MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - It's not May, but for some Tuesday kicked off Memphis in May celebrations. A train delivered the Memphis in May World Cargo Crate to St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School.
This year a train horn kicked off an important part of the Memphis in May celebrations.
“Beyond the Beale St. Music Festival, World Championship BBQ Cooking Contest and Great American River Run, a key component is education,” VP of Marketing for Memphis in May Robert Griffin said.
The Memphis in May World Cargo Crate began its tour Tuesday of area schools. The World Cargo Crate is filled with information on the Republic of Ghana, Memphis in May’s honored country this year.
“Each year we fill it with artifacts from the honored country,” Griffin said. “So, whether it's cultural artifacts, little representations, attire, hats.”
On this trip, the World Cargo Crate got a special ride. Canada National Railway, a sponsor of the Memphis in May World Cargo Crate, brought its safety train Little Obie to deliver the World Cargo Crate to its first stop. Kids at the school got to go for a ride and learn about train safety.
While exciting for students, the whole experience is a full circle event for one teacher.
“My dad Marvin Sanford worked Illinois Central Railroad which is not Canada National Railroad,” Fourth-grade teacher Karen Sanford said. “He worked there for 42 years.”
The safety train Little Obie was named after a safety director at the railway’s Memphis branch. Sanford said her dad remembers when the train was just an idea.
“Some of what he told me was there was a man named Mr. O’Brien who was interested in train safety for children,” Sanford said.
Little Obie will not make it to all the school visits with the World Cargo Crate, but the crate will visit schools across the area. It will be making stops until May and the kick-off of the big Memphis in May events.