The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train will make its annual stop in Columbus Sunday.
The train’s arrival is part of “Classic Christmas in Columbus,” the city’s month-long celebration of the holiday season.
“It really plays off the small-town charm of Columbus,” said JT Cestkowski, the city’s business liaison. “It is one of the big times of the year the whole city comes out together.”
Columbus Senior Center will host a Holiday Train warm-up event Sunday from 5-8 p.m. The event features crafts, games and a movie for families. Santa will stop in for a visit from 7:30-8:30 p.m. before he heads to the Holiday Train stop. The event serves as a major fundraiser for the Columbus-Fall River Food Pantry. Attendees are encouraged to bring non-perishable items for the food bank, along with monetary donations.
The train is scheduled to arrive at about 9:05 p.m. at the Amtrak Station, 359 N. Ludington St., and depart around 9:45 p.m. The event will feature a 30-minute concert from Country artists Terri Clark, Dallas Smith and Kelly Prescott.
“It comes through at about 9 p.m. for us so it’s very dark and you get to see all the lights along the train,” Cestkowski said. “People are usually at the train depot about two, three hours before the train arrives. We crowd both sides of the train tracks and the police department closes down the street. It’s a whole big atmosphere.”
The Columbus Police Department will close down parts of Ludington Street around 8 p.m. for safety precautions.
“It’s a good excuse for the whole town to get together and celebrate Christmas,” Cestkowski said.
“Classic Christmas in Columbus” kicked off with the holiday parade and Christmas tree lighting at the Columbus Public Library Nov. 24. The following day, as part of Small Business Saturday, the city hosted a wine walk, selling 135 tickets.
The Columbus Chamber of Commerce is hosting Breakfast with Santa at Fireman’s Park Pavilion on Saturday, Dec. 2 from 8-11 a.m. Visitors to downtown Columbus can also enjoy a story walk, which runs through Jan. 2.
“You can walk between all of the businesses downtown and each one will have a piece of a story,” Cestkowski said. “This year we’re doing ‘The Story of Snow.’ You can read the entire story as you walk downtown. It’s designed to generate a little more business downtown. It worked well last year so they’re doing it again this year.”
Dec. 5, the senior center is hosting “Night With Santa,” from 6-8 p.m. The event will feature light refreshments and attendees are encouraged to bring their cameras for photos with Santa.
“The Holiday Train should be a fun, free event and everyone is encouraged to support the local food pantry while they’re there,” Cestkowski said.
For more information on all of Columbus’ holiday events, go to cityofcolumbus.wi.com.