All aboard the Polar Express

Gavin Stone |  Daily Journal Will Wright as conductor suggests a kid's ticket to get hot chocolate and other goodies on the Polar Express.

Gavin Stone | daily newspaper

Will Wright as conductor suggests a kid’s ticket to get hot chocolate and other goodies on the Polar Express.

ROCKINGHAM – Downtown Rockingham turned into a fantastic train depot on Thursday evening when the Polar Express passed through with more than 2,000 passengers in tow.

Hundreds of cars, decorated like a fleet of Santa’s sleighs, celebrated the season of giving while showing support for their local businesses. There were Christmas carols at Simply Chic, Elves at Brown Termite and Pest Control, and the Grinch crashed the Elves’ stop at Hudson Brothers Deli.

At the Richmond Community Theater, Santa recorded the children’s last minute Christmas lists – and reminded them to be good on the home stretch before the big day.

The event was put together by a partnership between Hillside Florist, Coldwell Banker, the Chamber of Commerce, Pattan’s Downtown Gille, Remax and others to encourage the community to give a boost to local businesses hit by hits during the pandemic. In addition to the shops, the event was an opportunity to demonstrate downtown improvements, including the refurbished Food King parking lot, the now completed Richmond Community College satellite campus, and of course, admire the dazzling lights and decorations on that line on East Washington Street.

Greg Brown of Brown Termite and Pest Control, dressed in Christmas PJs, said the event was a “great way to brighten up the city center” and “bring the region to life.”

Will Wright with Hillside Florist acted as the conductor for the Express, slapping each child the golden ticket they could use to collect their biscuits, hot cocoa and other goodies at the end of the ride past Pattan’s. This side street was decorated from top to bottom with lights and festive insignia based on the film of the same name “Polar Express”.

“We had a great turnout tonight,” Wright said of the event’s first iteration. “It was a great way to bring joy to everyone at a difficult time.”

Wright, one of the main organizers of the event, thanked the volunteers from the local companies who made the night possible.

Contact Gavin Stone at 910-817-2673 or [email protected] Subscribe to the Richmond County Daily Journal at