The Trains at NorthPark is considered the most elaborate toy train exhibit in Texas and this year the celebrated display will mark its 27th year in Dallas and its 16th year at NorthPark Center. This massive work of moving art wouldn't take shape without the tireless efforts of two volunteers, Jamie Singer and Tia Wynne, co-chairs of The Trains at NorthPark. Singer is a community leader, who often uses her marketing and events consulting experience to shape fundraisers beginning to end. She has chaired many events including the Dallas Museum of Art's Affair of the Art and The Family Place's Partners with various vignettes.
Tia Wynne is a professional real estate agent with Allie Beth Allman and Associates, who also lends her time to plenty of community events. She is the co-chair of the Cattle Baron's Ball for 2015. Visitors to The Trains at NorthPark will again see the trains rolling across 1,600 feet of track on a journey across America as seen through Santa’s workshop with various vignettes. New this year is the Perot Museum, which will be featured in the Dallas cityscape. The attraction rolls through January 4, 2015 and benefits The Ronald McDonald House of Dallas. We wanted to know more about Singer and Wynne and both women were kind enough to answer a few questions:
Dawn Tongish: You are the co-chairs for The Trains at NorthPark. Why is this attraction so popular each year?
Jamie Singer: The Trains at NorthPark is a sign that the holidays are here as well as the spirit of Dallas’ generosity. The children love to come see the trains going through a journey across America. Many of our sponsors have also generously donated various landmarks.
Tia Wynne: The Trains at NorthPark is an event that little children and their families love and look forward to attending because it is part of the spirit of holidays. Children and adults love to see all of the different city scales and local attractions.
DT: The Trains at NorthPark helps to shape holiday memories for so many people. What does it take to make the project happen?
JS: It takes a love and passion from many volunteers every year!! I have personally volunteered when I was in high school. The Trains at NorthPark has become a staple to the Dallas holiday scene.
TW: It takes amazing leadership and organization from the staff at the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas (the nonprofit that organizes the exhibit and benefits from it), the support of our amazing sponsors as well as help from our tremendous volunteers.
DT: Why are each of you so passionate about The Trains at NorthPark? Tia, it seems that you have made this a family affair getting your children in on the project?
TW: I feel extremely blessed to have two healthy young children and can only imagine what families with sick children must go through. The Ronald McDonald House is such a welcoming and warm place for these families in their time of need. My kids have enjoyed going to the exhibit for the past seven years. I hope this year they will begin to have a better understanding of what The Trains at NorthPark really does for our community.
JS: The proceeds go to such a worthy cause, the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas. Yes, I have volunteered since high school. I was a House volunteer when I went to Episcopal School o f Dallas. Then at Southern Methodist University in my nonprofit marketing class, I picked The Trains at Northpark as my class project. During my time at Junior League of Dallas, one of my placements was at the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas. So this is definitely a full circle moment for me to chair The Trains!
DT: Can visitors expect anything new this year?
TW: Tia: Yes, thanks to a generous donor, we have the Perot Museum as a new addition to the Dallas skyline. The exhibit has a Colorado Rocky Mountain theme with trees and four-foot elves hanging from the trees!
JS: We will also be selling plenty of fun new goodies to benefit the House, like conductor hats and cookies, so be sure not to miss them!
DT: Can each of you share your best memory about being involved in The Trains at NorthPark?
JS: Mine is actually a special memory from the House when I was in high school. A boy had a successful brain surgery and was leaving the House. The parents were checking out and told the boy to smile and say goodbye, but he wouldn’t. It wasn’t until his parents looked away that he gave a huge smile and waved goodbye on his own terms. We all just laughed and smiled back!
TW: I have a feeling that this year will be my best memory of the event. It has been a great year!
If you'd like to nominate a local resident for a BubbleLife community profile, contact Dawn Tongish at firstname.lastname@example.org or find her on Twitter at @DawnTongish.