BELMAR, NJ — “The Polar Express” pulled into Belmar earlier this month for a family event featuring the holiday classic movie, as well as lots of cookies, candy canes … and fun.

Children dressed in their pajamas brought their sleeping bags and blankets to the Belmar Community Center on December 13, where they and their adults guests found a spot on the carpet in the large meeting room for a special showing of the movie, starring Toms Hanks.

And the event’s hosts — the volunteers of the Belmar Public Library and Friends of the Belmar Public Library — made sure there was so much more to enjoy.

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“Children were given wristlet bells to ring at a specific time in the movie and also received a golden ticket just like on the movie,” said Sharon Russell-Fowler, president of the library board of trustees.

Based on the book by Chris Van Allsburg, the movie is about the adventures of a young boy who doubts the existence of Santa Claus — until he boards a mysterious train called the Polar Express on Christmas Eve, headed to the North Pole.

For refreshments, there were cookies and chocolate milk with marshmallows, as well as hot cocoa candy canes to stir their beverages. And all youngsters left with Polar Express-related activity pages to remember the special evening.

“Many parents personally thanked us for an enjoyable family event,” Russell-Fowler said. “We are hoping to make this an annual holiday event.”

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