SPARTA, NJ - While Santa usually arrives in a sleigh to give toys, on Saturday Santa's train will be arriving in Sparta to collect toys. For the first time the Operation Toy Train will be stopping in Sparta to pickup donations made to Toys for Tots.
Santa, U.S. Marines in uniform and volunteers will be arriving at the newly refurbished Sparta Train Station around 3:45 p.m. In addition to collecting toy donations, several activities have been planned including a Hoops for Troops contest at the Sparta PAL and other family friendly game. They hope to have Christmas caroling.
"We have the final opportunity to contribute to this cause and donate as many toys as possible to make this a very successful year for the campaign," Train Creative Director Katelyn Leondi.
The Operation Toy Train begins its route in Bergen County stopping in several locations throughout the day on Saturday. Each of the towns where the train stops welcomes the train with a celebration surrounding the toy donation.
This year the Sparta train station has been added to the route and is the last stop of the day. By the time the train pulls into the Sparta station it is expected to be loaded with thousands of toys that will be offloaded onto trucks destined for Picatinny Arsenal.
The train's arrival will be a part of a free community event at the train station that will include participation by local police and fire departments, Sussex County Sheriff's department, food trucks. The model train display will also be available for participants to enjoy.
Donations can also be made at the Sparta VFW's Toys for Tots collection station.