Church on the Move has canceled the annual attraction, The Christmas Train, for the 2015 season. The Christmas Train has been a local tradition for decades and hosts over 50,000 guests during the Christmas season.
“We are working hard to update a few facilities,” said Priscilla Shields, partnership director at Church on the Move. “But the only way to complete the improvements is to take a year off.”
An alternative to the Christmas Train has arisen with the Polar Express in Bristow, Oklahoma. Based on the children’s book and animated movie featuring Tom Hanks’ voice, the Polar Express opens tonight.
The Christmas Train was held at the church’s summer camp facility, Dry Gulch, USA. The 1800s-themed camp was founded in 1986 by Pastor Willie George as an “Old West” set for his “Gospel Bill” films. During the Christmas season, Dry Gulch is transformed into a Christmas village with an authentic steam locomotive. Guests riding the train hear the Christmas story and see it come to life.
“The work is primarily focused on the behind-the-scenes projects that would have affected operations during The Christmas Train,” said Shields. “Our goal is to have most of these improvements completed prior to our 2016 summer camp season kicking off.”
Tickets to this attraction usually go on sale in November each year and sell out within minutes after the purchase site opens. The attraction required over 300 volunteers each night.
Church on the Move will be hosting its free Celebrate Christmas concert Dec. 16-20 in the church auditorium. The story-telling concert incorporates theater, music, lighting and special effects reminiscent of a U2 concert. Tickets are available starting Nov. 26.
For more information on the event or to purchase tickets, visit events.churchonthemove.com/celebrate-christmas.