The old Southern Railway Caboose in Thomasville

Nikki Watts, with Willetts Railcar Service LLC, prepares to do some prep work last week prior to paint the old Southern Railway Caboose located next to the Thomasville Visitor Center. The project is just one of several downtown improvements funded by Thomasville Tourism.

THOMASVILLE — Thomasville’s downtown caboose got a new coat of paint as part of a list of downtown improvements.

Once owned by Southern Railroad, the caboose is located on W. Main Street beside the historic depot/visitor’s center.

The caboose repainting is funded by the Thomasville Tourism Commission. The Big Chair, fountain and Clock Tower also were recently cleaned and repainted, as well as City Hall, said Thomasville Tourism Director Cameron Marsden.

All of the work is coming together as the Thomasville Beautification Committee prepares to show off the popular mechanical toys that were once part of Christmas displays in the windows of the old Belk department store. The automated toys include Santa Claus, Pinochio and a team of hard-working elves that were restored by acclaimed New York toymaker Lou Nasti, who has been described as “The Geppetto of Brooklyn.”

The Thomasville Beautification Committee also is preparing to host its annual Light Up the Holidays event on Nov. 20.

Thomasville Tourism Commission is hosting and funding a window decorating contest, which is open to all businesses in the city.

Thomasville Tourism is also preparing to host the 2021 Thomasville Christmas Parade, which will return to Main Street on Sunday, Nov. 28, at 2 p.m. NASCAR driver Austin Dillon, a Thomasville resident, will be the parade’s Grand Marshal.

“Everybody’s really excited to show off our historic downtown and make some Christmas memories for the kids,” Marsden said. “In conjunction with the city and beautification, we’ve done a facelift downtown.”

Marsden hopes people will shop local downtown merchants, as well as participating food trucks and street vendors during the holidays.

“We’re just doing what we can to try to get people to come out, enjoy our beautiful downtown and eat at the restaurants,” Marsden said. “Downtown’s really shaping up. We feel like we have a lot of momentum with our commission, and with a new city manager and several new department heads.”