ORONO — Santa arrived at the second-annual Orono Tree Lighting with a police escort.

The jolly Mr. Claus stepped out of the police cruiser at the Orono Golf Course to meet with children of all ages, along with Orono City Council members and Orono Mayor Denny Walsh.

After Santa arrived, he set up in the clubhouse surrounded by two Christmas trees and Christmas decorations galore and got to work asking the children what they would like for Christmas.

“Traditions are important,” Walsh said. “If you live in a community that has great traditions, that just makes the community that more cohesive.”

Walsh said the city and the Parks Commission is working to make the golf course more of a community amenity by bringing back the sledding hill and building a bigger deck.

He mentioned they are also installing a fire pit area and potentially working to make the golf course a place for weddings and events.

The event also featured a tree lighting, executed by Walsh. Near the tree was a roaring bonfire for admirers of the tree to stay warm.

The event also included sledding, hot chocolate, cider, coffee and cookies.

Donations were collected at the event for the Western Communities Action Network. City Administer Dustin Rief said $61 was raised.

The Orono Golf Course is located at 265 Orono Orchard Road S.

Frances Stevenson is a reporter for the Lakeshore Weekly News, covering the communities around Lake Minnetonka.


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