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Holiday Train’s a-comin’: December 16 stop planned in Detroit Lakes

The Holiday Train’s live music show usually draws a good crowd, while bringing in food and funds for the Becker County Food Pantry. DL NEWSPAPERS/Brian Basham

It’s that magical time of year when — especially for children — the world seems to light up and the spirit of giving is running full steam ahead.

That will once again be the case in Detroit Lakes Monday, Dec. 15, when the Canadian Pacific Railroad Holiday Train comes barreling into town.

This is when one, special train with a boxcar of Christmas fun stops in the middle of the city all lit up to spread holiday cheer.

There will be live music from the open boxcar, including performances from blues rocker Shaun Verreault and his band Wide Mouth Mason and Canadian singer-songwriter Melanie Doane.

The train is expected to make the stop sometime around 3:15 p.m. at the Holmes Street crossing in Detroit Lakes, spread out in 1,000 feet of lit-up glory.

The train has been stopping in Detroit Lakes for 15 years now, with the goal of helping to stock the local food pantry.

“Oh boy, do we love to see this train come in,” said Jack Berenz, director of the Becker County Food Pantry.

Area residents are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items or monetary donations as a sort of informal “admission” to the show.

Berenz says the success of the event varies greatly with the weather, but last year — a good year — they were able to bring in 1,800 pounds of food and dollars.           

Local residents brought in 800 of that, officials from the train donated $1,000. The food pantry truck will be right on site with the back door open for donations.

Berenz says because the holiday season usually leaves people a little more financially strapped, it can be a busy time for the food pantry.

He says the holiday train ends up being a fun, festive way to help.

“We try to make it as cheery as we can,” he said.

“We serve hot chocolate and we get the kids out in the street there dancing to the music and everybody just really has a good time with it.”

While the train is expected to arrive at 3:15 p.m., Berenz say the show usually lasts about 40 minutes.

“And Santa Claus comes of the train too, handing out candy canes to the kids, so they think it’s a really big deal,” he said.

“We just hope everybody comes out and just has a good time —that’s what it’s really all about.”