Sunday, December 22, 2013

We were informed that the village would not be open tonight due to the fact that there was no power in town.  Imagine my surprise when I arrived in town and there were people waiting for the train and there were lights on Sterling Street.
Everyone pulled together to get enough lights on so that the village could be open.

Several local fire departments came and use their trucks to light up the streets.

So we were ready when the train steamed into town.  It was especially beautiful with the ice on everything. 

The bright lights from the fire trucks really lit things up.  It showed the ice really well.

This was our first year to host the North Pole Express but it's a year we'll never forget.  We had nice weather for the first two weekends, then a weekend of snow and bitter cold and finished off with an ice storm and no power.  It can only get better from here.

Well, the ice has melted a little bit and then it snowed.  It's beautiful but it can be a real bummer.  Like the fact that the Village of Ashley has no power.  So the train is coming to town but the village will not be open.  However we would like it if people could come uptown about 5:00 to greet the train and then be there when the train leaves.  Bring a candle with you because it'll be dark.  This is a first year that we'll never forget.  We've had beautiful weather, bitter cold weather and now no power due to ice.  I wonder what next year will bring. 
Due to the weather there will be no morning train today, Sunday, Dec 22, 2013.  The village will be open at 4:00 and the train will arrive at 5:00.  If there are any changes we will post it here.  Please be careful on the roads and we're sorry this has happened.  Mother Nature rules.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Ted Schulz was our "mayor" on the first weekend.  On Friday night he had a little girl approach him and ask if he was Santa.  He said that he was the mayor but that Santa was his younger brother.  On Sunday the same little girl showed up again.  She asked him if Santa was his brother and he replied that "yes, Santa is my younger brother"  Then she indicated that she wanted to whisper in his ear.  She told him what she wanted for Christmas and he said that Santa was right there and she should tell Santa what she wanted.  She replied "I already told him but I want you to remind him".  Gotta love those little believers.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

I hope you're enjoying the snow.  Our elves certainly do.  Come out and join the fun, just be sure to dress warm.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Even Frosty writes a letter to Santa Claus.  Wonder what he asked for.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Today it started snowing when the train came into town.  And it kept snowing.  After the village closed a group of us went to Gus' Eatery for supper.  When we came out this is what the village looked like.  It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

If you've seen the movie "Polar Express" then you'll remember that the train stopped and picked up a boy on the way to the North Pole.  Well the North Pole Express does the same thing.  They picked up this boy on their way to Ashley.  He was waiting on the street in Carland.
The conductor got off the train and talked to him.

And then he decided to ride the train.

Our second weekend of the Village of Ashley's Country Christmas was another success.  I think the crowds were bigger than last weekend.  And, boy, was it cold.  If you come to Ashley be sure to dress as warm as possible.  Hopefully the weather will get a little warmer for the last two weekends. 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Village of Ashley had a very successful first weekend and we're hoping that the next three weekends will be as wonderful.  The weather was cold but then, it is winter in Michigan.  Today there was a little period of mist but it didn't last long.  People had a great time and we would like to invite everyone to come and enjoy our town.  Check out the photo's of this first weekend by clicking on the North Pole tab at the top of the page.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

The North Pole express made it's second trip into Ashley for the Village of Ashley's Country Christmas this morning.  A great time was had by all.  Please click on the North Pole Express tab for more pictures of the fun in Ashley. 

Last night was the first night of Village of Ashley's Country Christmas.  It was a wonderful evening.  Lots of excitement and it wasn't windy so it felt pretty good.  I just had one little problem.  The battery in my camera died just before the train got into town.  Today I'll take two camera's with me and get lots more pictures.  So these are just a taste of what you'll see when you come to Ashley.  The first two pictures are of Santa's workshop.  Don't you just love the fence? 

This is Beth Russell, our decorating person.  She's the one responsible for the present fence. 

Here's our honorary mayor Ted Schulz waiting for the train.


And these last two pictures are of the crowd waiting for the train.  And then my battery died.  So more pictures to come later today.  Come and join us for a wonderful time.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Christmas lights

Last night was our dress rehearsal for the North Pole Express to come to Ashley.  It was very exciting and we learned a lot so we'll be prepared for next weekend.  After the train left I wandered around town and took pictures of some of the Christmas lights.
Here's the platform where Santa will appear.

Here's the Village tree.
And of course there are lights on the 1225.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Tonight the Steam Railroad Institute had their big reveal party for the 1225.  It's up and running.  They went out for about an hour and didn't find any problems.  So the next time the train runs will be on Friday when they go to Ashley for the dress rehearsal for the Country Christmas.  Hope to see a lot of you there.  Feel free to come to Ashley even if you don't ride the train.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Another raffle

The Village of Ashley Country Christmas is having another raffle on Dec. 23 at the Community Center.  You do not need to be present to win.  The first prize is this beautiful oak quilt rack and the second prize is this Amish made child's rocker.  The third prize is a $100.00 gift certificate to Bellingar Parcking Co.

