Village of Hartland - North America's longest rolling fundraiser is coming to Hartland at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 6, in the parking lot adjacent to Cottonwood Avenue and Pawling Avenue.

Bundle up and look out for the brightly decorated locomotive with holiday cheer.

The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train operates coast-to-coast under the Holiday Train banner, with about 150 shows held across Canada and the U.S. in November and December.

Andy Cummings, media relations manager, said the mission is to raise money, food and awareness for local food banks and food shelves. CP drops off a check at the local food pantry at each stop. Cummings hopes people who attend the shows make donations to the food pantry.

"We have raised $12 million and 4 million pounds of food across North America," Cummings said.

The concept for the holiday train came up in 1999. CP employees were asked what type of charity they would like to see. The resounding answer involved tackling the issue of food insecurity.

"The issue had salience in their community," Cummings said.

Cummings explained they wanted to see whether an outdoor concert in December would be a success. People responded in big numbers and due to the popularity, they now have two trains. One train travels in Canada, while the other train travels around the U.S.

The train has added many stops, including an expanded presence in the Milwaukee area.

"Last year we added Wauwatosa and had a phenomenal response," he said.

Hartland does the holidays 

​Cummings expressed how impressed he has been with the crowds in Hartland. According to the Hartland Chamber of Commerce, their goal is to raise $12,000.

"Hartland has been greatly supportive. They have festive activities going on so people will be out and about on Dec. 6," he said.

In addition to the train, there will be an appearance by Santa and Forest the Christmas Horse courtesy of Knollwood Farms. Other holiday fun includes a free Elf Glow Wand with separate $5 monetary donation. Free popcorn with monetary donation to food pantry courtesy of The Chiropractors. Zion Lutheran Church, 415 W. Capitol Drive, will provide free parking and a place to warm up.

Chamber Executive Director Lynn Minturn said in a written statement, "This is the only stop in Waukesha County, so having this train stop in Hartland is a huge benefit, as everything collected here stays in the community benefiting both the Hartland Food Pantry and St. Vincent De Paul Food Panty. Besides that, where else can you take your family for a good cause, to see a spectacular sight and hear a half hour concert featuring some of the finest musicians and artist from both Canada and the US, all free!"

Volunteers needed

This is the 9th year that the train has stopped in Hartland, and each year the crowd increases.

"This year we expect good attendance because even though it is on a week night, it’s arriving earlier in the evening.   What that means, is that we are in need of many, many more volunteers to keep the crowd safe," Minturn said in a written statement.

The following areas need volunteers:

Cotton Avenue on the sidewalk in front of JC Bogar's Restaurant from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. needs 8-10 volunteers to selling Elf Glow Wands. Volunteers meet in front of JC Bogar’s at 4:30 p.m. for instructions. About 50 adult volunteers are needed on Pawling Avenue along the tracks from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.  Organizers will be working with the police department to do crowd control along the tracks while we are waiting for the train’s arrival and during the performance. Volunteers report at the corner of Cottonwood and Pawling Avenues (in front of Ordways Tap) at 4:30 p.m. to receive instructions.

After the show 10 volunteers are needed on Pawling Avenue from 7:30 p.m. to  8 p.m.to clean up along the tracks. Volunteers would move all trash containers to parking lot on Pawling Avenue for pick up on Wednesday. In addition, 10 volunteers are needed for Pawling Avenue (along the tracks)  on Wednesday, Dec. 7 at  9:00 a.m. for final clean up along the tracks. Please contact Lynn Minturn at info@hartland-wi.org or 262-367-7059 if you can help in any of these areas:

Warm up by dancing

After the train pulls into the station, a stage is dropped down for a box car. In front of neon lights and smoke, a band plays a free 30-minute show. Cummings said every year is different with new sets and other elements.

This year features newcomer Colin James, who performs blues-rock music. ​​​​​​His career that has spanned more than 25 years and 18 albums. Musician Kelly Prescott is also on board for another year.

Prescott has performed during many train tours and was featured on many of the past Holiday Train CDs, including the gold record release in 2005. I

Cummings finds many families come out for the train performance. "Some of them remember watching the train as kids, and now, as adults, they are bringing their own kids, he said.

Cummings added that he hopes people will keep coming and engage in the spirit of giving back.

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