Santa's coming Home for the Holidays, no matter how cold it is
Santa's Home for the Holidays organizers prefer to look on the sunny side of life, even with temperatures for Saturday's annual parade predicted at somewhere around zero degrees Fahrenheit.
No matter what, the show -- well, the 6 p.m. parade down Cloquet Avenue downtown -- will go on. Whether or not Rob Nelson and his band of frolicking, shirtless sauna-goers make their usual appearance remains to be seen.
"The [temperature] predictions are already coming up," said an optimistic Reneé Birman (Cloquet Ford Chrysler), co-organizer of the event with Ryanne Battaglia (Members Cooperative Credit Union). "Pray, pray, pray. And
Birman said she was going to ask area businesses along the parade route if some would consider opening their doors before and after the Saturday evening parade so people could come inside and warm up.
Many of the favorite events are back, including a craft show at the Armory Thursday and Friday, a chili and soup dinner (and more) at Queen of Peace Friday evening and the County Seat Theater's annual Christmas production, which is "Miracle in Bedford Falls" this year.
Saturday is the busiest day for the community celebration, with a pancake breakfast and Holiday Expo at Churchill Elementary School, a cookie walk and country store at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in the morning, plus wagon rides (an enclosed mobility van will also be available) between events at MCCU and Cloquet Ford in the afternoon. At MCCU from 2-5 p.m. Saturday, Mrs. Claus will be telling stories, tattoo artist Maura will be painting faces and there will be treats and a fire pit. Things start a little earlier (from 1-4:30 p.m.) at Cloquet Ford, where there will be cookie decorating and four magic shows (at 1:15, 2, 2:45 and 3:30 p.m.).
New to the celebration this year, Shooting Stars Dance Studio is offering free dance lessons from 3-5 p.m. Saturday.
Of course, the parade is the highlight Saturday and the new Miss Cloquet will be unveiled during the event. (Note: parade participants are asked to start lining up on Cloquet Avenue between 18th Street and the Sappi entrance, on both sides of the street, starting at 5 p.m. The order of parade will be determined by who gets there first. Call Renee Birman with questions at 218-590-9399 with questions.)
Following the parade, families are invited to the Armory for a movie ("Home Alone 2") and treats, where they can be nice and warm indoors, starting at 7:45 p.m.
During the storm Wednesday, Battaglia said she thinks all the snow will get people revved up for the event.
"Really the only worry is the temperature -- the snow gets everyone in the holiday spirit," Battaglia said. "But this is Minnesota. People just need to dress for the weather."
Birman said many people are supporting this year's Home for the Holidays.
"I would really like to thank all the businesses that jump in and financially support this event, and the city of Cloquet as well," Birman said. "It's so neat how this community comes together."