Come ‘Home for the Holidays’ this weekendThis year’s Home for the Holidays celebration promises plenty of fun for everyone – including the guy in the big red suit, who has promised to spend the weekend in Cloquet with Mrs. Claus.
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
With luck, this year’s Home for the Holidays parade will feature more fire trucks than last year’s event. Then again, all that would take is one.
Just two hours before last year’s parade was set to start – after firefighters in Scanlon had spent six hours decorating a fire engine – two fire calls came in to the Cloquet Area Fire District.
It took those same seven firefighters exactly one minute to rip off all the decorations.
“They did quite a job, all kinds of lights and music,” said Cloquet Area Fire District Chief Kevin Schroeder, describing how the firefighters had painstakingly strung colored lights along nearly every panel on the fire engine truck and even mounted a plastic deer head with a red headlamp for a nose to the front bumper. “It looked real nice until they had to strip it all off!”
While firefighters were able to contain both fires with no injuries, answering the calls left the Cloquet parade bereft of bright red trucks. As a result, instead of the Scanlon firefighters taking home a third trophy – and their first win as CAFD Station 3 – the award for best fire truck went to Rob Nelson’s fire-powered sauna.
“It was the closest thing we had to a fire truck,” said a smiling Reneé Birman, whose Cloquet Ford Chrysler has co-sponsored the holiday event for the past four years with Members Cooperative Credit Union.
Watch out sauna guy, Station 3 wants its trophy back.
This year’s Home for the Holidays celebration promises plenty of fun for everyone – including the guy in the big red suit, who has promised to spend the weekend in Cloquet with Mrs. Claus.
The festivities begin Friday with the “Winter Fest” gift and craft show from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Cloquet Armory, followed by a chili and soup dinner at Queen of Peace from 5- 7 p.m. Children will sing holiday music during the dinner, plus there will be Christmas crafts and photos with Santa by Alan Johnson photography.
Friday’s events will culminate with the annual lighting of the Christmas tree with Santa Claus at Cloquet’s Veterans Park, with activities lasting from 6:30-8 p.m. Santa will collect coats, hats, mittens, toys (new or only gently used please) and monetary donations as well as non-perishable foods for the local food shelf. Other activities at Veterans Park include caroling, fire pits, fire twirlers, s’mores and entertainment.
Saturday starts early with a pancake breakfast by Boy Scout Troop 171 from 8:30-10:30 a.m. in the cafeteria at Churchill Elementary School. A free “Holiday Expo” at Churchill – featuring local entertainment, a book fair and more than 60 vendors – will open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Winter Fest show also is open Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Armory.
In the afternoon Saturday, revelers can hitch a wagon ride between three sites – Members Cooperative Credit Union at 101 14th St., Cloquet Ford Chrysler on Highway 33 South, and the Royal Building parking lot at 1111 Cloquet Ave. downtown – to enjoy different activities at each location from 1-5 p.m. There will be cookies to decorate at Cloquet Ford Chrysler from 1-4:30 p.m. with magic shows at 1:15 and 3 p.m. From 2-5 p.m. MCCU will have Christmas crafts, cookies, stories with Mrs. Claus, and face painting by Maura. Visitors to downtown can warm up by the bonfire at the Royal Building parking lot, enjoy more holiday music and purchase food from the vendors there between 1 and 7 p.m.
The annual Home for the Holidays parade starts at 6 p.m. Saturday and will travel down Cloquet Avenue from 18th Street to Eighth Street. People can register to be in the parade online at santashomefortheholidays.com or simply arrive at 5 p.m. to line up.
The new Miss Cloquet will also be introduced at the parade, replacing outgoing Miss Cloquet Lindsey Bushnell. Along with the fire truck competition, other parade prizes include Most Unique, Most Creative and Best Music. The best decorated storefront is also announced during the parade, which is broadcast live by WKLK as it passes by the Cloquet Avenue radio station.
Bring foot- and hand-warmers if you’ve got them ¬– even with all the fun floats and parade entertainment, it gets cold standing around.
Or warm up inside and out after the parade by watching the free family holiday movie “Home Alone” starting at 7:45 p.m. at the Armory; kids can enjoy popcorn donated by Premiere Theatres. Don’t forget your blanket and pillow.
Also this weekend, the County Seat Theater will present its holiday play, “Christmas Belles” on Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. Tickets may be reserved by calling the box office at 218-878-0071 or online at www.countyseattheater.com.
For questions, call Reneé Birman at 218-590-9399.