For the third year, two Middletown businessmen have joined forces to bring Santa—by train--to children in the Estates of St. Anne’s in Middletown.
Kevin Castora, owner of Jump on Over, drives his business’s Royal Express train on wheels through the neighborhood with 19 stops for children to get a goodie and hop on board the colorful train for a ride.
Al Lupoli, owner of Lupoli Home Improvement, drives his truck he uses for work behind the train, playing music. His son, Anthony Lupoli, plays Santa. Both dad and son live in the Estates of St. Anne’s on Kirkcaldy Lane.
They made the trip Friday night through the neighborhood. It takes them two and a half hours to travel to all the stops, but they consider it worth it.
“It’s just giving back to the community,” Al Lupoli said. Castora agrees. “We are two local businesses, giving back to the community,” he said.
Anthony Lupoli has been playing Santa for all three years. His father didn’t want to play Santa for a good reason. “All the kids in the neighborhood know me. So, I don’t play Santa,” Lupoli said.
“We got the real Santa,” Castora joked.
It’s also rewarding for Anthony Lupoli to play Santa. It gives him a chance to help his father and “it’s nice to do this for the young kids,” he said.
The train fits 18 kids and a couple of them get on board at each stop. A Delaware state trooper, who lives in the same neighborhood, led the procession for the first time this year.
“It’s nice seeing the kids’ reaction, being so close to Christmas,” Anthony Lupoli said. “It gets them really excited for the holidays. You can definitely see their facial expressions. You can see they are really excited.”
The kids and their parents know about the train ride because it’s announced at the Estates of St. Anne’s group on Facebook. The notice includes a map of the route and times for each stop.
Al Lupoli said the kids love it.
“They are excited. They appreciate it. They look forward to it. The kids get excited,” he said.