The snow -- and the show -- go on for the Christmas City parade
There was no question that Lisa Juten and her family would stand outside along Superior Street in a snowstorm to watch Friday's Christmas City of the North Parade.
"This is Duluth. This is what Christmas City is about. It's the snow, it's cold, you never know what Duluth is going to bring," she said.
She traveled from just north of Duluth to watch the parade downtown, she said, adding, "We have trucks. We know how to drive in Minnesota."
She danced in it as a child and now her daughter dances in the parade. Her daughter was so excited that there was no way she would miss it, Juten said.
"It doesn't matter what the weather is. To be in the parade is a big deal," she said.
People lined the skywalks over Superior Street and stood along the windows in the Holiday Center to watch the parade go by from the warmth of the indoors. Outside on Superior Street, kids in snowsuits threw snowballs and people wrapped themselves in blankets on top of their winter jackets for extra warmth. They instinctively pulled their hoods close around their heads as gusts of wind whipped snow into their faces, and some took advantage of the gaps between parade units to go into the buildings along the street to enjoy a few minutes of warmth.
As a snowstorm raged in Minnesota all day on Friday, people in the Northland questioned whether the parade would go on. Parade organizer KBJR put that uncertainty to rest with a Facebook announcement Friday afternoon: "Weather has never caused us to cancel the Christmas City of the North Parade in 58 years, even in worse conditions than today," which prompted some critical comments raising concerns about people traveling to Duluth for the parade in poor weather conditions.
The Habedank family traveled from Carlton to see the parade, and Wes Habedank said he was hoping the parade would take place despite the forecast snow.
"I read on Facebook that they haven't canceled one for 58 years so they were going to have it. We were all happy about that. We just didn't want to come and be like, 'Oh, it's not happening,' " he said.
While their two older children were excitedly watching the parade, Wes' wife Kate was keeping their 2-month-old son snug and warm, zipped up inside her winter jacket.
"If he can be here, anybody can be here," Wes said.
It's a family tradition to watch the parade, Kate said, while Wes added that the tradition includes stopping in at Sammy's Pizza before the parade. The best part is watching the kids enjoy the parade, Kate said.
Before the parade started, Lauri Shatto and her family were watching out a skywalk window for the first parade float to come into view on Superior Street. Her husband works nearby, so they thought they would stay warm in the skywalk with their two kids before going outside once the parade reached downtown.
It was their first time watching the entire parade. They've tried to watch it on TV at home in Superior, she said, but they get distracted and don't end up watching the entire event. The warmer-than-normal November had provided an incentive to plan to see it in person this year.
"We thought the weather had been so nice lately that we would get lucky, but we didn't," she said with a laugh. The snow didn't deter them, she said, adding: "We were like, 'Let's just do it.' "