Christmas Express making truly local stop; ice sculptures, live music added to lineup

Photo courtesy Louie Pittoli/Great Lakes Live Steamers

Santa Claus waits at the end of the line at Southgate’s Kiwanis Park. Visits with Santa, live music and ice sculptures combine for a holiday atmosphere Friday and Saturday.

Sunday Times Newspapers

SOUTHGATE — It’s “all aboard” time in Southgate’s Kiwanis Park Friday and Saturday when Santa’s Christmas Express Train Run comes to town. This time, Santa’s bringing lots of friends with fun for the whole family.

It’s only the second year of train rides courtesy of Great Lakes Live Steamers, but activities surrounding the tracks are being added that turn Kiwanis Park into a holiday destination.

“We toyed with the idea of calling it Southgate Winterfest,” City Administrator Brandon Fournier said. “We have substantially increased programming, and it’s really coming together.”

This year’s lineup, however, includes notable additions. Fournier said that the Southgate Community Players will present a mini-review of songs featuring the cast of “Annie,” with performances tentatively scheduled for 6 and 7 p.m. inside the Asher School, 14101 Leroy St.

The park itself will be decorated with ice sculptures courtesy of Schoolcraft College.

For the younger crowd, a highlight remains the train ride across the park for some face time with Santa. Great Lakes Live Steamers offers rides on their miniature train track, picking up passengers at the north end of the park for delivery to the south end, where Santa Claus and hot chocolate await. Rides and Santa are available from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

“This is our second one,” said Cary Polaski, president of Great Lakes Live Steamers. “We work real good with the City of Southgate to put it on.”

Kiwanis Park is located at the corner of Trenton Road and Leroy Street. Polaski said there is no set fee for the train ride or Santa visit, and donations are welcome.

For information on year-round train rides, visit or call 734-308-7365.

(James Mitchell can be reached at