FRENCH LICK — A popular holiday tradition in southern Indiana won't take place this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Operators of the French Lick Scenic Railway on Tuesday announced on Facebook that their popular "The Polar Express Train Ride" will not take place this year.
"We have all experienced an unprecedented year that has found our world turned upside down," the railway posted. "COVID-19 and the global pandemic has seen us faced with governmental operating restrictions, social distancing, and masking requirements."
Operators said staff at the railway have been working over the past few months to navigate through the various safety requirements to host the holiday-themed train ride that brings in guests from five different states.
Many of the elements of the ride that people have become accustomed to would not be possible this year or would be vastly different, operators said. Dancing with the chefs and elves would not be possible. Personal interactions with the conductor would have to be limited and Santa would not be able to stop and greet each guest while posing for a photo.
"This is just not the show we feel you deserve — the one that many of you have come to know and love," operators wrote.
Anyone with tickets for this year's event should have received an email and will be receiving a letter in the mail with details on the event. Operators are planning to hold the event again in 2021.