Lake Park Parade of Trees has new home, expanded schedule for 2022
Though it will still have its traditional grand opening on Thanksgiving night, Nov. 24 at 4 p.m., Lake Park's 17th Annual Parade of Trees will look a bit different this year, with a new home (at the corner of State Highway 10 and County Highway 5) and an expanded schedule. It will be open on three weekends this holiday season, with the last day scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 11.
LAKE PARK — When Lake Park's American Legion post home burned down this past spring, and initial bids for the new Legion building came in significantly higher than expected, delaying construction until next year, it looked as though the community's annual Parade of Trees holiday celebration might be in jeopardy.
But thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, a new venue for the celebration was secured at the last minute, and the celebration will open as scheduled on Thanksgiving night, Thursday, Nov. 24 at 4 p.m.
Because of the change of venue, however, the community will be able to enjoy the display of more than 30 unique and creatively decorated trees a bit longer. Besides Thanksgiving weekend, Nov. 24-27, the Parade of Trees will also be open on Dec. 3-4 and Dec. 10-11.
"We've always had to move out of the Legion that Sunday (after Thanksgiving) because they had other events scheduled," explained Abby Anderson, one of the women coordinating this year's Parade of Trees. "This year, we don't need to do that."
That's because the building at the corner of State Highway 10 and County Highway 5 (the former home of Bud's) will be sitting empty through the holiday season, as it was recently acquired by a new owner and is not in use at the present time. The new owner (who asked to remain anonymous, Anderson said) sat down with festival organizers and reached an agreement to donate use of the building this year.
"He's not charging any rent, and he's donating the utilities," Anderson said. Their benefactor also suggested that the festival should continue a bit longer, so they extended it to two additional weekends.
Viewing hours will be 4-8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 24; 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 25-26, as well as on Saturdays, Dec. 3 and Dec. 10; and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sundays, Nov. 27, Dec. 4 and Dec. 11.
Though they are hoping for at least 30 trees this year, coordinating the event last-minute has been a bit more challenging than in previous years.
"It's been kind of difficult" to put everything together so quickly," Anderson said. "But this community always rallies; you ask them to do something, and it's done. We only have a week, but as someone said, 'We can do this, we have a week.'"
As an example, Anderson said, when they decided to include a silent auction as part of the event — proceeds from this year's Parade of Trees, including the silent auction, are going to help fund a new Legion building — they put the notice out on Facebook and within a day, several items had already been donated.
Those who would like to decorate a tree for this year can still sign up, Anderson added. "Set-up and decorating of trees will be on Sunday, Nov. 20, Monday, Nov. 21 and Tuesday, Nov. 22," she added.
Decorating will take place between 1-6 p.m. on Sunday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on Monday and 5 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, she added. Volunteers are also needed for tear-down and cleanup on Sunday, Dec. 11, which starts at 4 p.m. Those interested in signing up to decorate a tree or help with set-up, takedown and clean-up should contact Anderson at 218-238-5872 or firstname.lastname@example.org ; Melanie Hanson at email@example.com ; or Karen Erickson, 218-849-1627 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
As always, there is no cost to view the trees, or to enjoy the coffee, cider and Christmas treats provided by volunteers. Free will donations will be collected at the door, however, with proceeds to benefit the Legion rebuild project, as noted above. They will also have Parade of Trees commemorative ornaments available for purchase during the event, Anderson said.
If you go
What: 17th Annual Lake Park Parade of Trees
Where: 910 Hwy. 10 Drive South, Lake Park
When: Viewing hours will be 4-8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 24; 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 25-26, as well as on Saturdays, Dec. 3 and Dec. 10; and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sundays, Nov. 27, Dec. 4 and Dec. 11.
Who: Organized by the Lake Park Parade of Trees Committee
How: Free and open to the public; however, free-will donations to benefit the Lake Park American Legion Post 181 rebuild project will be collected at the door.
Light Up Lake Park
A few years ago, the Parade of Trees Committee established a new holiday tradition, the "Light Up Lake Park" Christmas decorating competition. Lake Park residents and businesses are invited to decorate their homes, yards and businesses to make the holiday season a little brighter, with cash prizes of $100, $75 and $50 being given to the first, second and third place winners, respectively. Judging will take place at dusk on Sunday, Dec. 18.