This month heralded the Library’s 4th Annual Polar Express Trolley Ride, a night of storytelling and adventure enjoyed by local families. Read more to see photos and highlights.

On December 6 and 7, nearly 150 people of all ages gathered for a popular tradition at the Estes Valley Library. The Library became a magical destination as families gathered for the annual Polar Express Trolley Ride.

After writing special notes to Santa, children and their families enjoyed a read-aloud of the 1985 storybook in the Fireplace Corner, as the Children’s Librarians held up the book for kids to see author Chris Van Allsburg’s beautiful illustrations. For many parents, The Polar Express was a childhood favorite they can now share with their kids who might be hearing it for the first time.

When Santa in the story asks, “Who will receive the first gift of Christmas?”, there are always eager young faces who can’t resist answering aloud, “Me!”

After the story, everyone gets their ticket to ride the Polar Express around town, in the form of an Estes Park trolley. The conductor (played perfectly by Kent Smith) checks his pocket watch and calls out, “All aboard!”

After a ride through the lights of Estes Park singing Christmas carols, the families return to the Library to warm up with hot chocolate and to decorate train cookies. The evening is then complete with a visit to Santa’s workshop just outside the Library, led by costumed elves from the Estes Park Newcomers Club.

The Estes Valley Library invites families to stock up on books and other materials to have on hand throughout holidays.

As Children’s Librarian Melanie Kozlowski notes: “Reading together as a family is the ideal antidote to the frenzy and stress that all too often accompany the holidays. Reading is calming, soothing, and leaves no mess to clean up. At the same time, it exercises the brain, stimulates imagination, and builds vocabulary and background knowledge.”

The Polar Express event, now in its fourth year, was made possible with the generous volunteer assistance of the Estes Park Newcomers Club (a.k.a. Santa’s elves). Thanks also to Nancy Bell for leading the caroling and to Coffee on the Rocks for providing hot cocoa and marshmallows.