WILLIAMS, Ariz. - On the job for less than one month, Carollan Zanot has already rolled up her sleeves and is busy planning events for the upcoming tourist season. Zanot was hired last month as the event coordinator at the Williams-Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce.
"I really like it so far. It has been a whirlwind attending meetings and meeting everyone," said Zanot.
Zanot said the position is similar to the job she held the last six years at Aspen Valley Golf Club in Flagstaff. Born and raised in Phoenix, she attended Northern Arizona University prior to working at Aspen Golf.
"I am so pleased to have Carollan join the chamber staff. She is delightful and a welcome addition to our team. We waited a long time for the right person to come along. I am thrilled we found her," said Williams-Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Gioia Goodrum.
The first major event Zanot will coordinate is National Train Day May 12-13. The Grand Canyon Railway in cooperation with the Grand Canyon Chapter, National Railway Historical Society (NRHS) and the Williams-Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce will host a two-day event at the Williams Depot.
The highlight of the event will be the Cataract Creek Rambler - 45 minute train rides in open-window passenger coaches, pulled behind 1923 Baldwin steam locomotive 4960, which has been recently converted to burn waste vegetable oil. Trains leave every hour on the hour from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tickets are sold on the day of the event.
The Winslow Harvey Girls will also be on property, originally a Harvey House in the early 20th century. The city of Williams will be sponsoring a classic car show so there will be plenty of classic cars around the Railway's property, just a block from historic Route 66.
A 3,500 square feet room in the Williams Depot and adjacent Grand Canyon Railway Hotel have been dedicated to model railroad displays. At least five different scales will be on display, including several N-trak displays from the Mountain Valley N Scale Group, Arizona Southwest Model Railroad Society, and Prescott Valley N-trak. N-trak is a special organization of N scale (1:160) model railroaders who build individual modules to specified standards. The modules can be combined to form layouts of various sizes, configurations, and themes.
Operation Lifesaver will be on hand with the GCRy locomotive simulator, which demonstrates what an engineer sees when he approaches a road crossing.
Al Richmond will have displays from the Arizona State Railroad Museum Collection and be on hand to talk about the planning for a permanent location. Morgan O'Connor from Grand Canyon Railway will be present to discuss Xanterra's environmental policies and how 21st century railroading can minimize it's environmental impact. There will also be a small display of railroad photography by local artisans.
Several pieces of full-scale railroad equipment will be on display, including historic Grand Canyon Railway steam locomotive 29. Also, GCR's "Max Biegert" parlor car will be open for display showcasing how rail barons of old traveled in style and luxury. The Chapter's own Santa Fe Caboose will be open for tours. Activities for each day begin at 10 a.m.
Go behind the scenes at the Grand Canyon Railway's Locomotive Shop. See where the classic trains are worked on with a tour of the shop. Sponsored by the Grand Canyon Chapter of the NRHS, tickets are just $5 per person and can be purchased at the information tent on site at the Williams Depot (cash or check only). Locomotive Shop tours will be available on the hour from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. All proceeds will go to the Williams Food Bank.
National Train Day was started by Amtrak in 2008 to commemorate the completion of the first transcontinental railroad, May 10, 1869. Amtrak sponsors major events in Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, and Philadelphia. Local communities around the country are welcomed to host their own events. Visit www.nationaltrainday.com for more information on activities around the country. For information on the area, please visit the Williams-Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce at experiencewilliams.com.