CLINTWOOD, Va. (WJHL) — On Saturday, an 80-year-old holiday tradition will be celebrated across three states. After a 2-year hiatus, Santa will hit the rails aboard the CSX Santa Train, but Santa made a special stop before that big journey.

On Friday, children with special needs and parents gathered at Clintwood Baptist Church for one-on-one time with ol’ Saint Nick.

“Many of our kids don’t get a chance to go to the malls or other locations with Santa to visit and sit on Santa’s lap because it’s just overwhelming,” said Denechia Edwards, Special Education Director at Dickenson County Public Schools. “So to be able to have Santa come here, where it’s a familiar situation for them. It’s just wonderful.”

Children colored, had their faces painted, played basketball and shared their Christmas wishes with Santa.

For the parents, it was more than just a day of coloring and face painting. It’s an event where kids can feel like they belong.

“It means a lot, especially in this community where my son doesn’t have a lot of children his age that he can interact with,” said parent Heather Baker. “So it meant a lot to actually be invited to come to this today and to be able to be a part of it.”

The kids left with stuffed animals and dreams of Christmas morning while parents took home wrapping paper and Food City gift cards.