Embracing the holiday spirit in downtown Faribault November 30, 2018
WITH FRESH SNOW LAYERING the ground, festive lights brightening streets and storefront windows, and an evening of holiday activities underway, it was feeling a lot like Christmas in downtown Faribault on Thursday.
pausing on the corner of Central Avenue and Fourth Street to watch ice sculpting and listen to Due North carolers;
and then simply strolling along the sidewalks viewing storefront displays. I wish, though, that all of the downtown businesses had been open and we’d had more time.
It was a beautiful and balmy—for Minnesota anyway—evening to enjoy the holiday spirit and the company of friends we met while out and about. That’s one of the things I love about living in Faribault—seeing people I know like Kelly from the Chamber and Faribault Main Street (event organizers), Julie at the Paradise, young and enthusiastic entrepreneur Jess at Fleur de Lis, friends Billie Jo and Neal and family…
A genuine warmth and sense of community exist in Faribault, a place I’ve called home for 36 years. I feel comfortable here, welcomed, appreciated and valued for who I am as a person and a professional. When I attend an event like Winterfest, I see, too, the appreciation others hold for this town, the incredible talent here and a caring spirit.
This weekend presents a perfect opportunity to experience Faribault as Winterfest continues into tomorrow. Evening fireworks preceding a 5:30 p.m. Parade of Lights and a street dance afterwards cap the three-day celebration.
And just to make Winterfest even more wintry, Faribault and other regions of southern Minnesota are under a winter storm watch from Saturday morning through Sunday morning with up to a possible seven inches of snow predicted. That storm could begin with freezing rain, making travel challenging. So if you’re planning a trip to Faribault on Saturday, check the updated forecast and road conditions as this storm continues to evolve. The National Weather Service currently advises: Travel could be very difficult, especially along Interstate 90 and along Interstate 35 between the Twin Cities and the Iowa border.
Have a great weekend, no matter where you are and what you do to embrace the holiday spirit.
Here’s a list of some activities happening in Faribault on Saturday:
- Peace Lutheran Church Craft and Bake Sale and Luncheon, 8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
- A French-Canadian Christmas at the Alexander Faribault house, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. (and also Friday evening)
- First English Lutheran Church Advent Bake Sale and Luncheon, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.; arrive early to buy the coveted homemade lefse (limited quantities)
- Paradise Center for the Arts Holly Days sale, noon – 5 p.m.
- Faribault Winter Farmers Market at the Paradise Center for the Arts, 1-4 p.m.
- Faribault Sno-Go Club’s Vintage Snowmobile Show, 1-4 p.m. along Central Avenue
- The Village Family Theater offers music and refreshments, 4-5 p.m.
- Winterfest fireworks, right before the 5:30 p.m. Parade of Lights
- Winterfest Street Dance, 6:30-10 p.m.
- Mick Sterling’s At Christmas, 7:30 p.m., Paradise Center for the Arts
- SHOP LOCAL throughout the day.
And on Sunday…The Paradise Children’s Theatre presents “The Nutcracker Prince” at 2 and 4 p.m.
© Copyright 2018 Audrey Kletscher Helbling
The holiday spirit comes to Faribault during Winterfest this week (end) November 28, 2018
MORE AND MORE, COMMUNITIES in greater Minnesota are discovering the value in creating holiday events that attract locals and visitors. That includes Faribault, which this week hosts Winterfest, an expansion of the long-running Hometown Holidays.
It’s a smart move on the part of host, Faribault Main Street. Anything that brings people into Faribault benefits tourism and businesses through exposure and sales. This marks the second year of Winterfest, highlighted last December by a Parade of Lights. This year fireworks precede the 5:30 p.m. Saturday parade along Central Avenue in our historic downtown.
But before I expound on Saturday, there’s Thursday’s Hometown Holidays evening of family-oriented attractions and activities from 5 – 7:30 p.m. at Buckham Center. From greeting Santa and his reindeer to crafts, music, snacks, a holiday movie and more, families will find plenty to do. I wish my granddaughter lived closer. I’d take her.
A few blocks away in the heart of the business district, the holiday spirit prevails Thursday evening in a window decorating contest, horse-drawn wagon rides, ice carving, and caroling by Due North, a Minneapolis-based a cappella group. From 6 – 8 p.m. our local art center hosts the Paradise Center for the Arts Acoustic Gallery featuring music by Cannon River Currents and artisan gifts crafted by 20 regional artists at the Holly Days Sale. Downtown shops will be open, too.
That’s Thursday. Friday focuses on teens with open gym and swim, board games and other activities at the Faribault Community Center from 6 – 8 p.m.
Then comes Saturday, a day so jam-packed with events that I wonder how I can possibly get to everything. I’m also ringing bells for the Salvation Army for two hours.
Saturday at 10 a.m., the Rice County Historical Society opens the doors to the home of our town founder for a French-Canadian Christmas at the Alexander Faribault House. That runs until 3 p.m. But if Saturday doesn’t work for you, the historic home will also be open on Friday from 4 – 7 p.m. It’s a fun way to learn about Faribault history in a festive setting.
History will also be on display along Central Avenue at the Faribault Sno-Go Club Vintage Snowmobile Show from 1 – 4 p.m. Saturday. Then, as darkness settles, units start arriving for the 5:30 p.m. parade with the fireworks kick-off. A street dance follows from 6:30 – 10 p.m.
In between, you can take in Mick Sterling Presents “At Christmas,” a blended show of music and comedy opening at 7:30 p.m. at the Paradise Center for the Arts. Sunday brings another holiday show with the Paradise Children’s Theatre performing “The Nutcracker Prince” at 2 p.m. and again at 4 p.m.
That’s a lot happening in my community. And I’m sure there’s more, like the annual craft and bake sale and luncheon at Peace Lutheran Church on Saturday.
I’m grateful to all who are working so hard to bring the holiday spirit to Faribault through Winterfest and other events. Thank you.
TELL ME: Does your community host any big holiday events?
© Copyright 2018 Audrey Kletscher Helbling
Lighting up the holiday season in Faribault December 3, 2017
HOLIDAY ACTIVITIES DEFINED the weekend for me in Faribault. From ringing bells for the Salvation Army for four hours to lunching at a church craft and bake sale, to buying a Christmas tree to touring an art gallery nativity display to shopping the Faribault Winter Farmers’ Market to touring the historic Alexander Faribault house to viewing Faribault’s first lighted holiday parade, my Saturday was jam-packed. But what fun to get into the Christmas spirit right here in my community.
I especially delighted in the 20-minute holiday parade along Central Avenue in our historic downtown. As the sun slipped into darkness Saturday evening, families and others gathered to watch trucks and cars and floats roll by in bright holiday lights. Snowmen, penguins, elves, candy canes, Christmas trees and more incorporated into the units added holiday cheer. Kids scrambled for candy tossed by those dressed in festive attire.
I loved this Parade of Lights, part of Faribault’s first-ever Winterfest which began on Thursday. And based on the crowds, they shared my enthusiasm. I could sense the excitement, heard the positive comments, felt the energy of a community embracing the joy of the season.
To those who organized this event (the Faribault Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism, Faribault Main Street and local businesses) and to those who participated in the parade, thank you. You brought the Christmas spirit into the heart of our downtown, into our community, into the hearts of those gathered on a balmy December evening in southeastern Minnesota.
I expect the Parade of Lights to be back next year with even more entries and an even larger crowd.
Note: Check back for more stories featuring some of the holiday activities I enjoyed on Saturday in Faribault.
© Copyright 2017 Audrey Kletscher Helbling