Updated: February 04, 2021 07:47 PM
Created: February 04, 2021 05:58 PM
If it was just the bitter cold temperatures, the head of the Loppet Foundation said she wouldn't be concerned. But, because they have to put on an event in accordance with COVID-19 protocols, they can't have warming huts, they can't serve warm drinks and they can't put people in shuttles. However, it's not just the cold causing changes.
"I always say it's impossible to not love winter in Minnesota on the night of the Luminary [Loppet]," Lindsey Johnson, event operations manager with the Loppet Foundation, said.
One by one, each ice luminary will transform Theodore Wirth Park.
"We had people make them at home this year because we couldn't have large gathering to make all 1,300 of them," Johnson said.
Johnson is part of the team bringing the Luminary Loppet to Thursday and Friday night instead of this weekend because of the looming cold temperatures.
Still, "people need an experience outside," Claire Wilson, executive director of the Loppet Foundation, said.
The magical experience of the Loppet Festival in the woods of Wirth Park is about to get bitterly cold.
"Because of COVID, we couldn't have spectators this year anyway, we could only have participants on the course," Wilson said.
While COVID-19 is putting a freeze in some plans, Minnesotans are hearty and know how to thaw out.
"It's never too cold, you just don't have the right clothing, so we just layer up and lean into the whole Minnesota experience," Ken Smith, a St. Paul resident, said.
Participants will get the full experience at this year's event, with wind, snow, and the cold.
"I'd rather have some snow than have it be on the edge where it's just mushy gook, you know?" St. Paul resident Carolyn Sparks said.
Sparks plans to simply add layers if she goes out and about this weekend.
Katherine Gladney and her son, Ian, aren't going to let this weekend's chill stop their winter fun.
"We are actually going to go to the ice maze over in Stillwater on Sunday, it's supposed to be zero but we're just going to bundle up, get the warm packs on the feet and hands and that'll be really fun, before the Super Bowl, just to get outside, even if it's just like 30 minutes," Gladney said.
It's just enough time to breathe in some fresh air, even if it almost takes their breath away.
"The cold will not stop Minnesotans," Wilson said.
Wilson added that, if it's about minus five degrees, events may completely shut down because it's not safe or comfortable for the participants and volunteers.
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