Holiday Train lights up Cottage Grove a 10th time (w/video)Thousands of bundled-up onlookers on Tuesday greeted the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train in Cottage Grove as the cross-continent Christmastime fundraiser made its 10th-annual stop in south Washington County.
Thousands of bundled-up onlookers on Tuesday greeted the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train in Cottage Grove as the cross-continent Christmastime fundraiser made its 10th-annual stop in south Washington County.
Braving chilly temperatures in the teens and rush-hour congestion, organizers estimated around 5,000 people welcomed the brightly lit train along West Point Douglas Road to take part in the hour-long event that raised funds for the Friends in Need Food Shelf in St. Paul Park.
Cottage Grove Holiday Train Committee leader Mary Slusser said the turnout was down compared to the roughly 10,000 people who showed up in 2011. She said that likely was due to the weeknight visit; in recent years the Holiday Train has stopped in Cottage Grove on the weekend.
Still, Slusser said the visit went off without a hitch. She said people told her that the Holiday Train musical entertainment was better than in previous years, and the appearance of local Elvis impersonator Art Kistler was an added treat.
“Everything went fine,” Slusser said. “It was a perfect night for a winter event.”
The event — a “tradition with a mission,” as Slusser called it recently — raised $101,000 for south Washington County’s local food bank last year.
As the train rolled out of Cottage Grove, Slusser said the event and related fundraising efforts had already raised more than $100,000 for the food shelf. Friends in Need Director Michelle Rageth said this year’s donations will top 2011 totals.
“Checks will (continue to) flow in now,” Slusser said.