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News Release

For Immediate Release — November 4, 2009

Holiday Express at the UT Gardens November 25 through January 3

Garden Railroad Exhibit Features Miniature World of Wonder

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Ten garden-scale model trains, thousands of lights and a miniature landscape featuring rivers, waterfalls and more than 100 buildings decorated for the season will delight visitors during the holidays at the UT Gardens. The event kicks off November 25 and new this year will be appearances by Santa every weekend in December before Christmas and a performance by the Akima Singers December 5 at 1:30 p.m.

Visitor to Holiday Express

A young visitor experiences the wonder of the Holiday

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train at Holiday Express

The Holiday Express roles into the UT Gardens
November 25 through January 3.

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Holiday Express at the UT Gardens, an event for the entire family, features the trains running simultaneously on a quarter-mile track that winds through the fictional town of Ravensford. Visitors will marvel at the elaborate landscape, which includes replicas of existing East Tennessee architecture. The hand-crafted display will be located on the Friendship Plaza at the entrance to the UT Gardens off Neyland Drive.

The event opens Thanksgiving weekend from 12-8 p.m. November 25-28, and 12-6 p.m. November 29. Thereafter, Holiday Express  will be open 12-8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 12-6 p.m. on Sundays December 4 through January 3, 2010. Holiday Express will also open Christmas Day from 2-6 p.m. and December 28-29 from 12-8 p.m.

“There is no other holiday event in our region of the country like the Holiday Express at the UT Gardens.  It’s a wonderful, festive activity for the whole family to enjoy and a great way to support one of our regions’ best treasures, the UT Gardens,” said Sue Hamilton director of the Gardens. “It also exposes visitors to the unique and enjoyable hobby of garden railroading. Children and adults alike are assured an educational and fun time as they explore many of the railroad antiquities on display, many of which are interactive, along with the incredible holiday scene that garden railroading expert, Mark Fuhrman creates.” 

Mark Fuhrman has again partnered with the UT Institute of Agriculture and the Gardens to bring his wonderland to a larger audience during this special time of the year. Fuhrman customizes each train car and building by hand with a passion and care that has resulted in one of the largest train collections in East Tennessee. 

Cost is $5 per person, but children under age 4 are admitted free. Large group viewings can be scheduled by calling 865-584-7666. The event benefits the research and educational programs of the UT Gardens. 

The UT Gardens feature more than 1,000 woody plants under long-term observation and 2,000 varieties of herbaceous plants evaluated annually. The Gardens function as an outdoor laboratory, teaching and research facility, and public gardens, sharing their beauty with over 50,000 visitors yearly. Established in 1983 by the UT Institute of Agriculture Department of Plant Sciences, the gardens are recognized as one of only 34 official All American Selections (AAS) test sites in the United States. Both the UT Gardens in Knoxville and Jackson are Tennessee certified Arboreta and American Conifer Society Reference Gardens.

The UT Gardens is located in Knoxville just off Neyland Drive behind the UT Veterinary Hospital on the Institute of Agriculture campus. From I-40 take Exit 386B onto Hwy 129 (Alcoa Highway toward the airport). From Highway 129 take the exit for Highway 158 (Neyland Drive). Turn left at end of exit ramp. Turn left onto Joe Johnson Drive, and right at the next light onto Chapman Drive. Visitor parking is directly across from the entrance to the UT Gardens.

The Holiday Express is sponsored by the Knoxville News Sentinel, WBIR and the UT Federal Credit Union. For more information, visit or call 865-974-7141.