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Santa is bringing fun and fireworks to town

Snow or no snow, Santa is heading for Cloquet this weekend, and the city will mark his arrival with a fireworks display Saturday night following the parade.

Snow or no snow, Santa is heading for Cloquet this weekend, and the city will mark his arrival with a fireworks display Saturday night following the parade.

And that’s not all that’s new. There will be live reindeer in town before the parade and even more liveliness at the teen dance and alumni hockey game afterward.

Although Saturday’s events may be the highlight of the annual Santa’s Home for the Holidays celebration, local residents and visitors can plan for long-weekend’s worth of activities for young and old.

This year’s festivities begin at 10 a.m. Thursday with a gift and craft show at the Cloquet Armory. From 3:30-5:30 p.m. Thursday, kids and the young at heart - along with those who simply appreciate their hometown newspaper - are encouraged to wander over to the Pine Journal office at 122 Avenue C for a photograph with Santa (which will appear in the Letters to Santa section later this month), refreshments and to take advantage of a yearly special price for a newspaper subscription.

The fun continues Friday with the gift and craft show from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Armory again, followed by the opportunity to watch holiday ornaments being made on the new 3-D printer at the Cloquet Public Library from 3:30-5:30 p.m. Folks can make a 2-D paper ornament to take home.

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In the evening enjoy a spaghetti dinner and photos with Santa by Alan Johnson Photography at Queen of Peace from 5-7 p.m.

Saturday provides perennial favorites like a pancake breakfast (8:30-10:30 a.m.) and a Holiday Expo craft fair at Churchill Elementary School (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.), a cookie walk and country store nearby at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church on Skyline Boulevard (9-11 a.m.) and a Holiday Country Store at the Cloquet VFW (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.). The Carlton County Historical Society will also hold a Home for the Holidays reception, featuring live holiday music, refreshments and the art of the late Katherine Dahlman of Cromwell.

From 1-4 p.m. Saturday afternoon, Santa’s Home for the Holidays events ramp up even more, with trolley/hayrides traveling between Daugherty Appliance, Cloquet Ford Chrysler - where people can decorate (and eat) Christmas cookies and watch a magic show (at 1:15 or 3 p.m.) - and Members Cooperative Credit Union, where kids can listen to stories with Mrs. Claus, have their faces painted by Maura, visit Santa’s Spa to get their nails done and enjoy food and various holiday crafts. Get to know Santa’s reindeer from 2-4 p.m. outside MCCU.

From there, wander down to the fire station on Cloquet Avenue to get toasty by a fire and eat s’mores, and give back by dropping off non-perishable food items for the food shelf.

Also new this year is a one-mile “Holiday Hustle” run before the parade, starting at 4:30 p.m. Cost is $10 to register or an unwrapped toy donation.

The parade down Cloquet Avenue begins at 5 p.m., with fireworks to follow at approximately 5:45 p.m. from Veterans Park.

The CEC Younglife Teen Dance runs from 7-11 p.m. at the Younglife center at 1804 Washington Ave., Cloquet.

Too old for a teen dance?

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The Cloquet-vs-Duluth East rivalry will take on a new life this year with alumni hockey players bringing it starting at 7 p.m. Saturday at Northwoods Credit Union Arena. The Minnesota Wilderness hockey team will manage the event and provide entertainment to take the game from high school to a higher level.

While many of the events are free, several have a minimal fee, including the hockey game, which is $8 for adults and $5 for students.

And don’t forget to drive past the train in Fauley Park down through the Spafford Park campground and over to Voyageur's Park to take a look at all the wonderful Christmas lights … courtesy of the city of Cloquet.

Check out the full schedule of events on pageA12 of this week’s Pine Journal or visit www.santashomefortheholidays.com .

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