railtown go to great lengths to recreate the holiday experience depicted in the children’s book “The Polar Express,” written by Chris Van Allsburg, stated a press release. The experience includes keepsake souvenir tickets, hot cocoa, holiday cookies, Santa Claus sightings and the coveted silver bells, the first gift of Christmas for those who still believe in Santa Claus, stated the press release.

Interested adult volunteers are encouraged to attend one of two Volunteer Open House events, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays Sept. 23 and Sept. 30 at the park.

No previous experience is necessary, and training will be provided. Volunteers will conduct a number of activities including welcoming greeters, monitoring lines, pouring and serving cocoa, hospitality support, narrating stories and more (depending on skills and areas of interest).

Complimentary refreshments will be provided at the Open House events, and potential volunteers will have the opportunity to talk to the leads of the program, who will answer questions and provide additional insight.

More than 8,000 guests are expected to take part in this year’s rides, which will be held on Nov. 25 and 26, and Dec. 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16 and 17. Departure times are at 4:30, 6 and 7:30 p.m.

Tickets cost $50 per person for coach seating, $200 for a table for four in open-air seating, and $70 per person for first-class seating. An addition $6 per ticket service fee is applied at the time of purchase. Children 2 and younger are free but must be seated in an adult’s lap.

Tickets go on sale Oct. 12 and are available online only at www.railtown1897.org.

Interested volunteers can download a volunteer application at www.railtown1897.org, or call (209) 984-4408 for more information.