Free holiday events at Pioneer Park

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) It was a busy scene at Pioneer Park as the Holiday Town and Holiday Train event opened.

Community members explored the newly decorated park in anticipation of the holiday season.

During the event a number of games, crafts, free drinks and activities were open to the public. The Craft Bazaar, originally expected to be in the centennial center, was set up in the Pioneer Hall and saw the attendance of local artisans.

Pioneer Park even garnered a visit from two very famous individuals hailing from the North Pole -- Mrs. And Mr. Santa Claus.

Along with all the other events, free rides were being offered from Ride Engine #67 at the train station.

Brian Forrest, Train Conductor and Treasurer of the Friends of the Tanana Valley Railroad, was there to explain more. "It started roughly 7 years ago. We started off just with free train rides and Santa and Mrs. Claus would make their appearance. But it's grown. We've added more and more to where the community is joyful that we have such an event going on,” said Forrest.

Forrest explained that there would be two trains running that day: #67, as well as #1, a restored steam locomotive from 1899. As the name suggests, it was the first Yukon territory locomotive in the history of Alaska. This year in 2019 marks its 120th anniversary.

"I think it just brings the kick of the holiday season to light, which is kind of handy in terms of starting off in a warm and welcoming atmosphere. I think it brings a little joy and spirit to the kiddos as well because Santa, Mrs. Claus and their elves take a train trip with them... and there's caroling and a tree lighting ceremony as well,” explained Forrest.

Lathrop’s High School choir, along with The lighting of the Pioneer Park tree at 4 p.m. concluded the event, leaving everyone at the park in the mood for the holidays.

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