- Visit Columbus
- Holiday Train
2023 Holiday Train
The 2023 CPKC Holiday Train tours Canada and the United States Nov. 20 through Dec. 19, raising money, food and awareness for the important work that food banks do in their communities. Professional musicians play free concerts from the brightly decorated train's stage. CPKC makes a donation to the local food shelf at each stop and encourages attendees to also donate.
Since its inception in 1999, the CPKC Holiday Train has raised more than $22.5 million and more than 5 million pounds of food for community food banks across North America.
Monday, December 4, 2023, at 9:05pm marks the arrival of the Holiday Train! Come see the wonder as it rolls into the historic Amtrak Depot near downtown Columbus, WI. Please be aware that a freight train passes through about an hour before the Holiday Train. There will be lots of fun family-friendly activities before the concert which begins at 9:15pm until 9:45pm with a presentation of the donations to the Columbus/Fall River Food Pantry during the intermission. The event is free to attend, and guests are encouraged to make a monetary donation to our local food pantry or donate a non-perishable/unexpired food and unused household items before and during the train's arrival.
Each year, this beautifully illuminated train travels across CPKC’s network spreading holiday cheer and raising donations to help people struggling with food insecurity. One of the few stops in all of Wisconsin, Columbus welcomes guests with live music and many fun activities! This year's performance will be done by BRELAND and Tenille Townes.
An American singer-songwriter and record producer, BRELAND was the hip-hop and country hybrid hit #1 on Spotify's Global Viral 50 in 2019 and was featured on best-of-the-year lists from NPR to The New York Times. The Jersey-born-and-raised artist has been hailed as the "symbol of country music's ongoing evolution," on Rolling Stone and has amassed over 1 billion career streams. BRELAND has scored high-profile looks on ABC's Good Morning America, ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live!, CBS Mornings and more.
Award-winning singer, songwriter and musician Tenille Townes hails from Grande Prairie, Alberta. Her acclaimed debut album was named Country Album of the Year at the 50th JUNO Awards and Album of the Year at the 2021 Canadian Country Music Awards. Townes also earned her third consecutive Female Vocalist of the Year trophy. Additionally, she has raised over $2.5 million for Big Hearts for Big Kids, a non-profit she started when she was 12 years old to benefit a youth shelter in her hometown, which has grown to support organizations such as Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee, S.A.F.E. Animal Haven, and the Manna House.
Food Pantry Donations
The Columbus/Fall River Food Pantry usage is up almost 40% from a year ago. If you are planning to attend the Holiday Train, and if able, please donate non-perishable, non-expired food or unused household and personal items, or make a monetary donation.
Prior to the CPKC Holiday Train event, monetary donations may be dropped off at Farmers & Merchants Union Bank. Non-perishable, unexpired food, and unused personal items may be dropped off at Columbus Pick 'n Save. If you are doing a Food Drive, please contact Colleen Waterworth in advance at 920-210-6266 for the most current list of suggested items and to schedule a drop off time.
During the event, there will be a designated area by the Amtrak Station where guests can bring non-perishable, unexpired food, unused household items, or monetary donations. So please consider donating to Columbus/Fall River Food Pantry to help make this event and the holidays a joyful one for needy families. CPKC will be presenting an additional donation to our local food pantry to be revealed during the festive holiday concert. The Holiday Train is the largest donation event for the food pantry each year.
Items Needed for the Food Pantry:
In addition to monetary needs, the following list of items are currently appreciated: Cereal, Canned Fruit, Soup, Crackers (Saltines, Ritz, Townhouse), Pasta, Spaghetti Sauce, Pancake Mix, Syrup, Baked Beans, Canned Meat, Canned Vegetables, Peanut Butter, Jelly, Cake Mix, Frosting, Rice, Instant Potatoes, Hamburger-Chicken-Tuna Helper, SpaghettiOs, Mac & Cheese, Toilet Paper, Toothpaste, Toothbrushes, and Deodorant.
Things to Do
In addition to donating to the local food pantry, there will be plenty of things to do before the Holiday Train arrives!
Holiday Train Warm-Up: Located at the Community Center (125 N. Dickason Blvd.), from 6:30pm - 8:00pm attendees can keep warm and have some fun! There will be games to play and crafts to make led by the Columbus Public Library volunteers. Kids will also have the opportunity to visit Santa!
Warm-Up Treats: Visit Julie's Java House, where you can purchase hot dogs, sloppy joes, hot cider, sweet treats, and Ghirardelli hot cocoa. Or just outside Julie's, the Salvation Army will be offering free hot cocoa.
Warming Station: Warm up at one of the various warming barrels in the parking lot of the Amtrak Station. The Rotary Club will be selling hot chocolate and cookies. Stop by and grab something to warm your belly! The Kiwanis Group will be handing out candy canes and coloring books to kids while they wait for Santa and the Holiday Train.
On Monday, December 4th, from 7pm to 11pm for the CPKC Holiday Train event, Highway 73 (Ludington St.) between Church St. and Middleton St. will be closed to traffic and will no parking.
Handicap parking will be available with demonstration of placard between Middleton St. and Julie's Java House on Highway 73.
During this time there will be no parking on both sides of Church St. between Water St. & Dickason Blvd. There will be no parking on several properties along Water St. as marked by no parking signs and barricades.
We will have additional Road Closure signage from north of Middleton St. to the intersection of 73 and 151 to alert southbound motorists.
Places to Stay
The CPKC Holiday Train arrives in Columbus on Monday, December 4th at 9:05pm with the concert from 9:15pm until 9:45pm. Other activities take place prior to the train's arrival. Guests from all over Wisconsin and beyond partaking in the festivities may spend the night (or weekend) at one of our wonderful establishments with their attractive amenities.
Come Celebrate the Holidays in Columbus!
"I could not be more excited to be getting back on board the Holiday Train again. I feel like I witnessed the best parts of the human spirit on the ride last year, with everybody bundled in the cold bringing donations for their local food bank,” said Tenille Townes, Canadian country music singer-songwriter and CCMA Award winner. “I can’t wait to play and see communities along the way coming together again this year!”
The event is free, with CPKC encouraging every attendee to make a monetary or heart-healthy food donation to ease hunger needs in their community. The Columbus/Fall River Food Pantry will be accepting donations at the Amtrak Station in Columbus to help ensure those in need can access adequate food this holiday season and year-round.
For frequently asked questions about the Holiday Train, visit the CPKC FAQs page.