A spectacle of light and sound will be traveling the rails across Minnesota this week.
Canadian Pacific's annual Holiday Train is back in the state. It starts Sunday in Winona, Wabasha and Hastings, and will be in the Twin Cities Monday and Tuesday before heading to northwestern Minnesota. The train made a stop in La Crescent earlier in December.
The 1,000-foot train features brightly decorated cars and live music. Canadian Pacific spokesman Andy Cummings said it also gives back to local communities.
"We have free shows. You're welcome to attend with your family, and all we ask is that, if you can, you make a donation to your local food shelf," he said. "At each stop we have a food shelf that we work directly with. They set up a collection station, so you can make a cash donation or a nonperishable food item donation. So everything you give at a Holiday Train stop stays local to help your neighbors in need."
It's the 20th year that the Holiday Train has criss-crossed North America; it stops in more than 160 communities across the U.S. and Canada. Cummings said it takes a lot of work.
"It is a massive planning effort," he said. "We start very early in the year, identifying musical acts. Every year we try and vary up the look of the train; we change out some decorations. This is a train with hundreds of thousands of technology-leading LED lights on board — we try to have fun with that."
Among other holiday events taking place in Minnesota, the annual Holidazzle celebration in Minneapolis continues Thursdays through Sundays, through Dec. 23; and the Bentleyville light display along the Duluth harborfront is open each night through Dec. 26.