Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Railroad Fest Marks Town's 150th Birthday; Callahan Celebrates History with First Railroad Days Festival

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Railroad Fest Marks Town's 150th Birthday; Callahan Celebrates History with First Railroad Days Festival

Article excerpt

Byline: KEVIN TURNER

CALLAHAN -- Other than a brief downpour near the end of Saturday's parade, Callahan's first Railroad Days Festival, marking the town's 150th birthday, went off without a hitch, organizers said.

Participants said they were pleased with what they saw over the three days of the festival, Friday to Sunday.

"It has a lot of potential to be bigger and better in years to come, especially if the train-watchers find out about it," Christine Moss of Folkston, Ga., said.

"It's great for the kids," her husband Randy Moss said.

The event, centered around Callahan's historic train depot, featured an array of booths where vendors sold food and craft items. At Ewing Park, dozens of children took part in kid-friendly activities and contests.

A portion of the historic depot displayed reproductions of historic documents that told the region's railroading history.

"We're very proud to have the documentation," West Nassau Historical Society member Janice Sain said. "We hope and pray to make it a museum."

Sain said the sale of festival T-shirts and mugs will fund repainting the depot as well as repairs to a vintage caboose parked next to the depot. She also said the society, which owns the depot, would like to purchase the land next door and turn it into a park.

In another part of the depot, CSX Corp. and the Atlantic Coast Line & Seaboard Air Line Railroads Historical Society exhibited railroad books and other materials.

"It's good to see so many people interested in the railroad," said George DeMarino, a retired CSX employee who represented the railroad's Operation Lifesaver safety program.

Joe Miller, 78, another former CSX employee now working with Operation Lifesaver said he'd come through Callahan many times as an employee of the Atlantic Coast Line, a CSX predecessor.

"We do this to make contact with schools and teachers and to bring materials to schools to teach the boys and girls the importance of train safety," Miller said of Operation Lifesaver. …

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