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Pat Moen poses for a photo with family members who wear holiday costumes each year on the corner of Fifth Street and Beltrami Avenue for the annual Night We Light Parade. She is pictured in the back row between DeeAnne Moen and Sarah Moen. In front are Jayda Moen, 8, Ellie Hughes, 10, Lily Krona, 9, and Bjorn Krona, 6. Laurie Swenson | Bemidji Pioneer

Night We Light Parade brings holiday cheer despite cold

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BEMIDJI – After a high temperature of 54 degrees Wednesday, the temperatures sharply dropped for an icy Thanksgiving Day. On Friday, the high was only 16, but it didn’t stop crowds from forming along Beltrami Avenue for the Night We Light Parade.

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Kendra Vogt had her son Wyatt, 4, and daughter Hayden, 3, bundled up to go home after the parade. Both were cold but had fun, she said, adding that the candy was their favorite part.

“They really enjoyed the lights and Santa’s float at the end,” Vogt said. “That was a hit.”

On Fifth Street and Beltrami Avenue, Pat Moen and her family stood guard over the corner, several of them decked out in creative holiday costumes.

“This is our corner,” Moen said, explaining that she and family members have stood on that corner for the parade for five or six years. They arrive half an hour early to get their spot.

Family members were dressed as Santas, elves, a snowflake and a Christmas tree. Ellie Hughes, who came from Little Falls for the festivities, was a Christmas tree, complete with a pair of “gifts” that went over the 10-year-old’s boots. Her father is serving in Afghanistan, so she is looking forward to showing him pictures of her costume.

“I tripped once,” she said, adding that she still had a good time and was warm inside the tree.

Jayda Moen, 8, dressed as a snowflake, said she was cold, but that seems appropriate for a snowflake.

They were joined by Lily Krona, 9, as an elf, and Bjorn Krona, 6, as a Santa. Grownups dressing up were Sarah Moen as an elf and DeeAnne Moen as a Santa.

Children happily leaped on candy tossed along the parade route, some by people in costumes. Many kids were excited to grab for the handfuls of bagged snacks from the Old Dutch float. One young boy was willing to share, as he tapped the arm of a nearby grownup and kindly handed over a bag of cheese snacks.

Real Living First Realty and Port-Able John’s floats each featured a brightly lit sleigh, reindeer and colorfully wrapped gifts, but Port-Able John had a portable bathroom on its display, dubbed “Santa’s Pit Shop.” NLFX had a brilliant light show going on as its float passed by.

Santa waved from the Bemidji Fire Department’s ladder truck in, as always, the final float of the parade, and children cheered and waved back after a happy if cold evening.

As long lines of cars slowly left downtown, the motorists who passed the Lake Bemidji waterfront got their first look at the familiar holiday lights on the trees near the Tourist Information Center and Paul and Babe.

The annual Night We Light event is a collaboration between the Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Development Authority and the city of Bemidji.

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Laurie Swenson
Laurie Swenson is a reporter/copy editor for the Bemidji Pioneer. She has been with the Pioneer since 2004.
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