KINGSPORT — Santa Train preparations kick into high gear Wednesday as members of the public are given the chance to help mix and pack the more than 15 tons of toys, foodstuffs and other gifts that will be distributed from the train Saturday.
The packing event is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. at the Food City on Eastman Road and is expected to last a couple of hours.
Anyone who wants to participate is asked to preregister at www.beyondourrails.org/rsvp/santatrain.
Food City will provide a celebration dinner with door prizes for all participants following the event.
The Santa Train is sponsored by CSX, Food City, Kids Wish Network and the Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce.
On Saturday, husband-and-wife Keifer and Shawna Thompson, who constitute Thompson Square, will be Santa’s special guests for the 69th annual running of the Santa Train.
Upon the train’s arrival in Kingsport, the duo will perform from a platform also used by Santa’s helpers to toss gifts to the crowd.
The performance is scheduled to begin outside the Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce at 3:08 p.m. The chamber’s building is located at 151 E. Main St. Roads will be blocked off starting around 12:30 p.m. for the Christmas Parade, which starts at 3:30 p.m.
The Santa Train’s 110-mile rail route stretches from Shelby, Ky., to downtown Kingsport, drawing crowds to 14 stops along the way where Santa and his helpers distribute more than 15 tons of toys and other gifts.
Gifts are distributed only when the train is stopped, never while it is in motion — and organizers urge everyone to put safety first and stay back from the railroad tracks.
Items distributed by Santa and his helpers come from donations from across the nation each year from individuals, groups and businesses. This year, Kids Wish Network has contributed $500,000 worth of toys — the largest single donation in train history.
This year’s scheduled stops and arrival and departure times are:
• Shelby — 6:30 a.m. departure
• Marrowbone — 6:45 a.m. arrival, 7 a.m. departure
• Elkhorn City — 7:25 a.m. arrival, 7:45 a.m. departure
• Toms Bottom — 8:05 a.m. arrival, 8:15 a.m. departure
• Haysi — 8:27 a.m. arrival, 8:42 a.m. departure
• Clinchco — 9 a.m. arrival, 9:15 a.m. departure
• Fremont — 9:28 a.m. arrival, 9:53 a.m. departure
• Dante — 10:28 a.m. arrival, 10:48 a.m. departure
• St. Paul — 11:08 a.m. arrival, 11:28 a.m. departure
• Dungannon — 12:13 p.m. arrival, 12:33 p.m. departure
• Fort Blackmore — 12:53 p.m. arrival, 1:08 p.m. departure
• Kermit — 1:48 p.m. arrival, 2:18 p.m. departure
• Waycross — 2:30 p.m. arrival, 2:45 p.m. departure
• Arrive in Kingsport, 3:08 p.m.comments powered by Disqus