This article was written by Monica Hussey Klanderud
On Friday, December 6 friends and neighbors in the Camden Community celebrated a fun and festive Holiday on 44th. Amidst the backdrop of festive lights and holiday decorations, people attending the event enjoyed horse-drawn wagon rides and roasting marshmallows and chestnuts by a warm fire. Many stops along the avenue invited guests inside to enjoy fun-filled activities.
The Great Brodini was a hit with kids of all ages as he performed his popular magic show, and hula hoop artists from Dragon’s Fire Theater wowed audiences at Loring Community School. Rob and Aaron Graham, a grandfather and grandson team of talented ice carvers, created a Bruni ice sculpture. Wha’ Jamaican set up a food truck for people to enjoy tasty international food while Dancing Bear Chocolates, a new participant this year, shared delectable candy samples.
The generous staff at Faith Baptist Church provided hot chocolate and the opportunity to decorate cookies. They also hosted the popular bird feeder building activity sponsored by Elpis. To get people in the holiday spirit, the Northside Singers blessed event attenders with music throughout the evening. Minneapolis Bike Cops for Kids also participated in the event by teaching kids safe bike riding tips, both in warmer weather and now in winter due to the popularity of fat-tire bikes.
A flurry of activities dotted Penn and 44th, including chair massages, chestnut roasting, dinner options at Emily’s Eatery and Tori 44 (both of which stayed open late for the occasion), ice carving of the Frozen character Olaf by the talented Larry Fischer, fire jugglers, mini donuts, pictures with Santa, pony rides, and a wagon stop run smoothly with help from the Camden Lion’s Club.
Xcel Energy, Mailbox Solutions Plus, and Community Care Clinics anchored the corner demonstrating their services. Xcel showed people how to save money on home electricity, Mailbox Solutions Plus showed how they can assist with shipping needs, and Community Care Clinics offered flu shots and several easy health checks.
Over at Patrick Henry High School, families built gingerbread houses together thanks to supplies provided by Lind Bohannon Neighborhood Association. They could also enjoy face painting, admire the wood carvings of Minnesota artist Terry Faith, take in a Herobotics demonstration, and enjoy delicious egg rolls made by the PHHS Asian Club.
Several community organizations set up tables to share information and small gifts with people from the Webber-Camden and Victory neighborhoods. The artisan craft fair provided numerous shopping opportunities while the Travis Anderson Trio provided fantastic, easy-listening music. The silent auction by Patrick Henry’s Booster Club rounded out activities at the high school. Holiday on 44th was a night to remember!
The Holiday on 44th Steering Committee deserves a special thank you for their hard work making Holiday on 44th a reality for the past 22 years. Neighbors founded this magical event to help create a stronger sense of community in Camden. Their mission was to promote cultural respect and inclusion by showcasing artists from various cultures. Through the years, the event has joyfully lived up to its mission.
Unfortunately, the burden and rising costs of City permitting, the challenge in finding enough volunteers, and 44th Avenue reconstruction coming in 2020 are several reasons Holiday on 44th is coming to a close. Thank you, friends and neighbors, for helping to make Holiday on 44th a success – it has been a privilege to bring this event to you!