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Talent, weather increase Holiday Train crowd...

An estimated 400 people turned out in Kenmare Thursday night  to see a show that should have gotten everyone in the Christmas spirit.

12/19/17 (Tue)

An estimated 400 people turned out in Kenmare Thursday night  to see a show that should have gotten everyone in the Christmas spirit.

The Canadian Pacific Railway’s Holiday Train was in town with a  trio of well-known country music stars to entertain the crowd and to raise awareness for the Kenmare Food Pantry.

Kelly Prescott, who was on the train her fourth consecutive year, opened the show, followed by Dallas Smith and finally the biggest name on the train, Terri Clark.

It was an interesting, half-hour show that included Clark and Smith interacting with the audience. And, as the show was ending, Clark got down on the platform and took photos with those who were closest to the train.

The train, which was scheduled to make its Kenmare stop at 8:30 Thursday night, was a few minutes behind schedule.

Suddenly, someone saw green lights off in the distance. It was the Holiday Train coming around a bend south of town.

When the train arrived, people began cheering and taking pictures as if someone famous came to town.

And they did, in the names of Prescott, Smith and Clark.

Canadian Pacific didn’t waste any time for the anxious Kenmare crowd. There’s normally a wait of 15 minutes after the train arrives to begin its show. This time it was only 6 minutes when the platform came down and the loud and energetic Christmas music began.

It was Prescott and the Canadian Pacific Band opening the show. Prescott is quite familiar with Kenmare and Carpio audiences and the crowd could see, she was comfortable and having fun.

After the first number, CP rail officials welcomed Mayor Dwight Flygare who said a few words on behalf of the Christmas season.

Then, Jane Kalmbach and Emma Condit of the Kenmare Food Pantry, climbed aboard the Holiday Train to accept a donation check from Canadian Pacific for $4,500 to go toward the food pantry.

As that was happening, people continued pouring into the CP rail parking lot with bags of non-perishable food items, also destined for the food pantry.

Kalmbach thanked Canadian Pacific for the donation and Condit, who is a high school student, explained that she and several other girls get together with Kalmbach every Friday morning to pack food items for the needy in the Kenmare school.

That’s why the Holiday Train, with tens of thousands of colored lights, makes its way across the northern tier of the United States, with a second train across the southern tier of Canada, to raise awareness for food pantries in every community they stop from Montreal to Kenmare.

According to Andy Cummings, a public affairs representative with Canadian Pacific, the trains stop in more than 150 communities from coast to coast with the largest cities being Montreal and Minneapolis and the smallest being Elbow Lake, Minn., and North Portal, Saskatchewan.

The Thursday stop in Kenmare was the final stop in the U.S., before heading to North Portal, Estevan and finally on to Medicine Hat, Alberta.

When the music returned, it was loud and professional. The stars performed a couple of country songs, including “Poor, Poor, Pitiful Me,” a song written by Warren Zevon in 1976 and originally performed by Linda Ronstadt.

Clark, however, did a cover of the song in 1996 that made it to the top 5 on the Canadian country charts.

“Here’s a song from the ‘90s,” Clark told the crowd. “The children won’t remember this because they were probably on their mothers' arms when they were vacuuming.”

Smith sang several Christmas songs with Clark and Prescott playing back up guitars to the Canadian Pacific Band.

When the show was about to end, Smith decided to do an encore, sort of.

“This is our last stop for the night,” he said. “I think we can play one more.”

And they did. An up tempo version of “Run, Run Rudolph” got the crowd into the show as people sang along and danced in front of the converted box car.

With that, the country trio thanked Kenmare and thanked Canadian Pacific, the platform rose up and the train left town headed for the Canadian border, but not before Clark shook some hands and took some pictures with the locals.

2017 was the 19th year the Holiday Train has been in existence. It’s first stop in Kenmare was in 2005. It has been stopping each year in Kenmare or Carpio since that time.

And what a difference a year makes. In 2016, the temperature was 47 degrees colder and there was 18 inches of snow on the ground. Thursday night, there was no snow and the temperature was 33 degrees when the concert started.

In fact, Clark mentioned the weather in her opening remarks to the crowd.

“Welcome Kenmare,” she said. “Isn’t this nice. This is like summer here isn’t it? We’ve been so blessed on this year’s train, with nice weather across the country.” ... Read EVERY WORD on EVERY PAGE of The Kenmare News by subscribing--online or in print!