MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Tonight marks the beginning of a trademark Minnesota Winter Celebration.
The Loppet Festival is expected to draw an extra large crowd this year.
Preparations are underway at Theodore Wirth Park for cross country ski racing. Lake of the Isles will host the annual luminary celebration.
“Luminary ticket sales are going to hit record numbers because people are like, wow it will be 32 degrees when I walk or ski or snowshoe around Lake of the Isles, that makes for a pretty attractive evening,” executive director of the Loppet, John Munger said.
But it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for the marquis Minnesota event.
Years past have proved too cold, or too warm, this year is predicted to be just right.
“Most days we pass out mole skin and hope for the best, right, but when it’s going to be 30, 35 degrees and there’s plenty of snow on the ground, it’s a great time to come out and enjoy winter in Minnesota,” Munger said.
Whether it’s skating, or skiing, or just marveling at ice sculptures, this frozen playground is ready for action thanks to some precise preparation by the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board staff.
Alice Ferguson and her coworkers worked hard to groom the skating ice.
“That’s what Minnesota is about. We live here, we expect it and we’ve learned to adapt to it so I think it’ll still be fun,” Ferguson said.
As for the ice condition, there are about 15 inches but there are some thin ice warnings, that’s because of some runoff from sand and salt on the roadways.
Alice Ferguson and a team of bold Minnesotans are smoothing out that surface on a picturesque day.
Pro skaters Michael Young and Amy Ferguson got a jump on the weekend celebration because in Minnesota cold days create cool moments. They tested out the ice and savored the weather.
“I love it, for me if its going to be cold, I want snow,” Michael Young said.
And he got it.
“We skate, we sled, we ski, we freeze,” Ferguson said.
There are still tickets to the Loppet events online: https://www.loppet.org/events/parallel45/tickets/
Or you can show up tomorrow night to the Luminary Loppet and buy tickets in person.