Despite Snow, Linden Hills Reindeer Events Bring Holiday Spirit to Southwest Minneapolis
Despite several inches of snowfall and the snow emergency parking restrictions that followed, shoppers, runners and families showed up for Reindeer Day and Night events. Some even wore costumes.
Editor's note: Photo gallery is located at bottom of page. There's another gallery of the Reindeer Run, also shot by Alison Nowak.
This year, Linden Hills added Reindeer Night to the always popular Reindeer Day holiday celebration.
One of the evening's attractions was a display of ice globes and lanterns from Wintercraft. "A lot of the success of our displays depends on the weather," Wintercraft employee Sara Johnson, said on Wednesday. "We're hoping it will stay cold and snow a little bit."
The weather granted Sara's wish for Reindeer Night, and then some. The snow began falling in the afternoon, with several inches accumulating by 6 pm Friday, when Reindeer Night started.
While snow made travel to the event difficult, it also added a holiday air to an event already in progress. Attendees walked from shop to shop, stomping in entryways to do their best to get snow off their boots before perusing special sale merchandise and Reindeer Night specials—which included items like a free poinsettia at Linden Hills Florist and a drawing for a $25 gift card from Twiggs.
Events the next morning started early with the Reindeer Run. Cars struggled to find parking amid the piles of snow but the overall mood was cheerful. People jogged down the middle of the street, trying to make up the time they lost scraping snow off their cars that morning.
Costumes and holiday-themed running outfits were worn by many, with reindeer horns and Santa hats most common.
As the racers lined up to run, the announcer warned, "This is probably not the day to set a PR [personal record], the roads are going to be slippery."
Among the runners waiting for Santa's signal to start the race were runners wearing boxes wrapped as packages; a pair of runners in gingerbread man costumes; and a man wearing only a speedo, running shoes and a Viking hat.
A little after 9:30, the race started, as it does every year, with Santa proclaiming, "Ho, ho, ho…go."
After the race, many runners joined shoppers in the Linden Hills Village. Dunn Brothers Coffee had a line to the front door, despite the four baristas who worked quickly to get people their coffee drinks. The coffee shop was filled to capacity with a mix of runners chatting about the race they ran and families just arriving at Reindeer Day.
Just down the street, a throng of people gathered around the live reindeer waiting their turn to pet them and pose for pictures.
"This is my first event," said John Gaebel, one of the reindeer handlers. "But these guys, they do events all the time," referencing his charges Comet and Cupid, who were on view outside of Linden Hills Dentistry.
In addition to the other activities at Reindeer Day, a number of groups were on hand to promote their charitable causes. A sidewalk bake sale offering blue frosted cupcakes, brownies and cookies and was held to benefit juvenile diabetes research.
Denise Griep talked to passers by about her cause, the need to replace the deteriorating Linden Hills tennis courts. She handed out bright green flyers describing the need for new courts. The Linden Hills tennis courts are currently used by a variety of players including Inner City Tennis and the Southwest High School tennis teams.
Sara McClintock, an employee of Linden Hills Floral, felt the Reindeer events were a success this year. "I think they had a decent turnout given the snowy weather," she said, gesturing out the window. Outside was a North Pole-like scene. Despite the cold and snow, families gathered around reindeer and passerby dressed in costumes swigged lattes in the festively decorated village of Linden Hills.