North Platte Canteen Festival Celebrates 80 Years Since Canteen's Open

Dec. 17, 2021, 4:21 p.m. ·

Canteen with hundreds of soldiers being served coffee and food by numerous volunteers
The North Platte Canteen was open from Christmas 1941 to April 1946. (Photo courtesy of North Platte Visitors Bureau)

On Saturday, the North Platte Canteen Festival celebrates 80 years since the railroad pit stop was conceived. World War II soldiers passed through the canteen while waiting in the western Nebraska town for their next train.

Amanda Connick with the North Platte Visitors Bureau said musical performances will catalog stories of the 12,000 volunteers within the North Platte community who served meals and refreshments for the soldiers.

“It’s going to be more of a vignette sort of performance where you’re going to hear personal stories of people that were a part of this that I think people are really going to relate to,” Connick said. “You’re going to hear that they’re actually people. They’re not just names in a history book.”

Connick said the event shows how people are still willing to volunteer their time, much like individuals from 80 years ago.

For more than four years during World War Two, the North Platte Canteen served 6 million soldiers.