Winter weekend events: a rundown of holiday markets, food drives in the La Crosse area

Wondering how to get out of the house this weekend? From holiday markets, visits from Santa, and food donation drives, there’s plenty of cheer to go around. Here’s a rundown of what’s happening the weekend of Dec. 10th & 11th:

Canadian Pacific Holiday Train

All aboard! The Holiday Train is making its way across the northern U.S. and Canada. The train is covered in holiday lights and has a stage for live musicians to perform at each stop. Musical guests are Alan Doyle and Kelly Prescott. At each visit, a local food pantry will have a collection area. CP asks everyone who comes to see the train to bring non-perishable food items to donate if they’re able.

Saturday stops:

  • Mauston
    • Division St. railway crossing
    • 4:00 p.m.
  • Tomah
    • Amtrak Depot, 205 North Superior Avenue
    • 5:25 p.m.
  • Sparta
    • Corner of S. Water Street & Milwaukee, south side of CP tracks
    • 6:45 p.m.
  • La Crosse
    • Amtrak Station, 601 Saint Andrew Street
    • 8:25 p.m.

Sunday stops:

  • Winona
    • Amtrak Station. 65 East Mark St.
    • 3:30 p.m.
  • Wabasha
    • Gambie Avenue railway crossing by Bruegger Park
    • 5:30 p.m.

Santa at Altra Federal Credit Union

Altra Federal Credit Union is inviting families to hang out with Santa. This is free to the public. Altra will have activities for families, like coloring, cookie decorating, and kids can write letters to Santa.

  • Saturday
    • 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
    • Operations Center – 1700 Oak Forest Drive, Onalaska
  • Find more information here

Christmas in the Village – Trempealeau, WI

A one-day event brings together local businesses for a big day of holiday shopping and fun. The event also supports area non-profits. This is the first year of Christmas in the Village.

Kids can visit Santa in the 1950s caboose at The Station on Main Street. He’ll be there from noon to 3 p.m.

Shoppers can get an event passport to collect stamps at local businesses. Participating locations include River Cafe, Serendipity Gifts Crafts & More, The Vets Bar, and Trempealeau Hotel, Restaurant, and Saloon.

The Village of Trempealeau community room will act as a warming shelter. Cub Scout Pack 101 will be selling concessions. Organizations will also have booths at the warming area, including Friends of Trempealeau Refuge, Trempealeau County Humane Society, and Trempealeau VFW Post 1915 Auxiliary.

Organizers are asking everyone to bring non-perishable food items to the warming center to help stock the local food pantry.

There are three showings of holiday movies for kids at the Little Bluff Inn. They start at 10 a.m., noon, and 2 p.m.

Green Man Acres & Goats on the Go will have a few goats out to meet kids at the corner of 2nd and Main Streets from noon to 3 p.m.

You can find more activities and a schedule of events here.

La Crescent Lions Club Food Drive

The La Crescent Lions Club will be ringing bells for the Salvation Army and collecting food for the La Crescent Food Shelf at Quillin’s La Crescent Store.

The Lions are asking community members to donate protein-rich foods, like canned meats, beef jerky or smoked meats, canned stews, and beans.

Members will be at Quillin’s on two days this holiday season:

  • Dec. 10th & 17th
    • Quillin’s Foods, La Crescent
    • 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Holiday Great River Makers Market

The Great River Makers Market is back, this time bringing local crafters and small businesses together for the holidays. It’s a perfect chance to get handmade gifts. Vendors will have everything from candles and home decorations to baked goods and pet treats. For more information and a list of vendors, check out the Facebook event page.

  • Saturday
    • La Crescent Area Events Center – 595 Veterans Parkway, La Crescent
    • 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Sensory Santa visit

Valley View Mall is inviting children with autism to visit Santa during a calmer time of the day. The event is being held before mall hours, so there won’t be large crowds that can feel overwhelming to some kids. Families can get photos taken with Santa for an extra charge. More Valley View events can be found here.

  • Sunday
    • Valley View Mall
    • 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Rotary Lights in La Crosse

Rotary lights are a staple during the holiday season. This weekend, visitors can take carriage rides through the park and visit Santa. The park will also have a live nativity scene. There’s also live music this weekend:

  • Tuba Christmas is taking the stage on Saturday night at 6 p.m.
  • Harp Twins perform on Sunday at 7:00 p.m.

For a full look at the schedule, check out Rotary Lights’ website.