KINGSPORT — Reunions have become a typical part of the Santa Train’s run each year, both on the train and off.
Families gather again at old stomping grounds to bring the next generation to see Santa, often for “the first time.”
And some of the many volunteers who keep the train’s mission on schedule and functioning like a well-oiled clock see each other in person but once a year — as the train makes it 110-mile run between Shelby, Ky., and downtown Kingsport.
This year will bring a special reunion, as rising country music star Kree Harrison returns for a second time as Santa’s special guest.
The runner-up of American Idol’s 12th season will be onboard as the Santa Train makes its 71st annual run on the Saturday before Thanksgiving.
The 23-year-old Texas native has performed country music since she was 3 years old, including four appearances on Rosie O’Donnell’s show “Most Talented Kids,” and found comfort in music to cope with the loss of her parents at a young age.
Co-sponsored by CSX Transportation, the Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce, Food City, and Dignity U Wear, the Santa Train is a history-steeped tradition that each year heralds the Christmas season’s arrival across the region.
Last year more than 18 tons of gifts were distributed by the Santa Train.
Read more in the Wednesday print edition of the Times-News or in the expanded electronic edition.