The Screws family of Pine Forest will once again shine the Christmas light this year, offering free train rides through the lighted winter wonderland they call the North Pole of Texas beginning Dec. 3.
Kids young and old make the trek into Pine Forest each year to see what the family of Alan and Kim Screws have in store for the holidays.
Screws said he sees it as an opportunity to share his faith along with a bit of holiday spirit to any who ask, to perhaps plant a seed of thought for someone who has never heard the Christmas story.
“If we can plant a seed in them, get them talking out here, that’s great. A lot of kids don’t know anything about Jesus. They have no sense of him, what he’s done for us, and that breaks my heart,” Alan Screws said.
Over the years, the display has grown, much like their family. Alan and Kim, along with their children and all the family friends and community members they can recruit, work together to help run the trains, which start in their front yard. Each trip travels across the “Happy Birthday Jesus” bridge over County Road 3310 to Santa’s Workshop, where the jolly old elf himself is usually on hand to greet children, then winds its way around the elf pond to a live nativity and Bethlehem scene, complete with donkeys and people. While waiting in line on those cool December nights — and the lines grow longer as the year wanes — people are invited to enjoy a cup of warm chocolate, compliments of Kim’s Hot Chocolate Factory.
Of course, no ride through dairy land would be complete without cutouts of cows singing, reading stories to their young and dancing in holiday merriment. Recent additions have included the a North Pole Fire Station and the North Pole Post Office, where youngsters who visit during the day with school and other groups can leave their letters for Santa. The “elves” will get a thrill during breaks from toy-making this year aboard their very own train and a ferris wheel.
“Everyone’s been asking what we’re adding this year. Well, we’ve got an elf train that goes around the front yard in a circle where kids can watch while they wait for their turn on the passenger train,” Alan Screws noted. “We’ve also added a ferris wheel that the elves ride on.”
The Screws family has been working for months, checking out and repairing all of the displays, and putting up and testing lights. They’ve been working especially hard since just before Thanksgiving, pushing to make sure everything is in place and ready for the first group of school children, which arrived this morning. Each year, schools contact the Screws family well in advance to schedule holiday outings as a special treat for elementary students. The display is expected to be shown to about 1,800 school children this year, and thousands will return at night with their families and friends. The display will be open to the public from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday-Sunday, Dec. 3-5, Dec. 10-12 and from Friday-Thursday, Dec. 17-23. Day tours for kids must be scheduled in advance. To avoid longer lines and wait times, Screws recommends visiting early during the first weekends. If the weather’s looking especially inclement, the train rides will be grounded for safety reasons. (To find out if a ride is being canceled, call 903-866-3005 to listen to a recording about weather cancelations.)
In addition to friends, family, churches and other groups, several businesses have also gotten in on the act the last few years so the Screws family doesn’t have to bear the financial burden of hosting the North Pole of Texas. This year’s North Pole of Texas sponsors include New Beginnings Fellowship Baptist Church, Pizza Inn of Sulphur Springs, Farmers Electric Co-op, Allrounder Dairy, City National Bank, Lone Star Milk Producers, Alexander's Tractor Parts, ABC Autoplex, Hopkins County Veterinary Clinic, East Texas Line-X, AG Power, Brandon Gunn Plumbing, Shawn Massey Welding, Dairy Queen of Mount Vernon, S&J Contractors, Kramerica Outdoor Advertising, Randy and Denette Berry, Mosley Machine Shop, Commercial Glass, and Steve and Lori McKinley. Additional friends and groups interested in helping are also welcome. Just leave a message with a contact number on the Screws’ answering machine.
To find the North Pole of Texas from Sulphur Springs, take Interstate 30 east to Weaver, take exit #136 and turn right on FM 269. Continue on FM 269 four miles to Pine Forest. Turn left on County Road 3310 at Betty's Store; look for the North Pole of Texas sign. Travel about 2 1/2 miles on CR 3310. You’ll know you’re there when you begin seeing the glow from the lights which line the road leading up to the location. Park at the dairy barn; usually there’s someone to direct traffic if there’s a big crowd.
From Winnsboro, go north on FM 3019 (the Greenwood Road). Turn left on FM 3105. Turn right on the third oil road (County Road 3385). The North Pole of Texas is 3/4-mile on the left.
For more information about the North Pole of Texas, visit their website at:
|< Prev||Next >|