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Dentists help Santa Train grow

Staff Reports
Santa Claus reads Preslie Shea's letter on the Santa Train on Dec. 5 at the Nevada State Railroad Museum.
Brad Coman | Nevada Appeal

Two Gardnerville dentists helped expand the Nevada State Railroad Museum’s annual Santa Train event this year.

“Riding the Santa Train at the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City is a tradition for many families in the area,” said Valley Pediatric Dentistry’s Dr. Todd Gray. “We know how important this event is for so many children and thought the festivities were a perfect environment to interact with families and spread the message of good oral health. We were happy to have handed out over 2,500 toothbrushes to children and were thrilled to be a part of the 2015 Santa Train.”

Gray and Dr. Heather Parsons provided decorations for the train cars and depot, and had helpers on hand for the event’s three weekends to talk to children about good oral health as they handed out free toothbrushes.

The Santa Train celebrated its 27th year with a new online ticketing system.

The dentists encouraged local businesses to help sponsor the event through donations for holiday decorations and supplies that weren’t provided by the museum budget.

Turnout for 2015 exceeded expectations with more than 4,000 visitors.

On Sunday, the museum ran an extra train to accommodate visitors who came late in the day. The 2015 Santa Train had a 26-percent increase in riders compared to last year.

The Friends of the Nevada State Railroad Museum had several raffle prizes, including a sleigh ride in South Lake Tahoe.

There was a Letters to Santa table for children writing letters to Santa and put it in Santa’s mailbox.

The Carson City Railroad Association displayed an HO scale model layout. Volunteers dressed in Victorian Era clothing to greet visitors on the platform and ride in the train to provide guests with a more festive experience.

In the main museum building the Friends of the Nevada State Railroad Museum, a nonprofit, raised money by selling photos of guests with the Inyo, a wood-burning locomotive built in 1875.

“In year’s past, the museum had reached out to local businesses for support of our Santa Train programming,” said Adam Michalski, curator of education for the Nevada State Railroad Museum. “While this is not a new concept, sponsorship is an excellent opportunity for the Nevada State Railroad Museum to enhance the Santa Train experience for our visitors. We look forward to expanding these efforts in the years to come and are excited to partner with our community.”

For more about the Friends of the Nevada State Railroad Museum, visit http://www.nsrm-friends.org