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Children board the 'Polar Express'
polar express car 2019
Children take a ride on the “Polar Express,” Saturday at the Great Bend Public Library. - photo by BY SUSAN THACKER

Something magical was going on Saturday at the Great Bend Public Library.

Approximately 80 children and their parents arrived with golden tickets to the “Polar Express,” which would take them to the North Pole. As they exited the library elevator to the basement meeting room, Head of Marketing Michael Adamyk met them wearing a train conductor’s uniform and carrying a lantern in the darkened hallway.

“Welcome to the Polar Express,” Adamyk said. “Are you ready to take a ride?”

The lights were also dimmed in the meeting room, where a three-dimensional Polar Express engine was on display. The seating was arranged in a long rectangle to represent a car on a passenger train.

Children registered in advance to attend Saturday’s Polar Express Party, and they were invited to wear their pajamas. A golden ticket was required to board the train, but Adamyk said he had a few extras for those who needed one.

“The Polar Express" is the title of a children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg about a young boy who embarks on a magical adventure to the North Pole on Christmas Eve, riding on the Polar Express. On his journey, he learns about friendship, bravery and the spirit of Christmas.

The book was made into a computer-animated motion picture in 2004, and the children would be watching the movie over the next 70 minutes. Great Bend Children’s Librarian Amy Mayhill explained that they would not be passive participants, because this would be an interactive experience.

“Please have your tickets ready,” Mayhill said. Adamyk would return to punch those tickets, and children would experience some of the things from the movie, with faux snow falling, mist from a waterfall hitting them, and cheering for Billy, the lonely boy, as he runs to catch the train.

During the morning there would be refreshments, crafts and photo opportunities at the North Pole.

Ugly Sweater Day

The public is invited to celebrate Ugly Sweater Day at the Great Bend Public Library on Friday, Dec. 20. Wear an ugly sweater to the library for a chance to win a prize. Refreshments will be served and a prize drawing will be held at 4:30 p.m. For more event information, visit the library’s Facebook page or its website,