Glenn Miller’s orchestral version of “Chattanooga Choo-Choo” was recorded May 7, 1941, officially making the city of Chattanooga a household name across the world.
In celebration of the song, the Chattanooga Choo-Choo Hotel will host an all-day celebration on Saturday with parties, live music and more throughout the complex. The day will also mark the official dedication of the 2-acre rose garden at the complex, which will be renamed Glenn Miller Gardens.
“I think the biggest thing is no matter where I go-and I’ve heard the same from others-when people ask where you’re from and you say Chattanooga, they think of the Choo-Choo,” said Adam Kinsey, Chattanooga Choo-Choo president. “People all across the world identify us by that song.”
The Chattanooga Choo-Choo Jubilee will begin at 11 a.m. with a parade of local high school marching bands performing their interpretations of the famous song. The free parade begins at the intersection of Passenger and Main streets, and continues west on Main and Market streets to the Choo-Choo property.
An official dedication of the rose gardens will follow at 11:45 a.m., and guests will be invited to sing along to a version of the “Chattanooga Choo-Choo.” (See lyrics below.)
And then the party at the station begins. Live music, buskers and family-friendly activities will take place from 12 to 3 p.m. The afternoon includes a history lesson from Robert Oermann, a musical historian, on the legacy of the “Chattanooga Choo-Choo” song.
Saturday’s event also coincides with the annual Kentucky Derby. The Chattanooga Choo-Choo and Stir have teamed up to offer a party in celebration called The Derby at the Choo-Choo. Expect live bluegrass, heavy hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, outdoor activities and games. Admission is $45 per person or $80 per couple in advance. That price jumps to $50 per person on the day of the event. Click here for tickets.
The evening concludes with the free Great Gatsby Garden Party in the Glenn Miller Gardens in honor of the song. Guests are invited to dress in their best Gatsby attire for the event and dance the night away to music from Uptown Big Band. Swing dancing is encouraged. Admission is free and a cash bar will be provided.
Pardon me, boy
Is that the Chattanooga choo-choo?
Boy, you can gimme a shine
I can afford
To board a Chattanooga choo-choo
I’ve got my fare
And just a trifle to spare.
You leave the Pennsylvania Station ’bout a quarter to four
Read a magazine and then you’re in Baltimore
Dinner in the diner
Nothing could be finer
Than to have your ham an’ eggs in Carolina.
When you hear the whistle blowin’ eight to the bar
Then you know that Tennessee is not very far
Shovel all the coal in
Gotta keep it rollin’
Woo, woo, Chattanooga there you are.
There’s gonna be
A certain party at the station
Satin and lace
I used to call “funny face”
She’s gonna cry
Until I tell her that I’ll never roam
So Chattanooga choo-choo
Won’t you choo-choo me home?
Won’t you choo-choo me home?
Updated @ 10:36 a.m. on 5/4/16.
Updated @ 11:10 a.m. on 5/4/16.
Updated @ 11:51 a.m. on 5/4/16.