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From railyard to concert venue: Holiday Train event preparation under way in Cottage Grove

Canadian Pacific's Ed Greenberg (right) talks with Friends in Need Food Shelf Director Michelle Rageth and Cottage Grove Holiday Train Committee leader Mary Slusser Friday as workers begin setting up the stage where Sheryl Crow and Take 6 will perform Saturday evening. (Bulletin photo by Scott Wente)1 / 3
Crews set up the Holiday Train concert stage and unload music equipment on Friday ahead of the event Saturday at Canadian Pacific's rail yard in Cottage Grove. (Bulletin photo by Scott Wente)2 / 3
Concert equipment boxes labeled for singer Sheryl Crow were unloaded from a semitrailer in preparation for the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train concert Saturday in Cottage Grove. (Bulletin photo by Scott Wente)3 / 3

A railroad vehicle staging yard is being transformed into an outdoor concert venue and activity area as organizers begin final preparation for the Holiday Train concert Saturday evening in Cottage Grove.

Crews on Friday began setting up the main concert stage, where Sheryl Crow and Take 6 will perform, and a series of large tents that will make up Canadian Pacific’s North Pole Station. The event, celebrating 15 years of Canadian Pacific’s cross-continental Holiday Train events that raise hunger awareness, will be staged on a large paved parking lot at the company’s rail yard at 95th Street and Ideal Avenue, near the Jamaica Avenue-Highway 61 interchange.

The stage is the same one used for recent concerts in Calgary and Hamilton, near Toronto, said Canadian Pacific spokesman Ed Greenberg. Cottage Grove is the only city on the Holiday Train’s U.S. route that is hosting a large anniversary concert.

The event serves as a fundraiser for the Friends in Need Food Shelf and for Feeding America. Organizers are planning for 20,000 to 30,000 people and acknowledge weather will be the key factor in turnout. The National Weather Service forecast calls for a high of 17 degrees on Saturday and a 40 percent chance of snow, mainly before 3 p.m.

The concert event is free, and parking at designated lots with shuttle bus service is recommended. Gates will open at 4 p.m. with children’s activities, ice sculptures and Santa at the North Pole Station. The program and concert will begin at 5 p.m. and should last until about 7 p.m. The North Pole Station activities will remain open during the concert. Free cookies and hot cocoa and cookies will be available.

The Holiday Train will arrive on site before the event begins Saturday afternoon. 

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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