The Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) will bring its Holiday Train to the County Road 19 railroad tracks in Loretto Thursday, Dec. 13.
Community festivities will begin at 3 p.m., with businesses and volunteers hosting activities on West Railway Street. The train is scheduled to arrive at 4:15 p.m. During the stop, musicians will perform from a lighted boxcar stage.
Featured performers will be Juno award winner Tracey Brown, who is a Canadian Country Music Hall of Famer and the Claytones, an Ottawa music group. The Claytones spin their own brand of melodic, vocal driven, Canadiana music that has country soaked roots.
Festivities surrounding the train’s stop in Loretto will include a visit from Santa, rides on the kiddie train, hay wagon rides, and free hot chocolate and cookies. Road closures will begin at 2:30 p.m., with shuttle service and parking provided at the Loretto softball fields on County Road 19 and the Saints Peter and Paul Church parking lot east of County Road 19. All activities are free. Visitors are asked to bring nonperishable foods or monetary donations for local food shelves.
Last year, the Holiday Train event brought in over $21,000 and 2,400 pounds of food because of community support. This year’s donations once again will be shared with food shelves in Hanover, Rockford, Delano and Maple Plain.
The Canadian Pacific Railway recently announced it will match all funds raised at the local community events for the Holiday Train up to $250,000. These matching donations will be given to Feeding America whose member food banks continue to provide aid to those affected by Hurricane Sandy.
CPR annually sends out two Holiday Trains on three-week tours beginning in late November. One travels across Canada, and the other across the upper Midwest. The purpose of each train is to support hunger relief in communities along the way. Since its beginnings in 1999, the Holiday Trains have raised more than $6.4 million and brought in over 2.6 million pounds of food in the U.S. and Canada.