Even with cancellation, Holiday Train a fundraising successA blizzard may have cancelled Canadian Pacific Railway’s Holiday Train stop in Cottage Grove, but a flurry of cash donations to the local food shelf still made the event a success, an organizer said.
A blizzard may have cancelled Canadian Pacific Railway’s Holiday Train stop in Cottage Grove, but a flurry of cash donations to the local food shelf still made the event a success, an organizer said.
Months in the making, the Holiday Train stop was cancelled just hours before the train was to stop in Cottage Grove Saturday evening. The storm conditions made it too dangerous to hold a large-scale outdoor event, said Cottage Grove Mayor Myron Bailey and public safety officials.
Mary Slusser, who leads the committee that organizes the popular annual event, said the decision to call off the Holiday Train “was almost a relief … because everything was kind of falling apart.”
The event DJ had backed out, and Cottage Grove Public Safety was struggling to muster enough reserve officers to help police the event. And with snowy streets, blustery winds and plummeting temperatures, attendance at the Saturday night event — which last year drew roughly 8,000 — was sure to be sparse, Slusser said. Holiday Train events in St. Paul and Minneapolis were also cancelled.
Despite the local cancellation, Slusser said the seventh annual Cottage Grove Holiday Train event was a success. The committee raised almost $61,000 — nearly $11,000 more than its goal — for the Friends in Need Food Shelf in St. Paul Park. That figure tops last year’s $58,000 fundraising total. It was an all-time record for the event that Canadian Pacific officials have said is the largest on the holiday light-adorned train’s trip across North America. Roughly 8,000 pounds of food was also donated, with more to be counted, Slusser said.
“Even though (Saturday night’s) event didn’t take place, it was a very successful event,” Slusser said.