December 12, 2014

Downtown Naperville Trains

17 trains have arrived in Naperville, but they won’t be clogging up the tracks.

From candy-covered engines to the “Molar Express,” they’re sure to drive the spirit of the season.

“This is our third year of having holiday painted sculptures in the downtown. A few years ago we brought back a very popular downtown tradition and we thought let’s do it at the holidays. So we’ve had snowmen, last year we had gingerbread men, and I think this has been the most fun year yet with our painted trains,” said Katie Wood, with Downtown Naperville Alliance.

Each train is sponsored by a local business that works with the Naperville Alliance to connect them with local artists like Paul Kuhn.

He partnered with RiverWalk Family Dental to paint his train to a theme that might ring a bell.

“We came up with a couple of different ideas and they really wanted something kid friendly, something that the little kiddos would go nuts for and I was thinking okay what would little kids go nuts for and I thought frozen and so I rented the movie and watched it like 100 times,” said Kuhn, Artist of the “Arendelle Express.”

After, several months of work, Kuhn was able to bring the “Arendelle Express” to life.

“I knew the ice was going to be important and it’s really the main star of the train was the ice, so it’s really just layer after layer of spray paint, just a big array of colors and it was like two months of ice building and one month of putting the characters on there,” said Kuhn.

“It’s a unique offering in our downtown. We’re always trying to think of unique fun additions to our downtown to encourage people to shop and dine here, and this isn’t something that they’re going to see in other communities. So this has been a neat, fun enhancement, our kids, families really enjoy coming downtown to see these,” said Wood.

But it’s more than just a treat for the eyes, little ones are invited to hop aboard these trains and go for an imaginary ride. Those a little bit older are encouraged to take a trip online, to cast their vote for their favorite.

Though the winner will receive a prize, for Kuhn, the real reward is in the children’s response.

“It’s not really about winning the contest, but that would be cool, but basically just coming on a weekend day with my parents or grandparents, I’ve shown them and inevitably there will be a little kid come up or mostly little girls and they’ll be like ‘mommy, Elsa!’ and they’ll go nuts for it so it’s pretty awesome,” said Kuhn.


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