Making Christmas Bright...
With the temperature hovering at barely 20 degrees and a stiff 25 mph breeze out of the west, the Christmas holiday spirit of the young and young-at-heart was not dampened last week.
On Dec. 5, little ones in the arms of their parents, and individuals well into their 90s started to arrive at the Kasson Fire Hall shortly before 2 p.m. Everyone wanted to get to the Fire Hall early and be ready for the arrival of the 2017 Canadian Pacific Holiday Train.
“The Holiday Train program is all about local food banks and food shelves and the critical role they play in our communities,” said Keith Creel, CP’s president and CEO. “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.”
The CP Holiday Train program has been in existence for some 18 years. Since launching in 1999 it has raised in more than $10 million and over 4 million pounds of food for communities along the CP’s routes in Canada and the U.S.
A large crowd brought non-perishable food items for the Semcac Dodge County Food Shelf and sought warm shelter, hot cocoa, or hot cider in the Kasson Fire Hall. People quickly made their way outside as the sound of the locomotive whistle blew announced the arrival of the CP Holiday Train.
As it pulled into Kasson, stopping in front of the Fire Hall, the crowd was treated to a wonderful view of the holiday-decorated locomotive and 14 brightly-colored rail cars lit with hundreds of thousands of Christmas lights.
As the train pulled out of Kasson with the crowd waving and cheering, comments could be heard in the crowd: “This was great - let’s get the train to stop again ...”
Kasson Fire Department staff gathered the non-perishable food items and placed them in the utility pickup for delivery to Semcac in Kasson.
Curious as to the total weight, firefighters took a short detour, and shortly after its arrival a special rail car designed for musical performance opened, creating a stage for country stars Terri Clark, Dallas Smith and Kelly Prescott, who provided a special Christmas concert for the crowd.
Presentations were made to the food shelf after the performance. And the Kasson Fire Department Relief Association presented $500 (by Fire Chief Joe Fitch), while Canadian Pacific Railroad Holiday Train staff presented $1,000.
The utility pickup stopped at CHS elevator grain scale. To the firefighters’ surprise, and that of food shelf coordinator Audrey Erwin, the non-perishable food items weighed about 860 pounds.
“It’s great to see the CP Holiday Train roll into Kasson” Fitch said. “There has been a lot of behind-the- scenes effort to make this event happen, and we are pleased that the Kasson community has turned out today in such large numbers to see the train, and more importantly support the Dodge County Food Shelf.”
Erwin thanked the Kasson Fire Department for its efforts to engage Canadian Pacific to bring the CP Holiday Train to Kasson, and everyone who brought food items and made cash donations.
The CP Holiday Train visit generated some $ 2,800 for the food shelf. It’s going to be great to be able to assist many individuals and families as we approach the holidays.
If you were unable to attend the event and see the CP Holiday Train in person, go to YouTube and find the video titled “Canadian Pacific Holiday Train rolls through Kasson.”
Set to the music of the performers that day, it does a great job of capturing the fun and excitement experienced by the young and the young-at-heart.