'Holiday Train' Impresses in the Frigid Cold -- But Lower Attendance Than Expected

Canadian Pacific - Holiday Train - Cottage Grove - Sheryl Crow

This past weekend played host to the 2013 Holiday Train, an event that featured musical superstar Sheryl Crow. Attending with my family and Brandon Hedges and his family, it was quite an experience to take in on the brutally cold evening. And to be honest, it was so cold, especially for the kids, we left before Sheryl Crow took to the stage for her free concert. But that didn't stop the 2013 Holiday train from raising roughly $136,000 (a Holiday Train record) for local food shelves and totaling about 13,000 pounds in food donations and toiletries. Despite our early exit, a lot impressed us about this event. The parking situation was very smooth. The parking lots were off site to the actual event, with heated buses waiting to shuttle people to the huge Holiday Train extravaganza. One of the perks that blew us away was the food collection. We were just opening the trunk, ready to unload the food in the parking lot, and a golf cart of volunteers zipped over and collected the food from us. Considering that over 20,000 people were expected to attend, and "only" 15,000 braved the frigid temperatures, it seemed like there was one volunteer per person at the Holiday Train. There was plenty to do for families, from food to Santa, but the cold really sucked some of the life out of the festivities. With the event becoming so large compared to years past, it seemed like the actual train was an afterthought with all that was going on. In the past, the holiday themed train was the showcase. This year, all the hoopla was surrounding the concert stage, with the train tucked away a bit. But before we left the event all together, we stopped along Highway 61 to watch the train go by -- notice the very excited kids cheering in the background. Photo and video via: Matt Barker  

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