A very popular holiday attraction in Stillwater has been stopped in its tracks. City officials say they were surprised to hear the Polar Express, which serves thousands in December, canceled its services.
Iowa Pacific Holdings announced it is will no longer operate the Polar Express in Stillwater during the holiday season. The company says it will refocus on its core freight business.
President CEO of Visit Stillwater, Cristy Morrison, says that the announcement came as a surprise, but it wasn’t the first time news had been sprung on them.
"You know it's kind of the same as what happened last year when we found out they were coming,” said Morrison. “It was kind of the last minute. It was in August, September. Normally you plan months in advance for that, for an event like that."
The excursion recreated the popular Christmas film "Polar Express." Children and family members would dress in pajamas, hop aboard the train, then travel on a one-mile round trip which departed from Stillwater’s Santa Fe Depot.
During the months of November and December 40,000 tickets were sold bringing in top revenue for the Stillwater community.
"Thank goodness we were a little forward thinking, and we thought let’s enhance the Polar Express,” said Morrison. “So, we are going to transform an entire city block downtown into Stillwater's winter wonderland."
However, the growth doesn't stop there. Morrison says the city plans to partner with Oklahoma State University's athletic department to help bring in numbers. They will offer specials for people looking to spend time in Stillwater this holiday season.
Visit Stillwater is hopeful to see thousands of people come during the holiday season to check out their new attractions.