Thomas the Tank Engine coming to Calera

A friendly-faced blue No. 1 engine, easily recognized by kids as Thomas the Tank Engine, will be pulling into Calera’s Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum in April as part of the museum’s 2010 Celebration Tour.

The museum is hosting a “Day out with Thomas” for fans of Thomas and his band of train engine friends, said Marcy Williams, the publicity coordinator for the event.

On April 9-11 and 17-18, kids and parents can take a 25-minute-long ride on a full-size Thomas the Tank Engine, according to a press release. The event will be held from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. each day.

Other activities include storytelling, arts and crafts, live music, and a chance to meet Sir Topham Hatt, nicknamed the “Fat Controller” of Thomas’ train station.

Event organizers are seeking volunteers to help at the information tent, the photo with Thomas tent, the tattoo tent, the Bouncy Bubble inflatable and the Thomas Train tent during the five-day event.

Two shifts are open at the information tent April 11 and April 18, two shifts are open each day of the event at the photo with Thomas tent and two shifts are open each day at the Bouncy Bubble inflatable.

Four shifts are open each day at the Thomas Train table, one shift is open April 10, 11, 17 and 18 at the tattoo table and two shifts are open at the tattoo table April 9.

Volunteers may work each day from 8:30 a.m.-noon, noon-5 p.m. or all day.

To volunteer, call Shirley Thames at 871-2007 or 919-3519 or e-mail alaegis@bellsouth.net.

This will be the 15th annual tour for the blue engine as it travels to more than 45 cities in the United States and Canada, and this year will mark Thomas’ 65th birthday.

Tickets are $18 for ages 2 and up.

To buy tickets or find out more about the “Day out with Thomas,” visit Ticketweb.com/dowt or call 866-468-76730. For more information about the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum, go to Hodrrm.org.