JEFFERSON — Diamond Don Event Center and the Historic Jefferson Railway owners in Jefferson have released the schedule of events for the remainder of the year, as well as guidelines to be followed at their facilities following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Diamond Don Rainey and Francene DePrez Rainey of Jefferson own and operate the Diamond Don Event Center, including Diamond Don Racing, as well as the Historic Jefferson Railway. The couple on Friday released the schedule of events for the remainder of 2020, as well as guidelines to be followed at their facilities due to the COVID-19 virus’ ongoing threat.
While the Raineys released their schedule of events, they noted that the dates or times could be canceled or rescheduled at any time due to weather, maintenance issues or changing COVID-19 restrictions.
“Face masks are required to ride the train for everyone two years and older,” Francene Rainey said. “We do not provide face masks so please bring your own. Your health and safety are important to us. Our staff has a heightened sense of awareness of the importance of maintaining hygienic standards to meet CDC and OSHA requirements.”
Rainey said the railway will again be open to the public on May 23.
“We are running our antique gas-powered locomotive for all 2020 events,” Francene Rainey said on Friday of the Historic Jefferson Railway. “At this time, we will be running at 50 percent capacity. Please call or text for reservations. Ride at your own risk. We are not responsible for illness or injury. Please note that we are complying with Gov. Gregg Abbott’s re-open plans so watch our website for updates at www.JeffersonRailway.com.”
The railway will be open each Saturday beginning May 23 through Sept. 5.
Saturday narrated day tours will run from 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. The depot will open each day at 11 a.m. to begin selling tickets.
The railway tour includes a stop at the Diamond Don Gator Pit for alligator feeding if weather permits.
Tickets for the open coach seating on the train are $12 each plus tax and children under six years old are free, she said.
The railway is hosting a Memorial Day celebration.
“Come see the ‘Support Our Troops’ display that honors the United States Military. Active Military personnel ride free,” Rainey said.
On May 30, the railway will host the “Great Locomotive Chase – The Andrews Raid Re-enactment” complete with a gunboat and cannons. Tour times will be at 12:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., and 4:30 p.m.
“Come experience the re-enactment of The Andrews Raid, the Civil War’s most gripping railroad story,” Rainey said. “See the North and South skirmish in a replica ironclad gunboat firing its cannons on the banks of the Big Cypress Bayou River. Due to COVID-19 our re-enactors will be complying with COVID-19 social distancing during the skirmish with the gunboat. They will be wearing masks and will not engage in hand-to-hand combat. Re-enactors are welcome at the Diamond Don RV Park. Train tickets will be available online.”
Tickets for the re-enactment ride tour are $15 each plus tax for the open and lap children are free.
“In celebration of National Flag Day and the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777, The Historic Jefferson Railway will offer a celebration of Flags along the Big Cypress Bayou on June 13,” she said. “Flag Day is a time when Americans reflect on the foundation of the nation’s freedom. The flag of the United States represents freedom and has been an enduring symbol of the country’s ideals since its early days. Come see the Support Our Troops display that honors the United States Military. Active Military personnel will ride free.”
The railway will celebrate Father’s Day with a 10 percent discount for fathers riding with their children on June 20.
“The Historic Jefferson Railway will offer a special July 4th as the history of Independence Day unfolds on the narrated day tours on Saturday, July 4, with trains departing at 12:30 and 2:30 p.m.” she said. “Come see the Support Our Troops display that honors the United States Military. Active Military personnel will ride free.”
The railway will celebrate the end of its summer season with a special ride on Sept. 5.
“Celebrate Labor Day at the Historic Jefferson Railway as we end our summer season. Come see the Support Our Troops display that honors the United States Military. Active Military personnel will ride free,” Rainey said.
Shortly after, on Sept. 10 -13, the Diamond Don Event Center will host Diamond Don’s 18th Annual National AHRMA Vintage Motocross event.
“National Vintage Motocross, includes Charity Golf Skills Challenge on Thursday, Cross Country and Trials on Friday, Vintage Motocross on Saturday with Post-Vintage on Sunday,” Rainey said. “100cc and 200cc Revenge races will be on Saturday and Sunday. The weekend will be full of motocross legends. Come out and see Steve Wise, Trey Jorski, Guy Cooper, Trampas Parker and event legend Gary Semics. We have a vintage friendly motocross track at Diamond Don RV Park with great spectator viewing areas.”
To learn more about the event, visit www.DiamondDon.com.
On Sept. 19, the railway will participate in the 2nd Annual Jefferson Antique Tractor Show in downtown Jefferson.
“The main street in Jefferson will be closed to traffic to accommodate antique tractors,” she said. “The event includes a tractor parade, slow tractor race and lots of unique awards. We added a swap meet this year, to take place behind the Historic Jefferson Railway. Setup will begin on Friday starting at 2 p.m. and then we will join in the Meet & Greet Dinner Social Friday evening for tractor owners and family at the Diamond Don RV Park & Event Center. Antique small engine and working exhibits are welcome, as well as vintage truck exhibitors.”
The 36th Land O’ Pines Norton Owners Association Rally and Bike Show is set for Oct. 2-4 in Jefferson.
“The rally draws more than 300 people displaying over 150 of the finest vintage motorcycles anywhere in the country,” she said. “Join us at Diamond Don RV Park & Event Center which is just one mile outside of Jefferson. Participate in Saturday’s Field Events, display your bike in Saturday’s bike show and ride in the Rolling Concours on Sunday. Come enjoy a weekend full of great entertainment and fun. The general public is invited. Gate Fees will apply.”
The Historic Jefferson Railway’s Christmas Express will run Nov. 27 and 28 and Dec. 5, 12, 19 and 26. The narrated Christmas tours will run at 12:30 and 2:30 p.m. with the depot opening at 11 a.m.
“Make this a Christmas to remember aboard the Christmas Express Train,” Rainey said. “The ride aboard an antique narrow-gauge gas locomotive departs each day at 12:30 and 2:30 p.m. Passengers will enjoy vignettes along the Cypress Bayou River as they hear the story of Christmas.”