BEMIDJI -- A Christmas-themed train will be rolling into more than two-dozen Minnesota towns over the next couple of weeks, spreading holiday cheer and encouraging communities to partake in the merry season of giving.

The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train, which departed Montreal in late November for its 21st annual tour through the northern U.S., will ride into Minnesota on Dec. 5 and spend the next nine days traveling throughout the state, visiting various communities.

Made up of 14 rail cars, the 1,000-foot train is decorated with thousands of LED lights intricately arranged to create a variety of lively and festive designs, including reindeer, snowflakes and Christmas trees.

Upon arriving in each town, the train will feature a joyful holiday concert performed by Canadian singers Meghan Patrick, Tanika Charles and Kelly Prescott from a boxcar turned travelling stage. They will entertain with a mix of traditional and modern holiday-themed songs in tune with the Christmas spirit.

And although each concert is free, spectators are encouraged to make either a cash or a healthy non-perishable food item donation to help combat hunger in their community. Local food banks will be accepting donations at each stop, and all contributions will stay within that community. Canadian Pacific will also make a donation at each stop.

On the company's website, President and CEO of Canadian Pacific Railroad Keith Creel said the Holiday Train is, "Our way to help in the fight against hunger by growing awareness of this issue and providing a fun and engaging way for the public to show their support."

Since it began in 1999, the Holiday Train has raised nearly $11.9 million and 4.5 million pounds of food for food banks in North America, according to the Holiday Train's website.

Each event lasts 30 minutes, and once the final song is played, the stage door closes and the train continues on to its next destination.

For more information, visit the CP Holiday Train website at www.cpr.ca/en/community/holiday-train

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