Creston will once again be treated to a visit by the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train on Dec. 12 and Creston Mayor Ron Toyota is using the occasion to challenge Creston Valley residents to make donations to the food bank and Christmas hamper fund.
The Holiday Train international tour is an annual fundraising and musical event that passes through Creston on alternating years.
This year, entertainers Valdy, Brothers Dubé and Tracey Brown are performing at stops on the Canadian portion of the route. Another train travels on a U.S. route.
“In 2009, the holiday train made a $1,500 donation to the Gleaners for its food bank program, along with many food items,” Toyota said. “This year, I am challenging residents to raise at least $5,000 more for the food bank and the Creston Ministerial Association hamper program. This is perfect timing as the preparations to prepare more than 400 food hampers are already underway.”
Toyota said that he is kicking off his challenge with a $500 personal donation.
“My challenge is to every employed or successfully retired person to contribute what they can. A tax receipt will be provided for those who are able to donate $20 or more.”
Donations can be dropped off or mailed to Creston Town Hall, 138 10th Avenue North.
“The magic of the Holiday Train is phenomenal,” said producer Randall Prescott, who is into his 10th year of putting together the entertainment for both trains. “To be able to bring this level of talent to thousands of people on this musical roadshow for food bank programs is very special and something I am proud to be a part of.”
Starting the last weekend of November and going until Dec. 17, two Holiday Trains will stop in about 150 communities in eight U.S. Midwest and Northeast states and six Canadian provinces in the fight against hunger. Each Holiday Train features 14 rail cars decorated with hundreds of thousands of technology-leading LED festival lights and other decorations. One of the cars is a modified boxcar that has been turned into a traveling stage for performers.
Since its launch in 1999, the Holiday Train program has raised close to $5.6 million and about 2.5 million pounds of food for North American food banks. Everything raised in each community stays there for local distribution for those in need.
For additional information on the musicians, photos, 2011 schedules, a route map and downloadable pictures of the two trains, visit www.cpr.ca. Supporters can also join the Holiday Train on Facebook and follow the trains on Twitter @CPHolidaytrain.
The Holiday Train is scheduled to arrive in Creston at 9:45 on Monday morning. It will stop on the tracks immediately behind Millennium Park, across from the RCMP station.