O n Monday, the familiar click-clack of a train rolling through Whitehall will fill the air around Main Street, but if you stop and listen closely you’ll also be able to hear the laughter of children, the harmonies of country musicians and a warm welcome from Santa Claus.
The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train of Lights is again hitting the rails to raise food, money and awareness in the fight against hunger, and will stop in Whitehall on Monday, Nov. 28.
The train will stop at the Amtrak Station on Main Street at 2:20 p.m.
Along with the live entertainment and a visit from Santa Claus, there will also be a food drive to support local food pantries during the approximately one hour stop at the Whitehall station.
Revelers are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item to donate to the Whitehall Food Pantry.
“Bring along any non-perishable donations or cash donations if they can,” said Whitehall Food Pantry director Mark Koeble.
Koeble, who has attended a number of Holiday Train events in Whitehall over the years, said he’s received a lot of support from the community, from donations to local residents who take upon their selves to fill up their car or truck and drop off donations at the food pantry after the train leaves.
“Anything you get, from food to cash donations, is greatly appreciated,” Koeble said, adding that the food pantry is faring much better that it was earlier this summer when a number of shelves were empty.
“A lot of different people have stepped to the plate to help out, but donations are always welcome.”
North America’s longest-running rolling food bank fundraiser, the Holiday Train features 14 rail cars decorated with hundreds of thousands of festive lights. Included is a modified boxcar that has been turned into a traveling stage for performers.
“If you’ve never seen it, it’s very interesting,” said Koeble. “It’s a lot of fun.”
Headlining the musical spirit of the season will be Willy Porter and Sydney Grigg.
Porter, a Wisconsin native, headlines the musical entertainment and plays acoustic guitar in the folk, rock style.
Grigg is a 23-year-old country and folk musician from Nashville, Tenn.
This is the 13th year two Holiday Trains have embarked on their journeys across Canada and portions of the United States. The U.S. train began its journey last Friday while the Canadian train began its journey on Sunday.
Since 1999, the Holiday Train program has raised nearly $5.6 million dollars and generated close to 2.5 million pounds of food donations for local food shelves in the United States and Canada.
According to organizers the train visits more than a 150 communities in eight Canadian provinces and more than a half dozen U.S. states.
After stopping in Whitehall, the train will head north, making stops in Ticonderoga, Port Henry and Plattsburgh. It also visits Saratoga (Nov. 27) and Fort Edwards before arriving in town.
To learn more about the Holiday Train, visit the Canadian Pacific Rail at www.cpr.ca. For more information on how you can help the Whitehall Food Pantry, call 499-2039.