As the pandemic continues across the country, we've seen nearly every Christmas and Holiday event changed in some way to make it safe for the public.  Events have gone virtual, capacities have been limited, plexiglass has been installed to protect Santa from the kids he is taking pictures with, etc.  Now, with the latest nationwide spike of coronavirus cases, we have started to see events completely cancelled.

The latest, and saddest for many, is the cancellation of one of the original Polar Express events.

According to the Believe In Books Literacy Foundation's Facebook page,  for the first time in 26 years, they will not be running their "Journey To The North Pole" event in 2020.

A press release read, in part:

Executive director, A. O. Lucy, is devastated to have delivered this decision but believes it is the right thing to do for the community, visitors, volunteers, and staff.  For the last quarter century, this event has brought thousands of guests and millions of dollars to the north country each year.

Refunds will not be offered to those who have already purchased tickets.  Instead, ticket holders will be given a chance to exchange their 2020 tickets for a running of the event in 2021 or 2022.

In the event, which funds reading programs in New Hampshire's Mount Washington Valley, families ride a special train from North Conway's train station to the North Pole.  At the North Pole, they meet Santa and he tells them the story of the first Christmas gift.  Just like in the book by Chris Van Allsburg and the animated movie starring Tom Hanks, families get hot chocolate and treats during the trip.  And, each child is given a little silver bell.

While hundreds of "Polar Express" events have popped up around the country since the 2004 release of the animated movie, this event really is the original "Polar Express" event.  There has always been a high demand for tickets for the Believe In Books Literacy Foundation event, which first took place in 1995,  Even though they have steadily increased the number of trips to the North Pole, the demand for tickets made running a ticket lottery a necessity.

Hopefully, this pandemic will soon be brought under control so we can see events like this return.