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Cloquet getting lit up for Christmas

City workers Andy Chalberg and Karin Stedman work with Alyson Leno, coordinator for Santa’s Home for the Holidays event, setting up donated Christmas light displays in Voyageurs Park on Tuesday. Jamie Lund/ 1 / 2
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Twinkling lights, chili tasting, cookie decorating and fun hayrides are just around the corner as the Christmas season nears.

Cloquet will be sparkling with the addition of more holiday lights this year, thanks to a donation of several fun displays courtesy of local light guru Nathan Bentley.

Cloquet city workers set up several new light displays in Voyageurs Park Tuesday as they start to dress up the town for the holidays.

“I reached out to Nathan Bentley hoping he would [loan] some lights to us, but he donated them, so it’s wonderful,” said Alyson Leno, who is helping coordinate the Santa’s Home for the Holidays events for the city.

The beginning of an ice rink can be seen in a dirt berm outline in front of the newly installed light displays.

The plan is to have an adult pond hockey tournament in front of the newly added light displays at Voyageurs Park during the Santa’s Home for the Holidays event the first week of December. Hopefully Mother Nature reads the schedule of events and cooperates with cold weather to freeze the skating surface.

Spafford Park will also display lights again this year. Both Spafford and Voyagers lights will be turned on at the same time Friday, Dec. 4.

“Les Peterson and the city of Cloquet have been wonderful to work with and have been very accommodating in preparing for the Santa’s Home for the Holidays weekend of events,” Leno said.

The Cloquet Area Chamber of Commerce “Light Up Your Business” event also will add some extra twinkle to Cloquet. Leno is hoping to draw people from outside the area to visit and enjoy the added extra Christmas sparkle and shine around town.

“We want to get Cloquet lit up this year,” Leno said.

Businesses need to let the chamber know if they want to participate in the “Light Up Your Business” event by Nov. 30.

Chamber staff will judge the business windows Dec. 1-3.

Another new addition to the fun and family-oriented weekend is a chili cook-off.

The cook-off will take place Saturday, Dec. 5, at Daugherty Appliance on Cloquet Avenue, surrounded by trees decorated by area businesses and music by the Cloquet High School Madrigals, spreading holiday cheer.

Twelve businesses have signed up to compete in the chili cook-off, but there is room for more. Individuals are also encouraged to sign up by calling the Chamber at 218-879-1551. There is a $3 charge at the door, or $2 with a non-perishable food item, which includes tasting the chilis and voting for your favorite.

Many of the same events from last year will also be offered, including stories read by Mrs. Claus at Members Cooperative Credit Union, fire pits and s’mores at the Cloquet Area Fire Department, and a pancake breakfast by Boy Scout Troop #171 at Churchill Elementary.

As always, volunteers are needed and appreciated. Call or visit the Chamber office to volunteer for a variety of openings, such as helping with the trolley rides, games at Members Cooperative Credit Union or cookie decorating at Cloquet Ford Chrysler Center.

Watch for a full schedule of events for the Santa’s Home for the Holidays in the coming weeks in the Pine Journal.

Donations to help keep the lights shining and other expenses are greatly appreciated, Leno said.

Send donations to: Santa’s Home for the Holidays Celebration, 225 Sunnyside Dr., Cloquet, MN 55720.