DOINews: NPS-NE Region: Getting into the Christmas Spirit Onboard Lowell's Trolley Express

Last edited 09/05/2019

Ranger wearing a Santa hat and leading trolley passengers in a holiday song
National Park Service ranger Joann Marcos leads travelers onboard the Trolley Express at Lowell National Historical Park in a holiday song. Photo by NPS.

Lowell National Historical Park rangers and volunteers recently brought a little holiday magic to eager visitors who boarded the park's Trolley Express, one of the park's operating trolleys decorated for the season. The free ranger-led program was part of the local City of LightsParade and Holiday Celebration, which is held annually on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

The Trolley Express has become so popular that reservations were full within 90 minutes. The ranger staff and volunteers welcomed 224 passengers aboard the Trolley Express over the course of the day. The trolley ride was a festive affair for adults and children alike with everyone encouraged to sing along to holiday music. “Sometimes the parents have more fun with this than the children,” said Phil Lupsiewicz, the park's media and communications manager.

When the trolley made its two stops along the route, Ranger Joann Marcos read Chris Van Allsburg's popular children's book, The Polar Express. Lupsiewicz, who photographed special moments onboard the Trolley Express commented, “The families love that we read The Polar Express on the trolley and the best part is seeing the children's faces when they receive a bell, just like the main character in the novel receives, for believing.”

Throughout the day, families were also encouraged to participate in arts and crafts activities at the Boot Cotton Mills Museum at the park. The city-wide celebration also included live performances, children's activities, special tours, and holiday shopping. In keeping with the national initiative called Small Business Saturday, the Cultural Organization of Lowell provided free shuttle service from the park's visitor center to art gallery and museum gift shops throughout town.

“This tradition is not only about holiday spirit, it's also about local residents getting together for a family-oriented day. These annual events encourage people to visit their local businesses and enjoy local history,” Lupsiewicz added.

The City of Lights activities wrapped up with a festive, sparkling community parade that ran through the center of Lowell where Santa makes an early appearance before Christmas.

By: Lorin Diaz, NPS

Dec. 23, 2013

This story appears in the Dec.20, 2013, edition of InsideNPS.

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