Press-Republican

November 27, 2012

Holiday Train chugging our way

LOHR McKINSTRY
Press-Republican

---- — TICONDEROGA — The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train’s food-shelf contributions are needed more than ever this year.

Ticonderoga Town Supervisor Debra Malaney said the $1,000 community donations that the train brings are what power many of their programs that supply food for the poor.

The Canadian Pacific Railway train makes a trip across the United States and Canada every Christmas season, collecting donations for local food pantries while providing live entertainment at every stop, including, this Friday, Ticonderoga, Port Henry, Plattsburgh and Rouses Point.

MUSIC, LIGHTS

The train is decorated with hundreds of thousands of colored lights, and entertainers on the U.S. train include the Claytones and Canadian Country Music Hall of Famer Tracey Brown.

Brown and her husband, musician Randall Prescott, have been involved with producing the Holiday Train shows since 2004 and have gone on many of the tours themselves.

SHOW UP EARLY

The show schedule is Ticonderoga, 4 p.m.; Port Henry, 5:45 p.m.; Plattsburgh, 8:15 p.m.; and Rouses Point, 10 p.m.

The train arrives about 15 minutes before the show, so those attending should plan to arrive 15 to 30 minutes before the listed time at their local train station.

“It’ll be a nice event. I go every year,” Malaney said. “I’ll thank Canadian Pacific for their generosity. This year, food pantries are more needy than ever. We hope everybody turns out in force.”

She said spectators should take a nonperishable food item or monetary donation for the local food pantry with them to the train.

“We have more and more people truly in need. I’m delighted they are continuing to come around. It’s a truly worthy cause. It definitely benefits our people.”

‘GREAT ENTERTAINMENT’

Moriah Town Supervisor Thomas Scozzafava and Port Henry Village Mayor Ernest Guerin will be there to greet the Holiday Train.

“It’s great entertainment for people in the community and from outside the community,” Scozzafava said. “Kids really enjoy Santa, the lights on the train, the whole event.”

He said there’s a spirit of giving that comes with the train.

“The whole purpose is the help food pantries. The food pantry (in Moriah) has been hurting. This donation carries them through to April.”

START OF SEASON

City of Plattsburgh Mayor Donald M. Kasprzak said Canadian Pacific should be commended for helping people in need with its train.

“The annual Holiday Train is always the beginning of the holiday season, which is always a special time of year. This event also showcases the generosity of the people of the North Country, when items are donated to the food pantry for those less fortunate than many of us are.”

HOT COCOA TRADITION

Rouses Point Village Clerk Carol Hanfield said Mayor Francis J. Baker plans to serve free hot chocolate at the train, just as former Mayor George Rivers did for many years.

“The mayor will be there, and the mayor will be serving hot chocolate,” she said. “He will be carrying on the tradition.”

She said the $1,000 contribution from the railroad is invaluable to them. St. Patrick’s Catholic Church maintains the local food shelf, and the Rev. Clyde Lewis will accept the donation from CP Railway.

“Hundreds and hundreds of people turn out for this event,” Hanfield said. “They show up from all over. I’ve seen people from Canada, from Montreal, there. It’s pretty big. A lot of locals, but people from Mooers and all over (too).”

There’s a pre-Holiday Train event in Rouses Point on Friday. This year, the Rouses Point Village Parade of Toys will start at 6:45 p.m. at Rouse Park, with Santa arriving on a firetruck and the mayor then escorting everyone to the Village Offices.

“Singers from the village sing carols,” Hanfield said. “We serve hot chocolate, and the kids get a little token, and the library donates a book for them.”

RAISED MILLIONS

Since it began in 1999, the Holiday Train program has raised $2.4 million and generated about 2.6 million pounds of food donations for local food pantries.

This year, Canadian Pacific will also donate funds to help victims of Hurricane Sandy: $250,000 to the American Red Cross; $250,000 to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City; and $250,000 to New Jersey Gov. Christie’s Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund.

Email Lohr McKinstry: lmckinstry@pressrepublican.com