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.
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, the Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce and Dignity U Wear.
On Saturday, husband-and-wife Keifer and Shawna Thompson, who constitute Thompson Square, will be Santa’s special guests for the 70th annual running of the Santa Train.
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.