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Canadian Pacific Holiday Train chugs through Pingree Grove

Santwaves goodbye from caboose Canadian Pacific Holiday TraThursday PIngree Grove.  
December 5  2012 | Michael Smart~Sun-Times Media

Santa waves goodbye from the caboose on the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train Thursday in PIngree Grove. December 5, 2012 | Michael Smart~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 7, 2013 7:13AM

PINGREE GROVE — A festive crowd greeted the 1,000-foot long Canadian Pacific Holiday Train with its 14 decorated rail cars as it made a scheduled stop Wednesday morning in the village.

The train left Beaconsfield, Quebec, on Nov. 28. It will make its final stop of the U.S. and Canada for 2012 on Dec. 18, in British Columbia.

Attendees in Pingree Grove were treated to a medley of holiday tunes performed aboard the train by The Claytones and singer Tracey Brown. Santa visited with the children in the audience.

Since its inception in 1999, according to Canadian Pacific officials, more than $6.4 million has been raised and more than 2.6 million pounds of food has been collected in the United States and Canada to help the needy.

This year, the total monetary donation raised at more than 50 Holiday Train stops will be tallied and a matching donation of up to $250,000 will be provided by Canadian Pacific to Feeding America, whose member food banks are continuing to provide food and other supplies to victims of Hurricane Sandy.

The Northern Illinois Food Bank on Wednesday received both a check for $5,550 and 168,352 pounds of food from Kelly Day, director of administration, and Tom Fordonski, senior vice president of human resources, at John B. Sanfilippo & Son Inc., Elgin.

The food bank also received a check for $2,000 from Canadian Pacific.

In addition, Flood Brothers Disposal donated six pallets of food, while the village of Pingree Grove donated more than 3,000 non-perishable food items.

“Every year, the village holds a ‘Giving in the Grove’ contest to see which district in the village will donate the most food items,” said Pat Doherty, public works supervisor. “The Heritage District won the contest this year with over 1,800 items, including 1,776 boxes of macaroni.”

This year marks the third time that the Holiday Train has stopped in Pingree Grove.

“We’re excited about our third visit with the Holiday Train,” said village President Greg Marston. “It’s a great opportunity to collect and donate non-perishable items for the poor. Thank you, Canadian Pacific, for making Pingree Grove one of your stops.”

Members of St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Pingree Grove offered attendees hot chocolate, coffee, donuts, candy canes, and cookies.

Denise Wiedmeyer, the village’s community events chairperson, was selling Pingree Grove calendars for $10 each.

“This is the first time we are selling calendars,” Wiedmeyer said. “They are available through the village hall. One hundred percent of the money from the sale of the calendars goes to community events.”

Kevin and Michelle Sweeney of Elgin visited the Holiday Train with their 6-year-old daughter, Caitlin. Wednesday marked the second time that Caitlin saw the train in Pingree Grove.

This year marked the first time that Rebekah Bumgarner, 4, of Genoa saw the train. She came with her father, Clyde Bumgarner, a member of the Genoa-Kingston Fire Department.

Crystal Lake mom Mary Valentine brought her son Hunter, 4, and daughter, Brooklyn, 3, to see the train for their first time.

“Hunter is a train buff,” his mother said. “He has 10 train sets at home. The kids are really excited.”

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