On Nov. 17, 2012, I will be boarding The Santa Train, for the fourth consecutive year. I am so honored to be part of this trip again this year. And, I found out today that I will be onboard again this year with Thompson Square. Shawna and Keifer were the celebrity guests last year, and both admitted to me while onboard that it was the first time they ever road a train! They picked an awesome train ride for their first trip.
Today, I received the following press release, telling me the kids will be back on the train this year for their second consecutive year. The press release follows, along with some pictures from our trip last year.
‘Award-winning country music duo Keifer and Shawna Thompson of Thompson Square will return to the Santa Train on Nov. 17 as this year’s celebrity guests.
“We are extremely honored to be asked to ride the Santa Train again for the second straight year,” said Shawna Thompson. “Last year brought many new opportunities for Keifer and me, but interacting with the families along the route and sharing a piece of Christmas with the children is a memory we will never forget.”
“We fell in love with the region and with the people,” continued Keifer on the duo’s decision to return for the Santa Train’s 70th anniversary run. “We’ve been so fortunate over the last couple of years that we wanted to return to Appalachia again this year to help give back.”
Thompson Square is continuing to make its mark as one of country music’s hottest breakthrough acts, as the husband-and-wife duo won “Vocal Duo of the Year” from the Academy of Country Music in April, becoming the first new country music act to break through and win the award in 20 years.
“Thompson Square is one of the most talented up-and-coming duos in country music,” said Tori Kaplan, CSX director of corporate citizenship and special events. “They were a huge hit last year, and we can’t wait to have them back on the Santa Train.”
The group was recently nominated by the Country Music Association for Vocal Duo of the Year and New Artist of the Year awards, to be announced at the 46th Annual CMA Awards on Nov. 1.
Now in its 70th year, the Santa Train runs along a 110-mile route through Appalachia, making 14 stops in Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee. The Santa Train is sponsored by CSX, Dignity U Wear, Food City and the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce.
The Santa Train begins its journey in Pikeville, Ky., and rolls to a final stop in Kingsport, Tenn. Thompson Square, Santa Claus and dozens of volunteers will distribute gifts to families from the surrounding areas at each of the 14 stops.’
There are several places you can go to learn more about our CSX Santa Train, so be sure to visit Team Santa Train, their facebook page, The Santa Train on Pinterist, and follow them on Twitter @TheSantaTrain. In addition to Thompson Square’s website, please check out their facebook page, and be sure to follow them on Twitter @thompsonsquare.
Though I try every year, I really can’t begin to tell you all how awesome a trip on this train is. For many of the children in our coal mining region, who live along this 110-mile rail route, the gifts they get from the Santa Train are often the only Christmas they will have. It’s a very rewarding experience for me to be part of this trip, and listening to Shawna and Kiefer talk about their trip last year, it’s pretty obvious they feel the same way.
For lots more photos, and the story of the 2011 trip on The Santa Train with Thompson Square, click here.
I’ll be back with more news later, and you can be sure you’ll be hearing a lot more about the 2012 Santa Train after our trip on Nov. 17.
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