Winter wonderland in Camden, Dec. 5

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If you listen closely on the evening of December 5, you’ll hear the clip-clop of hooves and the jingle-jingle of bells. You’ll also hear laughter, great music and neighbors getting to know one another. Snow and cold weather mean it’s time for Northside residents to celebrate at Holiday on 44th, the free festival that brings horse-drawn wagons, twinkling lights and hot roasted chestnuts to the Camden Community.

In 1998, several Camden residents decided North Minneapolis needed a fun, free family event. The volunteers came up with a wintertime street party, spotlighting local businesses and schools, and offering a variety of entertainment. Using the arts as a medium, the planning committee hoped to provide a cheerful venue for neighbors to get to know one another and the organizations in their community.

Each year, traditional performers from a different culture are invited to perform. This year showcases a bit of diversity in American music. At Patrick Henry High School, the Roe Family Singers will perform old-timey folk music, while at Loring Community School, “Kids Dance” features lively DJs playing high-energy modern music to get kids dancing.

Most of the events at Holiday on 44th are free, making it a perfect event for families to enjoy together. Roasted marshmallows, chestnuts, hot cocoa or apple cider are available without spending a nickel, but local restaurants like Emily’s and Victory 44 will also have food for sale. At Loring Community School, the new Firebox Deli will be selling pulled pork and brisket sandwiches as a fundraiser for the school’s 5th grade trip to Camp Audubon. Near The Warren, the brand-new Northside food truck, Ta-DAyZ, will be selling calico beans.

At Loring School, the Brodini Comedy Magic show is a long-time Holiday on 44th tradition. The magician gets kids (and adults) laughing and wondering, “How did he do that?”

Down the street at Penn and 44th, jugglers toss flaming torches to one another, while nearby an artist transforms a block of ice into a sparkling work of art. Volunteers hand out warm chestnuts for spectators to enjoy as they watch the artisans. Nearby businesses like Victory’s Image and Mighty Stitch will have special deals for the evening.

Looking for gifts? The Housing Resource Center (44th and Penn) is hosting a bird feeder workshop for kids. Come early—there is a limited number of free kits to build. Those who wish to shop for local and hand-crafted items can also browse the huge arts and craft fair at Patrick Henry, which features several new vendors this year. There are even more gift ideas at the Holiday Magic market at the Goddess of Glass.

Holiday on 44th is a tradition with Camden area residents, who are undaunted by snowstorms or sub-zero temperatures. Last year, crowds gathered around fire pits to roast marshmallows and warmed their hands on fresh-roasted chestnuts, even when temperatures sunk to 10 below zero.

For a full schedule of activities/events see page 7. And also visit the Holiday on 44th page on Facebook. Your neighbors look forward to seeing you at this fun winter event.