Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Riding the American Train Company’s colorful little train comes with three rules:
1) Remain seated
2) Keep your hands inside the car
3) Smile and wave at everyone
Train engineer Jim Harlow finds that third rule to be the easiest one for kids to follow.
This is the second year the American Train Company has been invited to participate in the Flowertown Festival. Harlow feels like they were invited back because last year the train was a big hit among the kids.
“It’s mesmerizing to the little kids,” Harlow said. “Once they see it, they want to ride it.”
The train is built to replicate a 4-4-0 steam engine – and comes with the same looks and sounds. It is the same train the company runs at Mt. Pleasant Towne Centre during the holidays and at certain events throughout the year, as well as at multiple Daniel Island events.
Harlow drives the train, and said last year he did not get much of a break between rides because it was just so popular – once the kids started showing up it was nonstop.
“When people come to these types of events they want to ride the train,” he said. “We could be sitting still and the kids would still get on the train.”
The train will be located at the intersection of S. Main Street and W. 6th S. Street, near the Cummins Memorial Theological Seminary.
The train takes a route through Old Village along the neighborhood houses and flowers that line the street. Each ride is about six to seven minutes long. It is $4 per adult and $4 per child, though any child under 24 months old rides free with a paying adult. The train can carry 18 to 24 adults and children at a time.
The train is equipped with an engine, a coal car and three regular cars.
“I think it was a tremendous success last year as evidenced by the smiles on all the faces of the adults and children alike that rode the train,” Harlow said.
The kids’ entertainment barely begins with the train. Brinkley Entertainment is bringing more rides to the festival, and will be set up at the corner of 6th Street and S. Main Street. The corner is known as Children’s Jubilee. Tickets are $1 each but there are several cost-saving options as well, said manager Bess Brinkley.
“The best buy is our 30-ticket sheet for $20, which is 10 free tickets,” Brinkley said.
Parents ride free on the Super Slide and Merry Go Round with any child under 42 inches tall.
A new attribute to this year’s festival is the Blooming Artists exhibition. This year’s festival will exhibit vendors ages 8 through 18 looking to sell their individually crafted items to the public. The Blooming Artists of the Flowertown Festival, presented by Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, will take place on Saturday during the festibal, across from the Farmer’s Market on 2nd Street.
Children are also invited to participate in the YMCA ChalkFest, also new this year. Children ages 14 years old and younger can participate in a chalk art conest at the Cuthebert Center Tennis Courts on Saturday during the festival, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.