B y Dan King

One of the holiday season’s most popular Whitehall traditions will take place this Sunday.

The Marine Corps Toys for Tots Train will roll into the Amtrak station at 10:40 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 6, in front of what will most likely be a packed crowd.

“We want as many people as we can get in that parking lot when they get here,” event organizer Jim LaFayette told a crowd on Veterans Day.

Marines, as well as Santa and Mrs. Claus, will get off the train with bags full of toys and coats for kids, as well as some cookies to give away, in what is a highlight of the holiday season for many in the community.

Toys for Tots train

Santa greets a crowd in a previous year.

“All are welcome to greet the train and join in the festivities,” LaFayette said. “There will be giveaways and of course Santa and Mrs. Claus will be available to greet the children large and small. Whitehall has been a very supportive participant in the Toys for Tots Train.”

Adding to the festive mood, there will be volunteers playing holiday music on various different instruments. Familiar tunes such as “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer,” “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” and “Jingle Bells,” will ring through the air.

When the train leaves, there will be toys ready for pickup at the Whitehall Volunteer Fire Co., for those who preregistered their children. Santa’s elves will be working hard behind the scenes to get the bags ready. They start their work before the train even gets there, to make sure the toys are ready on time.

The weather forecast for Dec. 6 is 42 degrees, partly cloudy and a chance of rain. That would be much more favorable than last year when temperatures were in the 20s.

Following its stop in Whitehall, the Toys for Tots train will make its way to Port Henry at 12:15 p.m., Port Kent at 2 p.m. and Rouses Point 3:30 p.m.
Prior to Whitehall, the train will start in Rensselaer and make a stop in Saratoga at 8:55 a.m.

For information on the event, call American Legion Post 83 at 518-499-2482.

Capital Region Toys for Tots can also be found on Facebook and they regularly post information there.

Donations of new unwrapped toys may be left at American Legion Post 83. Cash is always accepted. Legion members will be shopping Friday, Dec. 4 for toys to supplement what they get from the train. At press time 200 local kids were registered to receive Toys for Tots.

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