Union Depot in downtown St. Paul will transform into the “Hub for the Holidays,” kicking off the festive holiday season Thursday, December 1 with the European Christmas Market and the North Pole Express train, followed on Friday, December 2 by the annual Union Depot Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony with live musical entertainment, fireworks, and the first in a series of free Holiday Movie Nights. Merrick Community Services Food Shelf will be this year’s recipient for community donations of food and cash during our holiday season with details for giving available below.
The holiday family events will be held the first two weekends in December at the historic venue. The schedule changes each weekend so you will experience something different with each visit. Below is a list of events:
The Holiday Tree Lighting celebration will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Head House with entertainment and holiday activities. Refreshments will be available for purchase. Enjoy a holiday musical performance by the six-person acapella group, SixAppeal. At approximately 7:00 p.m. guests will move outside to the North Plaza for the tree lighting celebration followed by a short fireworks display. Afterwards, head back to the Waiting Room for Holiday Movie Night, where we’ll be showing the holiday favorite Elf. Download a free ride on Metro Transit for each person.
December 1-4 and 8-11: European Christmas Market
Inspired by the success of its inaugural year at Union Depot, the market will expand to include Thursday and more than double the number of vendors in this year’s event. The market is based on the traditional, charming, and festive open air Christkindlmarkts that spring up in Germany, Austria and other countries during the Advent season. Visit Weekend 1 or Weekend 2 for details about vendors and the entertainment schedule.
December 1-4 and 8-11: “North Pole Express” Holiday Train
The Friends of the 261 will bring the North Pole Express steam engine and vintage train cars to Union Depot. Guests will enjoy the experience of a real steam train, Santa and his elves, and holiday fun for all. For any questions about ticketing, schedules or the event visit: http://www.261.com/
December 2 and 3: Free Holiday Movie Nights
Holiday favorites Elf (Dec. 2) and The Polar Express (Dec. 3) will be shown on a large screen in the Waiting Room. The free movie showings begin at 7:30 p.m and are open to the public. Bring your blankets and lawn chairs. Concessions will be available for purchase. Free rides on Metro Transit for each moviegoer are available for Dec. 2 only.
December 9: Canadian Pacific Holiday Train
The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train will stop at historic Union Depot on Friday evening, December 9, for a musical performance. Attendees are encouraged to bring cash or a healthy food donation to benefit Merrick Community Services Food Shelf. Canadian Pacific is committed to raising awareness about filling community food shelves with heart-healthy foods. This event will start at approximately 7:15 p.m. with Colin James and Kelly Prescott performing holiday classics. Come early and plan ahead for a great night. Download a Metro Transit free ride pass for each concertgoer to take the Green Line or a bus to Union Depot. Parking will be available at surrounding ramps. Enjoy a pre-concert drink and snack at one of many Lowertown restaurants. VIP tickets are now on sale!
Strollers are strongly discouraged at this event. Union Depot is not responsible for unattended items. Concert viewing is an uneven grassy area and a concrete platform. No seating is available. Dress for the weather – the performance takes place outside.
December 10: 4th Annual Holiday Bake Sale
Union Depot’s 4th Annual Holiday Bake Sale will host the top Twin Cities bakeries for a day of cookie and candy shopping. Admission is $5 for adults and includes a free tote bag, seniors (60+) and kids under 12 are free. VIP admission is $10 and includes a commemorative train themed cookie cutter gift set, free tote bag and recipe cards from participating bakeries. Proceeds from ticket sales benefit Merrick Community Services Food Shelf. Again this year, attendees will get a sneak peek at Lowertown Pop (coming to Union Depot April 15, 2017). Lowertown Pop is a Minnesota pop-up market featuring local artisans and craftspeople – brewers, bakers, distillers, artists, and musicians. This is a special chance to shop 10 featured Lowertown Pop makers at the Holiday Bake Sale. Tickets are available at www.uniondepot.org/bakesale.