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Bulletin editorial: Enjoy well-deserved Holiday Train spotlight

Got plans for Saturday? You should.

Grab the family, pack a bag of toiletries to donate and head to the biggest event ever in Cottage Grove.

The Canadian Pacific’s Holiday Train concert featuring Sheryl Crow and Take 6 and the related family entertainment ought to be a great time and a good way to remind us all of the festive train’s purpose: drawing attention to hunger.

Cottage Grove is getting much of the attention given the event’s location but this is a celebration of the generosity of the entire south Washington County community — St. Paul Park, Newport, Grey Cloud Island and beyond.

The recognition has certainly been earned.

Over the past 21 years the community has supported Friends in Need and the local families who rely on the food shelf. For the last 11 years residents have opened their wallets to donate money, food and toiletry items to the Friends in Need Food Shelf at fundraisers linked to the Holiday Train visit. More than $500,000 has been donated over 10 years, much of it the result of work by the local Holiday Train Committee.

Since it is paying to stage the large concert — this is the only large Holiday Train 15th anniversary event in the U.S. — Canadian Pacific took over most of the planning for this year’s stop. That’s understandable, but it relegated the local Holiday Train Committee to an unusual background role.

However, the committee of local volunteers still is plenty busy raising money for the food shelf and helping with Canadian Pacific’s big event. Plus, committee members will be among volunteers working at the concert and the North Pole Station. They’re not taking the year off.

So go and enjoy the show. And think of all those who made it happen — and all those who have benefited from the kindness of the community.