Thursday April 24, 2014

Warm crowd greets cold boxcar

Keith Anderson

The CP Holiday Train arrives at Interior Savings Centre to entertain the visitors who turned out for the holiday tradition in it' 15th year.

Temperatures were not freezing for Saturday night's arrival of the CP Holiday Train, they only felt sub-zero due to wind chill.

"You're so cool," musician Melanie Doane said to fellow performer Matt Dusk on the boxcar stage before a crowd of 2,000 people at Interior Savings Centre.

"I'm cold right now," replied Dusk, lead singer with the Holiday Train Band, surely one of the more taxing gigs in Canada at this time of year.

Decked out in LED light displays, the train visits 150 communities in its 10,000-kilometre odyssey, starting in Beaconsfield, Que., and winding up in Port Coquitlam today.

Arriving with bags of food to donate to the Kamloops Food Bank, the Kamloops crowd gave the cross-country charity train a warm welcome, dancing to the music and savouring steaming cups of hot cocoa.

"Everyone who calls says Kamloops has the biggest turnout in the country and it doesn't surprise me," said Bernadette Siracky, food bank director. "This is fantastic."

Even as the entertainment got under way, the foodbank truck was filling with food.

"Kamloops is punching well above its weight," said MLA Todd Stone. "This is awesome."

To mark the 15th year of the national food bank fundraiser, local CP employees presented a cheque for $15,000, one of several major donations made during the visit.

"My thanks go out to CP, a great big company with a great big heart," said acting mayor Ken Christian.

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