The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train made a pit stop in Hastings, bringing along its festive decor, a live concert and a $4,500 check for the Hastings Family Services.
The 1,000-foot train and its 14 Christmas-themed rail cars pulled into the Hastings depot at 500 Second St. E. just past 8 p.m. on Dec. 11. Hundreds of residents cheered as the train slowed to a stop, anxiously awaiting the performances of Kelly Prescott and Alan Doyle.
Performing Christmas classics, such as “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas,” Prescott and Doyle had residents of all ages singing along.
In between acts, the true purpose of the Holiday Train’s excursion was realized.
Hastings Family Service Executive Director Amy Sutton was ushered onto the stage and presented with a giant check for $4,500. The generous gift headlined what was a wave of giving, as the Hastings Family Service had collection stations for cash and non-perishable food donations.
Sutton was taken aback by the generosity of the Holiday Train and the residents, and she led the crowd in a resounding show of appreciation.
“This is so great because it can do so much,” Sutton said.
She thanked the Holiday Train for its support of food banks throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin.
“There are struggling families in every single community, but there aren’t always places like Hastings Family Service, and that’s because of all of you,” she said.
She then led the crowd in a huge “thank you,” which was “loud and proud.”
Despite the live music, there wasn’t a louder moment of the evening than when the residents of Hastings joined Sutton in shouting thank you.