By Lindsey Lyons
Make plans to get sidetracked from your holiday shopping when The Trains at NorthPark returns Saturday, Nov. 16 for a seven-week run through Sunday, Jan. 5. Benefiting Ronald McDonald House of Dallas (RMHD) and once again presented by Bank of Texas, The Trains at NorthPark welcomes more than 70,000 visitors to Dallas’ favorite shopping destination each season to revel in the magical display and show their support for the House.
With 1,600-feet of tracks, The Trains at NorthPark features glittering and intricately detailed cityscapes like Dallas, New York, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco set among other highlights like New England’s fall foliage, the Grand Canyon, and Route 66. All throughout are beloved holiday characters and hidden scenes.
The largest miniature train exhibit in Texas will debut in a brand-new space to showcase the more than 700 railcars featuring the corporations, organizations, families and individuals who make the seasonal attraction possible. Since its launch in 1987, The Trains has helped raise more than $13 million for RMHD and has a bigger-than-ever fundraising goal this year to help the House serve an additional 50 percent more families annually.
“We’re already feeling the joy of the season with The Dekelboum Family Foundation Wing, our just-opened expansion that allows us to serve an additional 800 families each year,” said Jill Cumnock, chief executive officer of RMHD. “The last thing we ever want to say is ‘we have no room,’ and, as our largest annual fundraiser, The Trains at NorthPark makes sure we don’t have to while also spreading holiday cheer to our supporters of all ages.”
In 2018, RMHD hosted more than 1,400 families while their children were being treated for critical illnesses and injuries in the Dallas area. Unfortunately, they also had to turn away nearly 800 families because the House was at full capacity. With the 18,000 square-foot addition offering six larger suites for longer-stay families and 24 new guest rooms, RMHD has significantly increased its program access, as well as its operating costs.
Several members of the community have already shown their support, including Lindy Berkley and Jill Harvey, this year’s chairs, and long-time supporter Sandra Estess, who is serving as honorary chair.
Many have already purchased the hundreds of customized railcars, engines and cabooses that will hit the tracks in support of the House. Still available options for 2019 include a standard railcar for $200, a caboose for $250, a special edition cherry red baggage car for $300 or an engine for $350.
Those interested in supporting The Trains at NorthPark by purchasing a railcar, as a sponsor or volunteer, can visit the website thetrainsatnorthpark.com.