Holiday Train rolls in December

NEW ULM – A musician that combines guitar playing, song writing and on-stage improvisational skills as a storyteller plus a threesome with three-part harmony, are coming to New Ulm Sunday, Dec. 8 on the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train.

Willy Porter and The Claytones will perform at 5:15 p.m. in the New Ulm Public Utilities lot between German Park and the railroad tracks. The same musicians will perform from box cars converted to stages at 3:15 p.m. Sunday in the Springfield Community Center parking lot, at 9:15 p.m. Sunday in the Janesville Veteran’s Memorial Park, and at 1:15 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7 at the Tracy Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern (DM&E) Rail Depot.

In Springfield, hot chocolate, coffee and Christmas cookies will be provided as local choirs sing holiday tunes.

Participants are encouraged to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to event start times to see the approaching trains decorated with many Christmas lights on 14 railcars.

The railroad will match all online donations, dollar-for-dollar, made to Feeding America to help feed those in need. Food and money donations will accepted at the concert sites and remain in the community, according to the railroad.

“It is important for everyone across the country to be conscious and aware of the struggles of those around them-even if those struggles are not the same as their own. It is a great privilege for me to unite with Feeding America in their cause to help feed those in need,” said nine-time Grammy Award winner Sheryl Crow, who is headlining a free holiday train concert with Take 6 at 5 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 14 at the Cottage Grove Rail Yard, 9250 Ideal Ave. Gates open at 4 p.m.

During the 2012 Holiday Train program, Canadian Pacific donated $250,000 to Feeding America in support of Hurricane Sandy relief. Since 1999, the program has raised $7.4 million and more than three million pounds of food for North American food banks.

Feeding America is a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks that lead the fight against hunger in the U.S. with 61,000 food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters serving more than 37 million people.

For the first time in the 15-year history of the Holiday Train, fans have a chance to win tickets to ride the train with a Capture the Spirit Facebook photo contest.

Participants can enter by liking the CP Holiday Train Facebook page and uploading up to three photos of the train, entertainment or food banks to triple your chances. Two winners will be determined by popular votes on Facebook and two will be randomly drawn.

Four top prize packs are eligible for a ride for a family of four on the 2014 Holiday Train on a leg of your choice in the U.S. or Canada plus a $500 donation in your name to your local food bank. The contest runs Nov. 26 to Dec. 27, 2013.

For more information, visit or

The New Ulm Area Emergency Food Shelf, 1305 South Valley serves low-income Brown County residents with a Social Security number who can show proof of residence, except Sleepy Eye and Springfield residents, where separate food shelves are located. Hours are noon to 3 p.m. Monday and Wednesday, and 6:30 to 8 p.m. the first Monday of each month.

New Ulm Area Food Shelf Board of Directors President Don Brand said the food shelf is doing quite well but is in need of some items including canned peas and fruit, chicken helper, size 3 & 4 diapers, rice and pasta sides, canned meals, chicken noodle and tomato soup, instant pudding and saltines.

“This is the biggest time of the year for contributions,” Brand said. “We’re got quite a few musicians and churches collecting food for us. We’re serving about 210 families a month.”

Brand said this is the third year the railroad is coming to New Ulm and that the Holiday Train stops here every other year.

“They’ll perform for about a half hour with a short program,” Brand said. “They’ve given us $1,000 donations each time. People coming to see the train are encouraged to bring a donation. We’ll have about a half dozen people there collection donations.”

For more information, call the food shelf at 507-354-7668.

Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at

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