St. Jude children first to ride train

Published 8:12 am Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Water Valley Mayor Larry Hart, Panola Partnership CEO Joe Azar, Batesville Mayor Jerry Autrey and Alderman Stan Harrison, and Main Street director Mamie Avery were joined by officials from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis in planning a special ride for the young patients on the first run of The Train to Christmas Town last Saturday on the Downtown Square.


A group of children who are patients at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis got a special treat Saturday afternoon in Batesville.

The children and their family members were the first passengers of the holiday season on The Train to Christmas Town. The company that operates the train each year in Batesville does a practice run, and this year city officials asked if the children from St. Jude’s could be invited to enjoy the trip while the train operators worked out any kinks in preparation for this season’s runs.

Panola Partnership CEO Joe Azar said the Main Street office handled all the details, and St. Jude’s was thrilled for the opportunity to bring the children. “Everything worked out great for the children and their families. The weather was chilly, but not too cold, and they all had a wonderful time,” Azar said.

The train was freshly cleaned for the upcoming season and was at its most sterile condition Saturday, another reason the St. Jude officials were happy to bring the children.

Azar said Batesville city workers were due commendation for having the Square and all areas around it clean and neat with lots of holiday decorations to welcome the guests. “The towns of Courtland and Pope and their residents were amazing with their decorated homes and waving to the kids.”

The train will begin its official runs on Saturday following the Batesville Junior Auxiliary’s Turkey Trot on the Downtown Square.