Skip to main content

Amelia Islander


Mar 08, 2017 02:00AM
The nonprofit West Nassau Historical Society has selected Saturday, April 22, 2017, for their signature fundraising Railroad Day Festival. The twelfth annual celebration is an all-day event held in and around the historic 1881 Callahan Train Depot and adjoining 1856 Florida Railroad bed. This year’s celebration will include the unveiling of “Our People, Our Roots, Our History” mural to be painted on the north façade of the Train Depot annex. The 25’x8’ painting is the result of a yearlong project involving the Nassau County Record and West Nassau High School art teacher April Eason and her students. The art work is part of a larger campus-side beautification project funded in part by a grant from Rayonier and Rayonier Advanced Materials.

Being held on Earth Day, the group will also celebrate the fabled "Hobos" and their green-friendly Recycle and ReUse skills they used while riding the rails. The all volunteer nonprofit will also pay homage to the 150th anniversary of naturalist and Sierra Club founder John Muir’s walk through Florida along the old Florida Railroad. Muir, the “father” of our national parks system, recorded his sunshine state hike from Fernandina to Cedar Key in his book A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf. The kids' area will include jumpy houses, climbing wall, and Hobo Games. The arts/crafts vendors and food vendors are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Local live entertainment will perform on the main depot stage from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The 12th annual Shriner-led Railroad Day parade starts at 11 a.m. and will make its way south on US 1 through downtown Callahan. Cochrane's Collision Center next door to the depot will host a classic car show from 12 noon to 3 p.m.

Various citizens and sponsors will be honored and parade and contest winners announced during the festivities. Antique engines, tractors and trains will be exhibited outside the depot while model train layouts will be on display inside the Depot Annex. This is an outdoor event so please bring your lawn chairs. The West Nassau Historical Society is a non-profit, tax exempt organization dedicated to the preservation of Nassau County’s rich and diverse history and entrusted with the upkeep of the historic Callahan Train Depot. Donations to the 501c3 organization are tax deductible in accordance to current IRS rules. Sponsors and volunteers are needed to help make this year’s festival a success. For additional information on the 2017 Railroad Day Festival or on becoming a volunteer, sponsor, or donor call festival co-chairs John Hendricks or Emily Baumgartner at 904-879-3406.