Eagles hosts Polar Express Experience

Local children are invited to get cozy in their pjs and "climb on board" for a trip to the North Pole with the Polar Express Experience hosted by the Eagles Club.

The experience will include a screening of the Christmas film "The Polar Express," hot chocolate to drink, goodie bags with treats to enjoy during the movie, and a special visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus. There will also be keepsakes for everyone to take home, like a special train ticket. Children are encouraged (but not required) to wear pajamas and bring their favorite pillows and blankets to be cozy while watching the film.

The idea for the special event came from the event coordinator and Sweetwater #2350 Fraternal Order of Eagles Auxiliary Treasurer Sarina McCord. In the past, she took her children to a Polar Express event on a train in Arizona, which was a big hit.

"They enjoyed it so much that I thought, why don't we do something here for the kids?" McCord explained.

Even without a literal train to ride on, McCord wanted to be able to share the story with children and find ways to make it an interactive, immersive experience. She brought up the idea at one of the joint meetings for the Eagles, and everyone was on board.

"We're always looking for ways to involve the community in things and just make people more aware of what Eagles is about and what we do," McCord said.

What the Eagles is about is giving back, according to McCord. The experience itself is a way to give back to the community by providing a fun and inexpensive Christmas event for the public.

"It's just a way to have the kids have another fun thing to do that hopefully doesn't cost them very much," McCord explained.

She pointed out that going to see a movie can be expensive, and the event includes not only the film but treats, goodie bags and keepsakes.

"You can't do that for $5 anywhere else," she said.

Tickets for the event are $5 per child. The Eagles Club also asks that at least one adult, or up to two adults, accompany children that come, but there is no charge for the adults and there will be plenty of hot chocolate for them to enjoy as well.

The money brought in by the event will also be used to help support the Eagles Club in their efforts to give back to the community and donate to good causes.

"We have all different funds," McCord explained. "We have charities, state charities, that we are required to donate to each year, being a fraternal organization. Also each year the Madam President and the Aeries President pick a charity to donate to. So we do try to help raise money for various charities because that's what we're all about."

Last year the Eagles chose to donate money to the School Resource Officer (SRO), since they especially like to give to causes that benefit children. They also do projects like passing out meals for Thanksgiving.

While the Eagles Club is largely supported by donations, they also make sure that any money they do bring in from events, like the Polar Express Experience, goes right back into their funds and projects.

One project the club is currently working on is making repairs at the local hall, which had a large leak in the roof.

"We just had the roof repaired, so now we're looking at fixing the hall back up," McCord said, explaining they'll still have to make purchases like replacing ceiling tiles.

Even fixing the hall is helpful to the community, since the hall can be rented for events as long as an Eagles member is present. It's one of the few places in town that can be used for events with larger crowds. The hall has been used for everything from baby showers to celebrations of life to fundraising events like a recent painting party.

"The hall is used a lot and it's a very minimal price to rent, so that's why we want to kind of fix it back up," McCord said.

The hall will also be the location of the Polar Express Experience, and the Eagles and other community members have already been coming together to make the event happen. McCord expressed her gratitude for everyone who has donated both items and their time to make the event a success.

"The hope is to have this be an annual event," McCord added, pointing out that she hopes the event this year has a good turnout and that word will spread so it can become a regular Christmas tradition.

"It's something for the children that we think they'll enjoy, and a way for parents to have a nice night with their kids," she said.

The Polar Express Experience will be from 3-6 p.m. on Sunday, December 17, and is hosted by the Eagles at 88 N 2nd E Street in Green River. Tickets are limited and advanced purchase is recommended. Tickets can be purchased by stopping by the Eagles Club during business hours. Will call tickets are also available and can be paid for through PayPal or Venmo. Those who wish to purchase will call tickets to be picked up at the event can email eagles2350aux@gmail.com for more information.


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