You can get tickets from Roger Keck, Stephanie Densmore, Sandy Slowinski, Erica Denman, Ellen Haynes, Lynn Schulz, Dagget's Grocery and the Ashley Bank.  They're only $2.00 each and you do not need to be present to win.

Sunday, November 17, 2013


Half the fun of visiting a festival is the eating and the Village of Ashley Country Christmas will have lots of choices.  In the Community Center there will be sloppy joes or hot dogs with chips and a drink.  Or you can visit the bakery next door and get some yummy Czech pastries, cookies or candy.  Children can buy a cookie and decorate it to take home with them.  The ice cream shop will have some peppermint ice cream, walking tacos, corn dogs, caramel corn and gourmet caramel apples.  You’ll be able to get popcorn from the Lions Club on the street.  Try some gingerbread or cupcakes at the Gingerbread House.  For a change of pace visit the Hobo Kitchen for soup and bread.  Daggets Grocery and Foote’s Party Store will also be open.  And if you really want to sit down to a traditional Christmas dinner visit Gus’ Eatery.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


Volunteers make our day.  And on Saturday we'd like to see as many volunteers as possible.  We're going to be hanging lights, wreaths and garland.  Many hands make light work.  The first weekend of the Country Christmas is only two weeks away and we need to get this done.  Hope to see you then.

Book signing.

Did you know that there's going to be a real live author coming to the little village of Ashley? On Saturday, Nov 30th Wayne Burkhardt will be in town for a book signing. He has written a book about the 1225 steam engine called "Saga of the 1225" He will be in town that day from 10:00am until 6:00pm. Come and buy a book and have him sign it for you.
Check out his web page

Monday, November 11, 2013

It is less than three weeks until we welcome the North Pole Express into Ashley.  We're getting very excited.  But we don't have to wait that long to get excited and that's because on Nov. 22 there will be a dress rehearsal complete with the 1225.  The train will come into town that night and we'll go through all thing that we'll be doing for real on Nov. 29th.  We would like to invite you to come to town that night to see the train and all of the decorations. 
It takes a lot of volunteers to put on an event like this and we're still looking for you.  If you would like to come and help us we have jobs to fill.  To volunteer just call Erica Denman and she can help you out.  989-289-0110. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Village of Ashley Country Christmas

Neighbors, villages, cities, family and friends,

As many of you are aware, the Steam Railroading Institute (SRI) in Owosso has been offering a North Pole Express excursion to Chesaning since December of 2006. The North Pole Express excursion is loosely based on the “Polar Express “animated motion picture that debuted in 2004. The movie and book of the same title took place Christmas Eve of 1956 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  The steam engine depicted in the film was the image and sounds of the Pere Marquette #1225. The #1225 locomotive is owned by the SRI and is currently in the last stages of a major overhaul.   Unfortunately, the tracks leading from Owosso to Chesaning have been downgraded and the heavy #1225 steam engine is no longer allowed to make the journey to its former stopping point. Therefore, the SRI had to look for an alternative destination for their very successful North Pole Express excursion. Historically speaking, the Village of Ashley sprung up at the junction point of the Ann Arbor and Grand Trunk Western rail lines, lending to historical railroad significance in its own right. The SRI was looking for a small town with railroad history along the old Ann Arbor line. Therefore, the Village of Ashley was one of the first locations that the SRI explored as the new stopping point for the North Pole Express excursion. The SRI approached the Village of Ashley late last winter to determine interest in being the new North Pole Village. After much discussion and deliberation, the Village of Ashley has contracted to be the new North Pole Express excursion destination. 

 Please support our community by stepping onto the train in Owosso for the entire experience or by driving into town via a motor car to visit the exciting Village of Ashley Country Christmas celebration.  For the month of December, Ashley’s downtown will be transformed into a 1940’s Christmas Village.  There are 16 excursions scheduled and more will be added as passenger cars become sold out. Each excursion will include 300 plus passengers, with the majority of them being excited children in their pajamas. The passengers will be in town for about 2 hours before returning to Owosso. Therefore, the planning committee is diligently planning activities, sights, sounds, smells and tastes of Christmas. Some of which include, a large illuminated Christmas tree, entertainment on the street and in the hospitality building, reindeer, children’s games and crafts, snacks and food of all types, an old fashion soda shop, a candy store, a wooden toy store and of course lots of Christmas crafts. Not only will the activities be fun for the children but the village will be a great place to pick up those special Christmas gifts for loved ones. To keep with the spirit and excitement of the “Polar Express” movie the most important activity will be when Santa makes his appearance and gives out the first gift of Christmas to one very lucky boy or girl.

The Community of Ashley and the “Village of Ashley Country Christmas” planning committee proudly announces the beginning of an era.  We are offering our neighbors and friends an opportunity to become involved in the activities, sights, sounds and excitement of Christmas. We have many volunteer and paid jobs that we are trying to fill. If anyone in your community is interested please contact the planning committee through the Village of Ashley Office (989) 847-3050.  We would also appreciate your support by advertising on your web or social media sites and posting flyers in your communities.


Village of Ashley  Country Christmas Planning Committee