By Dena Burroughs
Hundreds of El Monteans welcomed the Metrolink’s Holiday Toy Express on December 9 as it stopped with its 50,000 twinkling lights, live musical performances, and Santa and his friends.
The event has become one of the best attended in the city, being that this is already the Holiday Toy Express’ 16th year of operation. The festive train makes 41 stops in six counties to, besides entertaining children everywhere, collect toys for the ABC7 “Spark of Love Toy Drive” and the Southland Firefighters.
As the residents waited for the arrival of the 450-ton decorated train, the El Monte Chamber of Commerce presented the children with crayons and similar gifts, and on the other side of the station the City offered free cookies and drinks to everyone. It was a spirited gathering with plenty of young and old wearing Santa hats, some of them singing along with the El Monte Choir as it serenaded them with Christmas carols.
The train arrived promptly at 6:45 p.m. having been already to the Burbank and Glendale stations. Members of the El Monte City Council hopped on top to greet the residents and wish them a happy holiday season. Eventually, elves, snowmen, and Santa and his lady came out to sing and dance and remind everyone that the season is also about sharing and that the firefighters were there collecting any toys they may want to donate. Then, it was time for the Holiday Toy Express to move on to its next stop – the City of Baldwin Park.
The evening was one of those lovely events that only happen around Christmas, when everyone is equalized by a common love for jingles, sparkly lights, and Papa Noel… and only in those lucky cities that happen to host a train station.
The Metrolink’s Holiday Toy Express schedule continues through December 23 with stops in several cities in Orange County, including Fullerton, Irvine, Anaheim, and Buena Park. For information visit www.metrolinktrains.com.
Lots of El Monteans enjoy the Holiday Toy Express show. -Photo by Dena Burroughs