by BARBARA RYAN
There’s a showdown coming to St. Marys, Georgia, on Feburary 1 and 8 as the good boys defend their payload of gold from the bad guys awaiting in ambush.
It all happens on the Wild West Express, the third in a series of St. Marys Express excursions that have been bringing an influx of tourism to St. Marys.
Before passengers even board the train at Theatre by the Trax, they will be into high adventure: exploring an authentic Indian village and trading post and watching demonstrations of Native American dancing, music, and craftsmanship. Blacksmithing, whipcracking, cooking, and other scenes from pioneer life will entertain audiences before and after the train ride. According to Entertainment Director Barbara Ryan, the entire Wild West Express will be interactive.
“We’ve found that our passengers love to be a part of all the excitement,” Ryan said. “Period-dressed characters will engage them on many levels. We have entertainers throughout all three open-air rail cars. Some of our cowboys performing in the shootout (with blanks, of course) are champion sharpshooters who have won competitions all over the country.”
The showdown occurs at the train ride’s midway point where the locomotive reverses direction.
Ryan went on to say that the ride itself makes for a great outing because of its scenic trail through woodlands and marshlands.
“It feels like you’ve really left the area as you go back in time,” Ryan said. “Everybody yearns for simpler times of yesteryear. The St. Marys Express is a nostalgic experience for some, and a novelty for many who have never ridden a train. But for everyone, being on a train is simply a time to relax and just live in the moment.”
Trains depart from Theatre by the Trax, 1000 Osborne Street in St. Marys at 10 am, noon, 2 pm, and 4 pm each of the Saturdays. Tickets must be purchased at www.stmarysrailroad.com, or by calling 912-200-5235.
Ryan advised early bookings for anyone interested in the Wild West Express because previous excursions have sold out several weeks before event date.
The St. Marys Express was created from an alliance between St. Marys Railroad, St. Marys Little Theatre, and Theatre by the Trax. The 2014 schedule includes the Wild West Express, Mardi Gras Express, Peter Cottontail Express, America’s Heroes Express, America’s Birthday Express, and another autumn and Christmas adventure, with a ‘Pirates Alive Express’ on the drawing board as well.