Choo! Choo! Spring Lake Christmas Train Village opens

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SPRING LAKE — Children’s noses were pressed against the front windows of the Duggan Memorial Building on Saturday morning as they tried to sneak an early look at one of Spring Lake’s favorite holiday traditions.

Inside, sprawled across half of the first floor room, was the Spring Lake Christmas Train Village  — featuring eight trains, over 75 buildings and an infinite amount of holiday cheer.

The holiday village opened to the public at noon on Saturday, and the lucky 15 children who were first to see the village got a front- row seat to see the trains turned on for the holiday season.

Prior to switching the train village on, its builders and sponsors, Rich Clayton, Tom Clayton and Peter Casagrande, were presented a proclamation from the borough upstairs at the Duggan Building.

The borough was celebrating their business, Clayton’s Limousine Service, for its 100th year in business and its service to the community for building the holiday train village year after year.

Mayor Jennifer Naughton and Spring Lake Business Improvement District [BID] Executive Director Dawn McDonough presented them with the honor.

“We’re so lucky to live in a community like this where people stay,” said Mayor Naughton. “Where we have generations of families, some of whom are in the building right now, that have stayed here for a long time … I really want to congratulate the Claytons on 100 years, it really is extraordinary. Right here in Spring Lake.”

Ms. McDonough said she has visited the train village every year since she was 25, and “watching it transform has been so amazing. Their amount of dedication has been so amazing.”

The village will be open from noon to 5 p.m. until Dec. 31. There will be extended hours until 8 p.m. on Nov. 25 and Dec. 2. The Duggan Memorial Building is located at 313 Washington Ave.  Admission to see the train display is free, however, donations to the Common Ground Grief Center will be accepted.

For more on this story, read The Coast Star—on newsstands Thursday or online in our e-Edition.