The Polar Express train rides, a beloved holiday tradition, will be greatly missed during 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic
Families all over Central Illinois were waiting to hear whether this event would be happening in some form or fashion this year at the Monticello Railway Museum
It’s news that many families were expecting but still sad to see – the Monticello Railway Museum in Monticello, Illinois has officially canceled its 2020 Polar Express events, along with other annual holiday events like “lunch with Santa on the train.”
Ask anyone who has gone to this event, and they will recount stories of logging on in the middle of the night in the beginning of June to secure their family’s tickets for this beloved holiday experience.
After many months of festivals canceling, museums closing and restrictions on various activities, it still doesn’t make it any easier to read news of another favorite on pause for the COVID-19 pandemic. On October 12, the Monticello Railway Museum posted the following announcement on its Facebook page:
We have updated our website now to reflect that all events, including the Polar Express trains, have been cancelled for 2020. We’re very sorry about this, but the COVID-19 crisis forced our hand.
The MRM goes on to mention that the only event the organization has been able to run during this year has been “Throttle Time”, which allows a participant to actually operate a locomotive in partnership with an engineer. Monticello Railway Museum officials hope to expand this event in the months to come.
We don’t know what is in store for many of our favorite holiday traditions throughout Champaign-Urbana, but as the announcements of cancellations roll in, we know one thing for sure.
Our area has seen nothing short of spectacular innovation on all kinds of levels during 2020 so far and we know that celebrating the winter holidays and favorite Christmas traditions, such as this one, will evolve and be presented in unique ways this year by the organizations we know and love in this community.
(One event we do know that will happen, in Monticello during winter 2020-21: the walk-through winter holiday lights at Allerton Park. Learn more about that event here.)
Know of something special happening this year to celebrate the winter holidays in Champaign-Urbana? Be sure to tell us about it by submitting it as an event here.