Light Up the Depot: Celebrating Christmas and 30 Years of Restoration at the RailPark

The Historic RailPark & Train Museum will host a celebratory Christmas event at the L&N Depot, where we will “Light Up the Depot” for Christmas for the very first time! November 30th, the RailPark invites the community to join in on a festive evening with hot chocolate, wintery treats, a light show by Bowling Green’s first responders, a live choir, and more as we all come together to witness the Depot building and vintage railcars light up for Christmas. This event will be free to the public but limited to the maximum RailPark capacity, so guests should register for their “tickets” in advance. Registration ensures attendance as well as guarantees parking availability either on-site or in the parking structure with the Trolley shuttle service. The event will begin at 4:00 on the Thursday afternoon, where guests are free to observe the Christmas celebrations as we pay homage to the restoration efforts put into the Historic RailPark & Train Museum over the course of the past 30 years. 

Why “Light Up the Depot?”

Not only are we celebrating the first year of lighting the depot for Christmas, but we are also celebrating the 30th anniversary of the L&N Depot restoration! 30 years ago, Operation PRIDE purchased the L&N Depot for $105,000 to save it from demolition. Not only does this anniversary mark the date the Bowling Green community came together to light the depot, but it also marks 30 years of tedious restoration efforts. Friends of the RailPark have seen “behind the scenes” of what the Historic RailPark & Train Museum provides to the public, where thousands of dollars and countless hours are poured into the vintage railcars and L&N Depot building’s restoration and preservation. This year’s fundraising campaign, “Light Up the Depot,” has been inspired by the decades of maintenance, repairs, and protection that the RailPark and its supporters have put into it. The “Why?” behind “Light Up the Depot” goes back to the very date it began. The inaugural “Light Up the Depot” on December 9, 1993, only had one mishap: the Christmas lights failed to come on! That is why for 2023, we will not only physically light the depot, but light the building and vintage railcars for the FIRST TIME!

November 30th will be the first time that the Historic RailPark & Train Museum will be twinkling with Christmas cheer… all because of the support from Friends and supporters of the RailPark towards this endeavor! The decorations planned will put the L&N Depot on the map for tourists and locals alike as kids and their parents pile into the family car to take in the lights of Bowling Green through the Christmas season. And what’s more- we will have carols of a choir, food, hot chocolate, the Lil’ Toot train ride, light shows, and MORE all to celebrate the restoration progress we are so proud of and the Christmas Season.

How is this All Possible?

So to answer “how is this all possible,” the only answer is from our sponsors, donors, and volunteers. Behind every moment at the Historic RailPark & Train Museum, there was the generosity of Friends of the RailPark who were willing and able to make the dreams of the RailPark come true! We are incredibly grateful to our volunteers, sponsors, and donors who have contributed to the thirty years of progression, so we also are celebrating them as well when we Light the Depot: THANK YOU!

To become a Friend of the RailPark, please help contribute to the “Light the Depot” campaign!  

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