Amy Grant Serves as the Celebrity Grand Marshal of the Santa Train This Year

Amy Grant

Contemporary Christian artist Amy Grant serves as the Celebrity Grand Marshal of the Santa Train this year.  Making 13 stops in Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee, The Santa Train allows Santa Claus -- with a little bit of celebrity help --  to greet hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of children at each stop, passing out toys and goodwill to many along the route. 

The Santa Train engineered by the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce in partnership with CSX, Food City, and Dignity U Wear is a yearly event that covers 110 miles of mountain railroad. This year's celebrity that goes along with Santa to bring gifts and the holiday cheer to children is none other than Amy Grant.

Speaking to Billboard magazine, Grant recalls:  "When we got on the train this morning at 5:30, it was dark. The sun hadn't come up yet. And, just walking down the train, there were bags hooked up six to eight deep for babies, young kids, teenagers and I thought, 'What an unbelievable amount of presents. That's wonderful.'"

"But, then we got to the first stop, and while the presents are special -- everything from quilts to hats to toys and puzzles -- the most amazing part about it was everybody showing up, and the kids shouting, and we sang a little bit -- it was just beautiful."

All told, The Santa Train made 13 stops during the day -- staying roughly 15-20 minutes at each place, and Grant was impressed that the world seemed to come to a complete stop in each of the communities.

"I didn't see anyone playing a video game on their phone. People might have been taking pictures, but everybody wanted to be in the moment. I was on the train with my sisters and we all got choked up several times for all kinds of reasons -- the beauty of the countryside and the ages of the kids -- it doesn't matter where you are from -- you will hoist your 3-year-old up on your shoulders to get a good luck at Santa, and see how the families come together for this, it's really very magical."



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