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Santa's coming home again

Don't worry, Kids, Santa is making his way to Carlton County again.

The Santa's Home for the Holidays festivities are back, thanks to the United Way of Carlton County.

"The United Way is proud to support community events like Santa's Home for the Holidays. We are looking forward to a fun weekend full of holiday spirit," said United Way executive director Ali Bilden Camps.

Of course, like any event during the pandemic, there were a few changes but all of the most important elements are intact.

As always, the main event is the Santa's Home for the Holiday parade and fireworks, filled with brave marchers and lighted floats making their way through downtown Cloquet starting at 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4.

But the fun starts before that.

On Thursday, Dec. 2, enjoy a free chili feed 4:40-7 p.m. at Our Redeemer Church, 515 Skyline Blvd., sponsored by the Cloquet and Fond du Lac police departments.

And it's open house 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday in Cloquet's historic West End. Numerous businesses on Avenue C, Broadway and Avenue D will stay open and invite people in for refreshments, shopping and/or entertainment, including an art show featuring Dan Malkovich at the Pine Knot News office at 122 Avenue C.

The Cloquet library will also have an open house 4-6 p.m., featuring storytime with Santa at 5 p.m.

Queen of Peace Catholic Church will again offer photos with Santa and dinner 4:30-6:30 p.m. Friday. The cost is $10 for ages 13 and older and $5 for kids ages 3-12. Enjoy spaghetti, some holiday crafts and shopping, and photos with Santa by photographer Alan Johnson, with the purchase of a meal.

Saturday is the big day for the holiday celebrations. Things kick off early at Churchill Elementary School with a pancake breakfast sponsored by Boy Scout Troop 171, starting at 8:30 a.m. (enter from Arthur Street), followed by the holiday expo and craft fair 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is $5 until 11 a.m., and free after that. Cost for the pancake breakfast is $5 each, and it lasts until 10:30 a.m.

Head over to Wood City Motors, Washington Avenue and Highway 33, between 1 and 4 p.m. for a magic show, hayrides and more, including a visit with live reindeer, sponsored by MCCU.

The Cloquet Educational Foundation and the Cloquet Area Fire District will offer s'mores and hot chocolate starting at 4 p.m., with fire rings to cook on and Christmas carols sung by the Cloquet High School madrigals, until the parade begins at 5 p.m.

The parade goes down Cloquet Avenue from 18th to Eighth Street, and people are encouraged to dress appropriately. Participants need to preregister for the parade; see http://www.unitedwaycarltoncounty.org for more or stop by the Pine Knot office for a form. Fireworks over downtown Cloquet and Veterans Park begin immediately following the parade.

Bilden Camps said the United Way was happy to step up and help organize this year's event, but they are "desperately" looking for 6-8 volunteers to help with the parade Saturday 4-5:30 p.m. Call 218-879-8404 with questions or to help.

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