CP Holiday Train returns to in-person event

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The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train will visit both Guttenberg and Marquette on Wednesday, Dec. 7. This marks the train’s first in-person stops since 2019. (Times-Register file photo)

Stops planned in Guttenberg and Marquette on Dec. 7


By Audrey Posten, Times-Register


After two years of virtual celebrations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train will bring its festive display of lights and live music to communities in person this holiday season.


Now in its 24th year, the Holiday Train will make two stops in Clayton County on Wednesday, Dec. 7: Guttenberg (east side of the Schiller Street railway crossing) at 12:45 p.m. and Marquette (marina parking lot) at 2:45 p.m.


Entertainment will include Canadian artists Kelly Prescott and Alan Doyle, who will perform a mix of classic and modern holiday tunes. Santa Claus will also make an appearance. The show will last approximately a half hour at each stop.


No one is more excited to see the Holiday Train back in person than Clayton County Food Shelf Manager Utoni Ruff. Attendees are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items or a monetary donation as admission, and Canadian Pacific also presents a generous check—making the visit one of the food shelf’s largest donation campaigns of the year.


The food shelf still conducted donation drives in conjunction with virtual Holiday Train events in 2020 and 2021.


“Those did very well for us,” said Ruff, “but it’s even better with the train. People will be very excited.”


According to Ruff, need is currently up. Families received additional support through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) during the pandemic, but the amount reverted to pre-COVID levels earlier this year.


Food shelf attendance picked up dramatically as a result, more than doubling from 84 to 210 families per month since July.


“This is what the Holiday Train means to me,” said Ruff.


Food costs have also increased this year.


“You wouldn’t believe the food bill here. My prices are up 40 to 60 percent,” she stated.


Ruff said Canadian Pacific will match monetary donations at the Holiday Train stops. Suggested food items are cereal, canned fruit, peanut butter and tuna. Toiletries—which cannot be purchased through SNAP—are also welcome. That includes laundry soap, hand soap, dish soap, toothpaste, shampoo and toilet paper.


The Holiday Train is in high demand, and stops change year to year. Despite Clayton County’s  weekday afternoon times, Ruff said it’s important for community members to turn out and show their support, so the train continues to come back.


“I’m hoping to keep our count up,” she noted.


Other area Holiday Train stops include: Tuesday, Dec. 6 - Dubuque at 8:30 p.m.; Wednesday, Dec. 7 - Lansing at 4:50 p.m. and New Albin at 6:15 p.m.

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