By LISA BICKNELL
CV&T News Editor
The old CSX garage in the Ravenna rail yard may look unassuming on the outside, but the building, now the site of the Kentucky Heritage Steam Corporation (KHSC) shops, was bright inside with twinkling Christmas lights and smiling faces on Sunday afternoon.
For those fortunate enough to reserve a ticket for “Lunch with Santa,” the setting looked much like a scene from the Polar Express.
KHSC hosted the fundraiser where young and old alike could climb around in a gleaming restored caboose or on festively lit steam locomotive 2716, after having lunch catered by The Kitchen at Noland Creek Farm. Children also had opportunity to chat with Santa Clause and receive a personalized ornament from him.
Tickets for the event sold out quickly, bringing in more than $3,400 for KHSC.
Many volunteers helped with the preparations for the event, including Rebecca Richardson Barker.
Rebecca grew up in Ravenna, where she says the trains were once a part of everyday life. Her grandfather Richardson and other family members worked for the railroad, but the most important reason Rebecca wanted to get involved with this event was for her mom, long time Ravenna resident and city council member Joan Richardson.
“I know she would be soooo thrilled to see things happening in the town she loved so much,” said Rebecca.
“It made my heart smile seeing all the people and kids enjoying something from my past…the railroad in my hometown.”
Rebecca and a co-worker reached out to Charlotte Sutter, who heads up Estill County High School student council and got them involved in decorating and coming up with activities for kids to do at the lunch.
Cassie Bottorff is also an enthusiastic volunteer for KSHC and helped orchestrate the Santa lunch.
“I’m not a “train person,” but I know that if this takes off it’ll have a huge positive impact on the area, so I’m pitching in with things I know how to do,” she said.
Cassie isn’t sure yet, but she says there is a possibility that there will be another Lunch with Santa next year.