The Holiday Train is coming to town!
The Canadian Pacific (CP) Railway Holiday Train is stopping in Alexandria on Tuesday, December 14 at 1 p.m. It will arrive at the railroad crossing near the Hubbard Feed Mill at 8th Avenue and Nokomis Street.
The CP Holiday Train is North America's longest-running food pantry fundraiser. This is the 12th year of its journey through the Midwest, Northeast and Canada in a cross-border mission to feed communities.
The train will travel through eight states and six Canadian provinces, stopping in about 140 cities and towns, with all food and money raised at each stop staying in that community for local distribution. All food and money collected at the Alexandria stop will benefit the Douglas County Food Shelf.
Each CP Holiday Train has 14 rail cars decorated with hundreds of thousands of festive lights. Included is a modified boxcar that has been turned into a traveling stage for performers.
The year, performing on the Holiday Train is Melanie Doane, with Kelly Prescott joining for several shows. Also performing will be the Canadian band, The Odds.
Fun facts about the Holiday Train
Planning for the Holiday Train begins seven months prior to the fundraising kickoff.
Every dollar donated to the Holiday Train gives food banks $4 in purchasing power.
Each Holiday Train is about 1,000 feet in length with 14 decorated rail cars, including the traveling stage for performers.
A 2010 Holiday Train CD, "Holiday Train Tracks," has been released, with genres from rock and country songs to Christmas classics. All proceeds go to supporting North American food banks.
Since 1999, the Holiday Train has traveled 85,764 miles, enough to go around the world 3.5 times.
It takes 30 CP "elves" 100 days to transform and decorate the Holiday Trains before they start their journey across Canada and the U.S.
In 2009, more than 20,000 candy canes were handed out to children at Holiday Train events. In the 12 years of the program, it is estimated up to 250,000 candy canes have been given to children.
This year, the Holiday Train features an interactive website, www.cpr.ca to read stories. You can also join the Holiday Train on Facebook and follow the two trains on Twitter @CPHolidaytrain.