TOPPENISH - All was glitter and glow inside the Toppenish Northern Pacific Depot Wednesday night at a preview of a three-day Toy Train Christmas event the Chamber of Commerce is co-sponsoring with the Toppenish Rail and Steam Museum.
While Christmas trees sparkled brightly, music danced on the air and toy trains rattled merrily over their tracks, outside in the cold, dark night train engineer Roger O'Dell and his brakeman, Jerry Burkholder, readied an engine, flat bed and caboose for a run through the railroad yard to the depot.
The men were intent on giving the visitors a ride with Santa, complete with blowing whistle and waving signal lanterns.
Santa has his own caboose at the end of the rail yard where he welcomed Wednesday night's guests and stands ready to do the same for everyone at the Toy Train Christmas events set for Dec. 3, 10 and 17.
From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on those three days caboose rides, digital pictures with Santa, hot chocolate and cookies and a children's activity area inside the depot will be the order of the day.
There will be an admission fee of $5 for adults and $3 for children 12 and under.
That charge allows unlimited browsing among the museum's railroad memorabilia, the toy trains in every nook and corner and shining Christmas trees.
One tree, with Victorian glass ornaments valued at $30 each, will be the object of a silent auction. Its total value is estimated at $700. Another raffle tree, stuffed with ornaments and railroad toys, will also be one of the prizes awarded Dec. 17.
All of the money realized from the Toy Train Christmas will go to the Toppenish Rail and Steam Museum, which, organizers say, costs about $1,800 a month just to open the doors.
. Frances Potts can be contacted at (509) 837-4500, or e-mail FPotts@eaglenewspapers.com
Santa's train pulls into the Toppenish depot Thursday night, a trip that will be repeated many times during Toy Train Christmas.
Frances Burger of Grandview wasn't shy about whispering her Christmas wishes into Santa's ear when the opportunity presented itself in Santa's workshop. Burger owns the Insurance Lady agency in Toppenish.
Engineer Roger O'Dell gets the ride underway.
This little HO train and village is a contribution of Dennis Lee of Yakima, a railroad buff and collector who has loaned "a ton" of memorabilia to the museum. In the background is a Marx Tinplate Union Pacific M10,000 Streamliner, owned by Roger O'Dell, one of many vintage models that are well worth a closer look.
Taking a snack break, Yolani Maltos was one of the Toppenish Community Court princesses who was on hand to sell raffle tickets. In the background is the toy-laden tree that will be awarded in the Dec. 17 drawing.
The Close Enough singers belted out a Christmas tune for the entertainment of guests Wednesday evening. They are, from left, Frances Burger of Grandview, her husband Richard, and Kristi Culver and Patrick Byrnes, both of Prosser. The singing group entertains frequently at Alexandria Nicole Cellars in Prosser, as well as at various functions around the valley.