Holiday Train Block Party
8:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m.
Waterloo Plans CP Holiday Train Block Party
Waterloo Main Street is getting ready for the late-night holiday train to bring in the season. Waterloo isn’t on the official map for the Canadian Pacific’s (CP) 21st running of the Holiday Train, but the town is holding its third annual block party to make waiting fun for those who want to see it.
“New this year, we have a great band we found in Nashville, Tennessee coming to play at the event,” says Tena Woenker, Town Manager. “The Taylors and The Mama Tried Band were playing in Nashville when we were there recently for a conference. When my coworker and I heard the Taylors were originally from Fort Wayne, we connected with them – and now they are driving all the way to Waterloo to play. We’re so excited this great band can be part of the fun! And they get to visit relatives for Thanksgiving too. It’s working out for all of us.”
The Holiday 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 expected to make the trip on Saturday, November 30,th passing through Waterloo between midnight and 1 a.m. It will be a family-friendly event, though the hours are well past bedtime.
Activities begin at 8 p.m. with tree lighting in Francis Thomson Memorial Park and Excelsior Art Academy and Youth Theatre students singing Christmas songs. The Taylors and Mama Tried Band will play from 8:30 – 12:30 with a mix of classic rock and country cover songs with some of their own music too.
The event is free, and true to CP’s holiday train tradition, the Town is collecting donations of canned goods for the local food pantry, Warm a Heart. Dry goods and cans with pop-tops are suggested.
Highlights of the evening include plenty of food and beverages by the River A Smokin’ Q, Mad Anthony, Waterloo Fire Department, Warm A Heart and Jeremiah’s Coffee Shop. Artists have been invited for a holiday market. Take photos in the adjacent park pavilion with Mr. & Mrs. Claus.
In addition to activity in a large, heated tent, there will be some activities in the community room at the historic depot, though the station will be open for Amtrak passengers too. Visitors to the station can explore the photo displays of Waterloo history.
“There was speculation last year about whether the holiday train lights would be on –and they were. We believe they will be lit this year too,” says Woenker. “A lot of people have learned about the holiday train through social media and seek it out, even if its route is not posted,” says Woenker. “They’ve had to slow down because we had such a crowd!”
Concerns were expressed in the past 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 by staying at least 15 feet from the tracks and only crossing 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.
About the band, according to their bio: This mother-daughter duo along with their band, The Mama Tried Band, is astounding. Daughter Amanda has one of the most beautiful voices you’ll ever hear while her mother, Paula Jo not only adds those close family harmonies but also plays incredible lead guitar. Mom, Paula Jo Taylor, was featured in Guitar World Magazine as their pick for top 10 female guitarist. Daughter, Amanda Taylor, is a Nashville based singer/songwriter. She is a powerful and charismatic performer garnering thousands of fans and admirers. Born in Fort Wayne, Indiana into a musical family, Amanda’s love and passion for country music began at an early age when she started performing with her family band at the age of thirteen. See the attached information sheet for more details.