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Holiday train returns to Hastings Dec. 11

Another holiday tradition will return to Hastings at about 4:15 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11, when the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train stops at the depot on East Second Street.

As in previous years, the stop offers entertainment and an opportunity to raise food and funds for the food shelf at Hastings Family Service.

Before the brightly-decorated train arrives, there will be some other activities at the depot. All are invited.

A sing-along with Kelly Casey-Spavin from Entertainment Shows starts at 3:30 p.m. Frosty the Snowman will mingle with the crowd and Hastings Mayor Paul Hicks and Hastings Family Service executive Director Chris Koop will present the results from, the "10 Days of Giving," sponsored by Merchants Bank.

Those attending the event can get a special "Boarding Pass" when they donate $10 or 10 pound of nonperishable food items for the food shelf. Free cups of hot chocolate will be available to those who have a "Boarding Pass" (while they last). The "Boarding Pass" is also worth valuable discounts at participating businesses,

Treats and refreshments will be provided by the Mom's Club east. Donations will be accepted for them.

This is the 12th year the CP Holiday Train has been raising food, money and awareness for food banks in communities across Canada and the United States. More than $4.8 million and 2.3 million pounds of food have been raised.

In December 1999, CP began running a freight car decorated with thousands of Christmas lights across Canada to raise awareness of the issue of hunger. In 2001 CP launched a second Holiday Train in the United States.

At each stop, there is entertainment and a presentation of a corporate gift to the local food shelf. The community is encouraged to donate food and funds, which stay in the community.

Scheduled to perform on the U.S. Holiday Train is Melanie Doane. Over the last 10 years, she has promoted her solo albums, raised a family, and earned her reputation as one of Canada's most talented and diverse musicians and entertainers.

She embraces elements of rock, pop, folk, country and jazz, using them in a style that is all her own.

Doane has four Top 40 singles, a Juno Award for Best New Artist, a Canadian Radio Award for Most Charted Rock Artist, more than 200 shows in Canada and the United States performing with Jann Arden, Sarah McLachlan's "Lilith Fair," and Great Big Sea, and a Gold Record Award.

Between raising her children and making records, Doane has also traveled the United States with friend Gary Sinise playing in his Lt. Dan Band, toured Canada with Barney Bentall and the Bluebird North concert series, played shows with Canadian Idol alum Rex Goudie, had her music featured on the ABC show, "Brothers and Sisters" and the Canadian play, "Still Desire You." She traveled cross Canada and the United States on the 2007 and 2008 CP Holiday Trains, playing 60 shows in less than a month while raising money for local food banks.