Lights, Santa, action.

A chilled but excited throng greeted the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train on Monday, Dec. 10. For 16 years, Cottage Grove has been a whistle stop for the tricked-out transcontinental locomotive, which raises money for those in need.

The train blazed into view shortly after sunset along West Point Douglas Road just south of the 80th Street bridge. From the boxcar stage, guitarist and singer Willie Porter and the Trews wasted no time in getting the crowd moving with a seriously rocking version of the Chuck Berry classic “Run Rudolph Run.”

Former Holiday Train Committee Chair Mary Slusser, who brought the train to Cottage Grove 15 years ago, said she was happy to switch her job title to committee member.

“This is my first year on the committee and I’ve got a lot more down time, and I’m enjoying myself,” she said.

Emily White of Newport kept her 16-year volunteer streak alive. She supervised a group of volunteers who included cadets from the Park High School Air Force JROTC.

“We just couldn’t do it without them,” she said. “They’re helping so much.”

Randy Bachman, who co-chairs the event with Chelsea Swaggert, said the event netted over $100,000 in donations for the Friends in Need Food Shelf in St. Paul Park. The event drew an estimated 6,000 people, he said.