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Holiday Train to stop in Detroit Lakes on Dec. 14

"Woo-woo! Woo-woo!"

For the second year in a row, the Canadian Pacific Railway's Holiday Train will be making a stop in Detroit Lakes on Friday, Dec. 14. It will be one of more than 100 communities in Canada and the U.S. where the two holiday trains will make stops this year, starting Dec. 1 in Scranton, Pa., and continuing through Dec. 18 in Port Moody, British Columbia.

In its eight years of existence, the Holiday Train program has helped to collect more than $3 million and over 1.6 million pounds of food to help feed North America's hungry.

During its Detroit Lakes stop in 2006, the train helped bring in $2.600 in food and/or cash donations, and the Canadian Pacific chipped in a $1,000 donation of its own.

The timing for this year's stop couldn't be more fortuitous, as Becker County Food Pantry President Jack Berenz notes that the need is greater than ever.

"We distributed 33,000 pounds of food in Becker County during the month of November alone," Berenz said.

But the brightly-lit holiday train does more than help feed the hungry as it winds its way across North America; it also helps residents of the communities where it stops to get into the holiday spirit, with a live Christmas show.

As the train pulls to a stop at the Holmes Street railroad intersection, around 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 14, one of its box cars will open up to reveal a stage. For the next 45 minutes or so, the crowd gathered at the intersection will be able to enjoy the music of top Canadian musicians Tracey Brown and Colin Linden as well as Ennis, the Canadian-Irish sister act that has shared the stage with the Chieftains, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Rufus Wainright, Ron Sexsmith and Bruce Cockburn.

Food Pantry volunteers will also be serving up hot chocolate, and there will be a place to drop off donations in the form of cash or non-perishable food items.

"It's a really nice get-together -- everybody enjoyed the program last year," said Berenz. "Hopefully, everyone will have a good time this year as well."

In addition to their Dec. 14 visit to Detroit Lakes, formal stops on this year's Holiday Train route through Minnesota will include Winona, Wabasha and Lake City on Dec. 10; Hastings, Cottage Grove, St. Paul and Minneapolis on Dec. 11; Loretto, Buffalo, Annandale and Eden Valley on Dec. 13; Alexandria and Thief River Falls, also on Dec. 14; and Elbow Lake on Dec. 15.

North Dakota stops will include Hankinson and Enderlin on Dec. 15; and Harvey, Minot and Carpio on Dec. 16. For more information about the Holiday Train and its fund-raising efforts, please visit the Web site,, and click on the Holiday Train logo.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 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