Crowds come ‘Home for the Holidays’Seven firefighters decorated for six hours in Scanlon Saturday for the Home for the Holidays parade, painstakingly stringing colored lights along nearly every panel on the fire engine truck and even mounting a plastic deer head with a red headlamp for a nose to the front bumper. It took those same firefighters exactly one minute to rip off all those decorations.
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
Seven firefighters decorated for six hours in Scanlon Saturday for the Home for the Holidays parade, painstakingly stringing colored lights along nearly every panel on the fire engine truck and even mounting a plastic deer head with a red headlamp for a nose to the front bumper.
It took those same firefighters exactly one minute to rip off all those decorations.
“They did quite a job, all kinds of lights and music,” said Cloquet Area Fire District Chief Kevin Schroeder with a chuckle. “It looked real nice until they had to strip it all off.”
In fact, there were two fire calls within eight minutes just after 4 p.m. Saturday. While firefighters were able to contain both fires with no injuries, both calls took an hour and a half and left the Cloquet parade bereft of bright red trucks. As a result, instead of the Scanlon firefighters possibly taking home the prize for a third year – and their first award as Cloquet Area Fire District Station 3 – the award for best fire truck went to Rob Nelson’s fire-powered sauna and their Chinese fire drills.
“It was the closest thing we had to a fire truck,” said a smiling Reneé Birman, whose Cloquet Ford Chrysler Center has co-sponsored the holiday event for the past three years with Members Cooperative Credit Union.
Even without fire trucks, it was a good parade. Just ask Jan Puline, who came to the Cloquet City Council’s work session Tuesday with high praise for the event.
“I was amazed at how many people came to watch the parade,” she told the council, expressing her thanks for the annual event. “The kids were really having such a good time. It was really nice to see.”
Good weather helped.
Both Birman and MCCU’s Ryanne Battaglia said they had lots of people at the afternoon events held at the two businesses.
“I think we went through about 370 cookies,” said Birman, referring to the sugar cookies that folks could decorate with frosting and various candies at Cloquet Ford. “We also had standing room only for both magic shows.”
Families and revelers could travel between downtown Cloquet and other locations via hay wagon, pulled either by a tractor or a team of horses. Stops included MCCU, where kids could make a craft, talk to Santa, get their faces painted or sit with Mrs. Claus for a story. At Cloquet Ford, there were cookies and magic. Curves offered folks a great place to warm up by the bonfire after a chilly ride around town.
Sixteenth Annual Home for the Holidays Parade winners included Boldt Construction’s mini-crane for “Most Unique,” Tim Young’s snow sculpture of Homer Simpson for “Most Creative” and Becky’s Dance Studio for “Best Music.” The Pine Journal won “Best Decorated Storefront” for its Grinch-themed window. Trophies are available for pickup at the Pine Journal office.
Birman said parade entries were down this year, as were the number of businesses donating at the $100 sponsorship level. Next year she is hoping for more of both, as well as more volunteers.
“It’s expensive,” said Birman, calculating that the entire two-day celebration costs close to $10,000. “But it means a lot to people that businesses care enough to give back to their communities. And it’s such a fun way to start the season for families. No one is going to remember how much you worked [after you’re dead and gone], but they will remember the good times. We’re making memories for our kids here, they’ll talk about this.”
The firefighters at CAFD Station 3 are already talking about next year’s parade.
“We’ll try again next year,” said Justin LeBlanc. “It’s fun to get together and decorate, plus we get a lot of compliments during the parade and the kids enjoy it.”
With any luck, next year’s parade will have a lot more red.