By MARINA WATERS
This year, the Town of Jonesborough is encouraging those attending the new Christmas event, Breakfast with Santa, to get their pajamas on and board the Polar Express.
Breakfast with Santa will be held at the Chuckey Depot Museum to go along with the theme from the kid’s Christmas book and movie, “The Polar Express.” For the Town of Jonesborough, the depot, along with the Christmas movie theme, are the perfect pair for the new event.
“People sort of associate Christmas and trains together naturally,” said Rachel Conger, the Jonesborough Parks and Recreation director. “So we thought, ‘We do participate in all of the events the town puts on. We make sure the Chuckey Depot is involved in those, but what other way can we get kids specifically down to the Depot?’ We try to find new ways to get people down to the depot and to bring more awareness to it.
“We found the best thing for us to do is to always get it involved in our regular events downtown. The Chuckey Depot is involved in Christmas in Olde Jonesborough, we’ve got extended hours during those events and we’ve got other things that are going on down there. This was just another fun addition.”
The breakfast, which offers tickets for $15, will include a meal provided by Chick-Fil-A on Market Street in Johnson City and of course, time with the big guy in the red suit. Santa will also read excerpts from The Polar Express.
The proceeds from the event will benefit the Chuckey Depot and the event will also be held with three seatings at 8, 9 and 10 a.m. to accommodate especially for this family centered event.
“We’ve done the dining car fundraiser where people come and eat lunch or dinner in the dinning car. We tried once to do a lunch with kids, which worked out really well, but kids eat very, very quickly,” Conger said with a chuckle. “So if you’re in a different setting than your usual home meal setting, my experience has been that they’re not going to eat quite as much because they’re excited about what’s going on. So we thought, ‘We can only fit about 24 people at each seating,’ and we wanted to be able to accommodate as many people as possible. So putting (the times) back to back like that is the idea behind that.”
Time with Santa isn’t the only perk; a ticket to the event also includes a wooden ornament in honor of the train-themed Christmas event.
“We have a custom ornament being made,” Conger added. “It’s a train ornament. It’s little wooden ones that have an engraved ‘Chuckey Depot’ with the year on it. We anticipate that this will become an annual event so kids can collect the ornaments and put them on their own trees at home.”
Not only is Conger and the rest of the town hoping the train ornaments make a return on Christmas trees next year, but the hope for the event is that it also becomes a mainstay Christmas event in town that also serves as a new tradition for families.
“We hope that they make this into their own tradition with their families,” Conger explained. “People are so busy during the holidays and sometimes you get really caught up in going place to place and doing all those things you’re supposed to do. But with this being a family friendly event, we want mom and dad and grandma and grandpa to be able to come spend precious moments with their kids and just experience Jonesborough at Christmas time with Santa. We just hope that it’s just a really neat experience for them.”
Breakfast with Santa will be held on Saturday, Dec. 15, with seatings available at 8, 9 and 10 a.m. at the Chuckey Depot. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased from the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center by calling (423) 753-1010 or by going to www.jonesborough.com/tickets.