Look Park welcomes holiday visitors

Dec 5 2017

The lights are already on and the trains will be running down the tracks beginning Friday at Look Park in Northampton, which is decked out for the holidays and filled with activities for all ages.

As part of the annual seasonal celebration, visitors can begin their journey through Look Park by stopping into the Garden House to view Santa’s Trains and visit with the jolly ol’ elf Santa and Mrs. Claus. The Garden House also features festively decorated trees to ogle. And, in the great outdoors, brightly  shining lighting displays await holiday light-seekers in the park’s Winter Wonderland.

And, it’s free.

“The Look Park board of trustees have always felt people should not have to pay to visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and we are fortunate to have businesses and community members sponsor the event so it can be a reality for all kids and families who want to see the trains and all of our lights, as well as visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus,” said Greg Malynoski, Look Park’s director of development.

Once again, this year’s three model train layouts are courtesy of the Pioneer Valley Model Railroad Club.

“We are so thankful to these model railroaders, many of whom work on the project throughout the year, for sharing their love of trains with all of our visitors,” Malynoski said.

“There have been some changes in theme to this year’s layouts, which now include carnival, village ocean, and outdoor winter woods scenes,” he added, noting many have moving parts and more lighted trees in their landscapes than ever before.

Each evening features a special guest conductor and station master from the community – including sponsors, local businesses and organizations, and other special individuals such as children’s author Jarrett Krosoczka who now resides in Florence – greeting visitors as they enter the realm of Santa’s Trains.

This year’s presenting sponsors for Santa’s Train are People bank and longtime friends of the park Bob and Marianne Foote.

Santa probably didn’t take a train from the North Pole to Look Park, but he and Mrs. Claus will be waiting to meet with all good little boys and girls at the Garden House turned Victorian-style train station.

In addition to the trains, the Garden House is adorned with a forest of festively decorated trees to the theme of “Children’s Christmas Books.”

Malynoski noted this year’s display of trees has been expanded to 40 thanks to the generosity of area individuals, businesses and organizations.

“I image we will see some trees decorated in the spirit of books like “The Polar Express,” “The Elf on the Shelf,” “The Nutcracker” and plenty others,” he said.

Refreshments will be available for purchase including cookies and hot chocolate for sipping.

Santa’s Trains and trees is open free to the public beginning Friday from 4-8 p.m. through Dec. 23, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

Once leaving the Garden House, visitors can continue their holiday journey around the park to view its Winter Wonderland light display.

“We don’t buy any of the displays. All 50 of them have been designed and built by staff in the Look Park Maintenance Department, who each year continues to update them with brighter LED lights,” Malynoski said.

The Winter Wonderland of Lights display features its newest addition, a princess castle, alongside longtime favorites such as carolers, train, snowman, menorah, nativity scene, Santa and his reindeer, poinsettia, candy canes and more.

“In addition to the traditional, holiday-related displays, several of our scenes are reflective of the wildlife you might see in our park from a beautiful deer to a woodpecker in a tree to a squirrel eating a nut,” Malynoski said.

The lights are on nightly through Jan. 1 from 4-9 p.m.

Those who want to experience some of the holiday lights while riding in the open air can board the Look Park Holiday Express for a hayride around the park. Tickets are $5 and the train departs nightly every 20 minutes beginning at 4:20 p.m. The last departure is at 7:40 p.m.

Over 20,000 visitors – 12,000 of them alone just to see Santa’s Trains – pass through Look Park during the holiday season to enjoy a look at the wonderland of lights and trains, which Malynoski said is made possible by 140 sponsors and 175 volunteers.

While Santa’s Trains and the Winter Wonderland lights are open to the public free of charge, donations are welcome at Santa’s Trains or at the booth when leaving the park.



Nov 2018