Bristow creates new Christmas attraction, interactive tram replaces Polar Express

BRISTOW, Okla.---Some of Green Country's most popular Christmas attractions are changing. 

This year will be the last time for the Christmas Train at Dry Gulch USA, and the Polar Express is now in Stillwater. 

But it's opened the door for new attractions to be built from scratch, like the City of Bristow's new holiday attraction called "Christmas Unwrapped."

The Polar Express used to center around Bristow's historic train depot until a conflict with occupying the rail line forced the attraction to move in July. 

"You know, you think you can plan and get everything down to finite details." said Stephanie Whitener with the Bristow Chamber of Commerce. "And then- "Poof!"

With little time to spare, the City of Bristow sprang into action to create "Christmas Unwrapped" from the ground up.

"It wasn't even a second thought," said Whitener. "It was like "What can we do?" Because we received so many emails and phone calls from all over the region who "What are you going to do now that they're gone" Because we want to come back. It's our family tradition to come to Bristow."

In ten weeks, Whitener and other city leaders wrote the script, recruited volunteers, and raised 72-thousand dollars with almost every penny coming from the community. 

" They're behind us 100-percent," she said. "[The volunteers] show up. They decorate. They do everything I ask them to do."

The new story involves a tram ride through the streets of Bristow, interacting with the quirky characters like elves and snowmen in sets designed to represent the North Pole.

"The mystery is that Santa's reindeers dust has gone missing, and we have to find it to save Christmas." Whitener describes the script. 

At the end of the one-hour ride, presumably with reindeer dust found and Christmas saved, families, and their children can have their pictures taken with Santa, his sleigh, and his real reindeer. 

"That's an experience you can only get here," Whitener says about the photo opportunities. "You can go see [the reindeer] in other places, but you can't take pictures with them or sit in Santa's sleigh anywhere else in Oklahoma. So that's a pretty cool thing."

Showing the holiday spirit is very much alive and well in Green Country. 

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