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On Dec. 4, the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train will pull into the Wisconsin Dells Amtrak station once again, bringing in a spirit of giving and holiday cheer.

Established in 1999, the CP Holiday Train runs routes in the United States and Canada, bringing the joy of Christmas and charity to communities across North America. This year, the train is scheduled to arrive at 1:30 p.m. at the Amtrak stop on La Crosse St. Admission is free, but organizers ask attendees to bring non-perishable food for donation purposes.

Above all else, the Holiday Train is a fundraiser for the less fortunate, with funds and donations benefiting the Central Wisconsin Community Action Council food pantry and homeless programs. According to Dixie Marquardt, chair of the Dells Holiday Train Committee, the funds the Holiday Train brings in every year are a boon for local charities.

“This is a huge community fundraiser for the Central Wisconsin Community Action Council Food Pantry and homeless programs,” Marquardt said in an email to the Dells Events. “Especially at this time of the year and with the cold weather arriving so early.”

Starting at 1:30, kids and families can expect to see Santa and Mrs. Claus arriving at the Amtrak station, ready to hear Christmas wishes from Dells citizens and visitors alike. According to Marquardt, local DJ Jake Beard and the Wisconsin Dells Middle School band will be on-site to provide entertainment.

Volunteers at the train station will provide hot drinks, brats and hot dogs. Sandy Acres will provide holiday sleigh rides through the Dells as further entertainment.

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The capper is the raffle for any attendees. The grand prize is a pair of tickets to the Green Bay Packers home game against the Chicago Bears on Dec. 15. And these aren’t just any seats; they’re right in the front row of the end zone seats, prime Lambeau Leap territory.

According to Marquardt, anyone wishing to participate can purchase raffle tickets at the WCCU Credit Union in Lake Delton, or at Joey Van Dinter’s American Family Insurance office in the Dells. Marquardt said that attendees can also purchase tickets at the Amtrak station on the day of the Holiday Train itself.

Representatives from the Holiday Train will be on hand as well to present a check at 2:30, as a part of Canadian Pacific’s campaign to fight hunger.

“They will present a check to the community for the food pantry,” Marquardt said. “It’s their fight against hunger campaign.”

Anyone wishing to donate non-perishable food or toys before the event can go to the AmeriGas in Baraboo or American Family Insurance in the Dells.

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