Kiwanis Jingle Bell Express puts the holiday spirit in all

By Beth A. Birmingham | Dec 08, 2013
Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham McKenna Stinson, 2, of Owls Head stares out into the darkness from the Kiwanis Jingle Bell Express as she anticipates seeing Santa Dec. 6.

Rockland — Hearts and minds were filled with the spirit of the holiday following the fourth annual Jingle Bell Express sponsored by Rockland Kiwanis Dec. 6 and 7.

The two-day, five-trip event took believers of all ages from Rockland's Maine Eastern Railroad to visit Santa, Mrs. Claus and their team of elves at the North Pole.

The trip included a view of Santa's workshop, holiday stories and carols along the way, and each child received a commemorative bell to remember their journey. Cookies and hot cocoa awaited the believers upon their return.

More than 100 volunteers team together to produce the event, according to Gordon Page, Kiwanis Club member. The four-car trains were sold out and filled with young believers wearing their pajamas and eagerly awaiting a visit from the jolly bearded man in red.

The purpose of the Jingle Bell Express is to provide a unique experience and create memories, according to committee co-chair Margie Kinney in a press release.

While the local service club retains a portion of the ticket revenue for their charitable giving efforts, the remains of the proceeds go to cover the cost of the train's operation. The use of the North Pole locations is donated by the Thomaston Historical Society.

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at bbirmingham@courierpublicationsllc.com.

Santa, Mrs. Claus and their team of elves greet boys and girls of all ages on the Kiwanis Jingle Bell Express Dec. 6 as it pulls into the North Pole. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Lucky ticket-holders wait to have their tickets punched by train hand Bill Packard aboard the Kiwanis Jingle Bell Express Dec. 6. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Kevin Davis, 3, of Rockland follows along as a story is read to the lucky riders of the Kiwanis Jingle Bell Express Dec. 6. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Santa greets the believers aboard the Kiwanis Jingle Bell Express Dec. 6. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Santa and Mrs. Claus take time to pose with four-month-old Blake, Susan, and Jack Page, 2, of South Thomaston during one of the five Jingle Bell Express ventures sponsored by the Rockland Kiwanis Dec. 6 and Dec. 7. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Kiwanian Sumner Kinney entertains believers with a story aboard the annual Jingle Bell Express Dec. 6. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Believers of all ages await the arrival of Santa Claus aboard the annual Kiwanis Jingle Bell Express Dec. 6. Getting them excited is Kiwanian Gordon Page Sr. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Finishing off their ride on the Jingle Bell Express, believers enjoy cookies and hot chocolate provided by the Rockland Kiwanis. Five trips took lucky ticket-holders to the North Pole Dec. 6 and Dec. 7. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Five-year-old Tenzin Gary of Rockland is at the head of the line to get on the Jingle Bell Express Dec. 6. The two-day, five-trip annual event, sponsored by the Rockland Kiwanis, drew believers — both young and old — from all over. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Lucky ticket-holders exit the Jingle Bell Express after their visit to the North Pole Dec. 6. Assisting them off the train are Kiwanian Gordon Page and his wife, Janet. This was the fourth year the event was sponsored by the Rockland Kiwanis. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Isabelle Fransen, 3, and Caleb Moody, 8, of Hampden anxiously await a visit to the North Pole via the annual Kiwanis Jingle Bell Express Dec. 6. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Josh Ross, 6-month-old Ellie Mae, and Melony Cushman pose for a picture before getting a visit from Santa Claus aboard the annual Kiwanis Jingle Bell Express Dec. 6. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Logan Brow, 4, Izabella Montgomery, 3, and Kayden Knight, 5, hold their tickets to the Kiwanis Jingle Bell Express Dec. 6. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
The Simmons family of Friendship enjoys a moment on the Jingle Bell Express on their way to the North Pole Dec. 6, compliments of the Rockland Kiwanis annual event. Pictured are Samantha, Garrett, 2, Wyatt, 5, and Scott. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Ready to board the Kiwanis Jingle Bell Express on Dec. 6 in Rockland are Danielle Demeritt, C.J. Cushman, 5, Zach Andreoni, 6, and Brianna Andreoni. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Enjoying a moment on this year's Kiwanis Jingle Bell Express prior to arriving at the North Pole are mom Shannon, Rachel, 4, and grandfather Sumner Kinney. This was the fourth year the Rockland Kiwanis sponsored the event. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Comments (8)
Posted by: Gordon Page | Dec 09, 2013 19:25

Thanks, Mary McKeever!  Over 150 volunteers worked very hard to put this event together.  It's a winner for the community!

 



Posted by: Margaret McCrea | Dec 09, 2013 15:46

Kudos to the Kiwanis Club for continuing to run this very magical event..  It brings tears of joy whenever I see all the happy believers.....even those with double chins:)

 



Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Dec 09, 2013 15:33

Great pictures by Beth Birmingham! And as an aside, Gordon Page also did a wonderful job in this wonderful endeavor. I wish this was around when my twins were small, but now at 59 years young I think they would not want to ride Santa's express ,but my Great-Grandchildren might.

Mickey McKeever



Posted by: Sumner Kinney | Dec 09, 2013 15:08

Thank you to those of you who have positive comments.  I do wish that someone had not sabotaged the actual picture of me.  They put in a double chin! 

I was just a single pretty face in a project that required hundreds of man hours from many many people.  We had great fun doing it as did the elves and road guards at the North Pole.  Even those that serve cookies and cocoa had a blast. 

 

 



Posted by: Shannon Kinney | Dec 09, 2013 12:50

We had such a great time!!



Posted by: Lawrence Butler | Dec 09, 2013 11:17

Wonderful mid-Coast tradition!  Well done, Sumner and the Kiwanisites!  And thank you to Village Soup for the excellent photos of happy families.



Posted by: RUTH ROWLING MAXFIELD | Dec 09, 2013 10:01

What a wonderful thing!!

 



Posted by: Valerie Wass | Dec 09, 2013 06:20

Sumner Kinney did an excellent job!  Totally enjoyed this year's Jingle Bell Express!  Thank you to the Kiwanis and everyone who put this together!  Such a treat for the young and the young at heart!



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Staff Profile

Beth Birmingham
Staff Reporter
594-4401 ext. 125
Email Me

Beth rejoined Courier Publications' news staff in February 2013. She previously worked at The Courier-Gazette from 1981 to 1990.

Her coverage area includes Warren, Union, Friendship, Waldoboro, Washington, and Thomaston and RSU40.

Beth has a passion for photography, and a degree from the University of Maine at Augusta, in affiliation with the Maine Photographic Workshop in Rockport.

Aside from photography, Beth enjoys running and walks along the waterfront, as well as other outdoor activities. She has a daughter, Claire, who is 13.

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