The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train pulled into La Crescent on a cold Thursday night last week, bearing a check for $5,500 to the local food bank.
A large crowd braved the 20-degree weather as the train rolled in a little after 9 p.m. Members of the La Crescent Chamber of Commerce doled out cups of hot cocoa to warm the crowd. The train stopped in front of the Flea Market parking lot and entertained the crowd with live Christmas music from the holiday train band, which featured country music stars Dallas Smith and Kelly Prescott.
Following a modern rendition of the Jingle Bell Rock, La Crescent Mayor Mike Poellinger made a brief presentation thanking Canadian Pacific and the community for making the event happen, and a $5,500 check was presented as a donation to the food shelf.
“It’s our largest single donation,” said Susan Oddsen of the $5,500 donation to the food shelf, for which she serves as a volunteer coordinator.
La Crescent’s stop, like all the holiday train stops, was free to the public, but the railroad company encourages donations of food or money to go towards a local food bank. According to Canadian Pacific, the factors that go into deciding which stops are the amount of support from local elected officials, and the participation from the local food bank and community.
In its 19th year, the holiday train has helped generate over $10 million worth of donations to local food pantries, according to Canadian Pacific. La Crescent is one of the 26 Minnesota towns the train visits every year, with donations from the event going to the La Crescent food shelf.
The holiday train is about 1,000 feet long, with 14 brightly decorated rail cars, each having hundreds of thousands LED Christmas lights, according to Canadian Pacific.