Choo Choo Barn continues 30-year tradition with “Thankful Thursdays”

Over the past 29 years, the Choo Choo Barn has donated over 72,000 items to local food banks and collected nearly $23,000 which has been distributed within the local community through “Canned Food Fridays”, their annual food drive.


Christmas is a busy time for everyone and a drop in Canned Food Fridays attendance over the last few years confirmed a need for change. “As we talked, we realized that we needed to move the event away from December since winter weather has always been a factor. The possibility of snow or ice, families waiting outside in the wind and cold on busy evenings, and a crowded, enclosed room during cold and flu season all played a part in our decision”, said Kristi Largoza, marketing director.


Thus, in 2018, “Thankful Thursdays” was born. Instead of just three Fridays in December, the event is now held on the first Thursday of the month, six times throughout the year. “Linda (Tom’s wife) and I can’t believe that this event has spanned 30 years. With such a milestone anniversary upon us, we wanted a way to make it special, to expand it and give more.”, said Tom Groff, owner and chief animator at the Choo Choo Barn.


Thankful Thursdays will be held six times in 2019 on the first Thursday of the month: April 4, May 2, June 6, September 5, October 3, and November 7 from 10am-4:30pm.. Admission to the Choo Choo Barn layout is FREE with a donation of at least one non-perishable food item per person, regardless of age. Please note that the following items are the most highly demanded, per the food bank: peanut butter, canned meats (tuna and chicken), healthy cereal, pasta, fruit and rice. No expired food is accepted, per food bank policies. Please give generously – admission is at least one item per person! Proceeds are donated to the Octorara Area Food Cupboard in Parkesburg.


The Choo Choo Barn is a hand-crafted train layout owned and operated by the Groff family since 1961. It features 150 moving parts and 22 trains on a landscape that depicts Lancaster County in miniature. Visit the Choo Choo Barn 7 days a week from 10am-4:30pm at 226 Gap Road, Strasburg, PA. For more information, please call (717) 687-7911 or visit