Frenship families returning for Polar Express

Haley Korab was 6 years old the first time that she boarded the West Texas Polar Express.

Every year since, she and her family have come back for the holiday tradition, listening to the story of “The Polar Express,” watching chefs and conductors and elves dance through the aisles of the train and partaking in some really good hot cocoa and sugar cookies.

Indeed, Haley, now 10, said “drinking the hot chocolate” is the best part of the train ride from Wolfforth to the North Pole and back, completed within an hour and a half.

Her father, Calvin Korab, is an economics teacher at Frenship High School, but he’s also a model train collector.

He has pictures of Haley each year with different conductors, elves and other cast members. The family also has a collection of mugs they received on the train trip.

Korab said he really appreciated that Lubbock was one of the first towns where a Polar Express event started after the movie came out in 2004.

Lubbock’s event started in 2008, and the Korabs have been riding the train every year since.

“It’s a very unique experience that not many places have,” Korab said.

The family may not continue coming for much longer, Korab said, noting that his daughter might soon reach an age where she no longer wishes to take the train ride.

“I’m just glad we’ve been able to do it as long as we have,” Korab said.

Caryn Mulanax, the train supervisor and one of the chefs, said she has been taking the part-time work since the second year of the rides. This is her fourth year.

While the extra money from the evening job is nice, Mulanax said she and many of her family members have kept coming back each year because they love working with the teen cast members and seeing the young passengers’ faces during the ride.

“We do it for the love of it, basically,” she said.

Each night, she said, “I hope it’s the best night of their life.”

Mulanax wants the passengers to really feel the magic the cast and crew try to inject into the show, she said.

Cast members have to love doing the job, she said, because it would be hard to stay in character if they didn’t enjoy it.

Tickets for the West Texas Polar Express are available online at https://www.westtexaspolarexpressride.com, by calling 877-726-7245 or by coming by the Wolfforth train depot at 103 N. Steck Ave.

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