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Holiday Train Block Party Unchanged

Waterloo Holiday Block Party

click here to see the event details:  holiday train grounds layout final 2018

Nov. 30, 8 p.m. – 1 a.m, 485 W Van Vleek Street, Waterloo IN

Parking is available within walking distance from Charleston Metals, downtown Waterloo, from Waterloo United Methodist Church, town hall, library or elementary school.

November 20, 2018

Yesterday, November 19, Waterloo got official notice from both Norfolk Southern and Canadian Pacific informing us that the CP holiday train may remain “dark” as it traverses over NS lines next Friday. The issue is concerns for safety and they are asking crowds not to gather at the tracks. This is because some people were ON the tracks last year and were not at a safe distance.

Waterloo is going to have the holiday block party anyway.  Waterloo has dozens of trains pass through town daily and leaders want to remind everyone to stay back from railroad tracks and exercise caution all year long. The Town has arranged to have extra security to keep people safe during the block party and are warning people to stay off the tracks, use crosswalks only and to be careful when watching trains!

The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train will come through Waterloo on its 20th annual trip to Chicago whether it’s lit or not on Friday night, November 30, sometime after 10 p.m. (it usually goes by between midnight and 1 a.m.).  The block party food, beverage, activity and art market vendors don’t want to cancel and residents have given support on social media asking leaders to stick with the event plans.

Patrons hope the train will be beautifully lit but if it’s not, we’ll have fun anyway. It’s free, just bring goods with pull-tab lids for a food pantry donation and enjoy vendors with several kinds of hot or cold beverages, food, entertainment and early holiday shopping with local artists and market vendors. Mr & Mrs. Santa Claus will visit, DeKalb Horseman will give wagon rides, the Fire Department is offering rides on an antique fire truck — and more!


(The following was sent previously, before the announcement that the CP holiday train may not be lit.)

November 15, 2018                         Waterloo hosts CP Holiday Train Block Party

Waterloo isn’t on the official map for the Canadian Pacific’s (CP) 20th running of the Holiday Train, but the town is holding a block party to make waiting fun for those who want to see it anyway.

The train has traveled through Waterloo for several years on its trek from Windsor to Chicago, gradually growing an audience of fans who parked and waited in their cars to see the beautifully lit train whiz past. It is slated to make the trip on Friday, November 30,th usually passing through Waterloo between midnight and 1 a.m.  Social media has become a popular way to track the train as it makes its journey.

“Last year, we were able to follow the holiday train’s progress with a train tracking system they had on their webpage,” says Tena Woenker, Town Manager and member of Waterloo Main Street–organizers of the block party.  “They may not be able to use it this year.”

“As it traveled through towns, people were facebooking and posting photos so we could see where it was and guess when it would arrive.” Woenker said. She was connecting with train watchers in Kendallville and Elkhart too so they could guess after it left Waterloo. “A lot of people have learned about the holiday train and seek it out, even if its route is not posted. They had to slow down last year because we had such a crowd!”

Activities begin at 8 p.m. at Waterloo’s Francis Thomson Memorial Park and historic Depot/Amtrak Station, 485 W. Van Vleek Street. Parking at the block party is limited to Amtrak riders and handicapped so vendors and patrons are strongly encouraged to carpool and park in lots located at Charleston Metals, downtown, Waterloo Elementary, Library, Town Hall, or United Methodist Church.

The event is free, and true to CP’s holiday train tradition, the Town is collecting canned goods for the local food pantry, Warm a Heart, from party goers.

The historic train depot will be open for Amtrak passengers and for visitors to explore the photo displays of Waterloo history.

Highlights of the evening include plenty of food and beverages by the Waterloo Fire Department, Caleo Café, Warm A Heart, River A Smokin’ Q, Mad Anthony, Cupbearer and Pence’s caramel corn.  Musical entertainment includes performances of holiday music by Keith Roman on acoustic guitar and Excelsior Choir.

Another heated tent houses a holiday market with a dozen vendors selling gift items or sharing activities and information. The adjacent park pavilion will host photos with Mr. & Mrs. Claus story telling by the fireplace. DeKalb County Horsemen will give families free rides in horse-drawn wagons and those waiting for rides can play a Pop Gun Fun carnival game.

The event is hosted by Waterloo Main Street and Town of Waterloo.  Sponsors include:  Waterloo Family Dentistry, Cedar Creek Holdings,  Covington Box, Charleston Metal Products, Dekalb Council on Aging, DeKalb County Convention &Visitor Bureau, Elsie Manufacturing, Heartland Castings, Nana’s, R.P. Wakefield Co, New Hope Christian Center, Richard Squire Pallet, Waterloo Lions Club.

Concerns were expressed last year after hundreds of people gathered across Ohio and Indiana along the tracks to see the CP holiday train.  Railroad officials from both Canadian Pacific and Norfolk Southern want to ensure safety precautions are taken so Waterloo leaders are asking train watchers to be extra careful. Stay at least 50 feet from the tracks and only cross at marked intersections with rail gates. Railroad security will be in Waterloo to ensure safety but patrons should know it is not only unsafe but also a crime to trespass on the tracks.  Drones are also not allowed to fly over the tracks.

For more information, look on the Waterloo website,