EXCELSIOR — From Father Christmas to live reindeer, Excelsior was full of Christmas spirit over the weekend.
Excelsior’s 14th annual Christkindlsmarkt kicked off on Friday, Nov. 29, with the Grand Opening Parade, led by Julie Krueger dressed as the Christkind Angel. The parade also featured Grand Marshall Bobby Jensen and Town Crier Daryll Leipold.
“The reason we started it 14 years, it was started by a group that lived in Excelsior and by merchants,” organizer Myrle Mackenzie told Lakeshore Weekly News. “We wanted to have an event that would be totally focused on the family and would show the quaintness of the city.”
The three-day event included a German market with local vendors and German fare, Disney’s “Frozen” sisters Elsa and Anna, North Pole Trolley rides with Father Christmas and Alaskan reindeer.
On Saturday evening, the St. Martin’s Children’s Lantern Parade marched down Water Street with children and families holding German lanterns and candles. At the end of the parade, the children and Father Christmas lit the Christmas tree and folks sang Christmas carols.
Mackenzie believes last year around 40,000 people attended Christkindlsmarkt. Organizers don’t have an exact count for this year, but she estimates around 4,000 to 5,000 people attended Friday’s festivities and about 10,000 more stopped by on Saturday and Sunday.
The weather was colder than in previous years, she noted, keeping people inside.