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All aboard for some Christmas cheer!: Holiday Train rolls into Detroit Lakes Dec. 12

It's been 12 years since the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train first began making Detroit Lakes one of its annual stops, and each year, it has helped to keep the shelves of the Becker County Food Pantry filled with enough food to ensure that local families in need won't go hungry through the holiday season.

"It's a nice boost for us, especially at Christmastime," says Brad Carlson, who took the reins as the Food Pantry's executive director this past spring. "Last year Canadian Pacific gave us $5,500, and we also picked up another $1,327 in cash and 366 pounds of food from local donations."

This year's stop, scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 12, will once again take place along Soo Avenue, between Holmes and Front streets. Though there is no admission fee for the free show, which features music by Canadian artists Terri Clark, Dallas Smith and Kelly Prescott — along with the chance to see Santa and Mrs. Claus singing and dancing along — audience members are asked to bring a donation (cash or non-perishable food items) to help fill the Food Pantry's shelves for the holiday season and beyond.

The half-hour performance is expected to begin at approximately 2:45 p.m. In addition to the music, there will also be at least two or three large pots of hot chocolate on hand to help keep kids and adults warm while they enjoy the show, and Santa will be handing out candy for the kids as well.

After the show is over, the train will set off for its next stop, a 4:20 p.m. performance in Mahnomen, then head up to Plummer and Thief River Falls later that evening. A complete schedule is available online at

Thanks to the generous support of great communities along its railways, the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train has raised over $13 million and 4 million pounds of food since 1999 to help those in need.

"The Holiday Train program is all about local food banks and food shelves and the critical role they play in our communities," says Keith Creel, president and chief executive officer of Canadian Pacific. "People come for the beautifully-lit train and stay for the incredible show — all in the name of community. The holiday season is the best time of the year, and we look forward to bringing together thousands of Canadians and Americans this season for this incredibly important cause and a great time."

CP Has Heart, Canadian Pacific's community investment program, is aimed at improving the heart health of men, women and children in communities across North America. Heart disease can affect anyone regardless of age or gender, but there are simple steps everyone can take to limit risk and even prevent heart disease. One of these steps is maintaining a healthy diet.

"Once again, we are encouraging those attending Holiday Train events to donate heart healthy items, because regardless of circumstance, we believe everyone should have access to healthy, nutritious food."

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 17 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454