Minnesota is pretty festival-friendly all year long, but December is more jam-packed than any other month. Here are just a few of the events taking place around the state (outside of the metro area) by the end of 2012.
In southeast Minnesota, the town of Plainview celebrates the 19th annual Old Fashioned Christmas, complete with horse-drawn carriage rides, a gingerbread house contest, live music and plenty of food.
Austin is already in the spirit with its annual Festival of Lights taking place Thurs-Sun from 5-10 p.m. through 12/30. Santa appears on Sunday night and will come right to your car.
The beautiful river town of Lanesboro, which calls itself the “Bed and Breakfast Capital of Minnesota,” showcases those B&Bs decorated for the holidays in its annual Christmas Inn Tour on Dec. 2. You can make a day of it in Lanesboro by also visiting the Local Marketplace Holiday Open House and stopping by the Lanesboro Art Center for live jazz from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Visit the sumptuously decorated Historic LeDuc House in Hastings on Dec. 1-2 and Dec. 8-9. On Dec. 2, there will be a special dinner with music (reservations required).
Worthington is host to Christmas at Pioneer Village Dec. 7-8. Take a wagon ride to dinner at the Red Garter Saloon, then check out the live entertainment before Santa arrives.
Head to Grand Rapids on Dec. 8 for Christmas in the Logging Camp for a tour of the Forest History Center grounds, where you’ll find lumberjacks in action and horses pulling carriages before visiting the cook’s shack.
Scandia’s Gammelsgården Museum offers Annie’s Swedish Coffee Parties on Dec. 8 and 22. Take a tour of the historic buildings, learn about Swedish culture, and enjoy some traditional treats (and, of course, coffee).
There are plenty of women’s nights out, but Spicer takes a different approach with its Men’s Night Out on Dec. 17. Guys—need help with your holiday shopping? This is the place to be.
Duluth’s Glensheen Mansion is decorated for the holidays and offering Holiday Brunches on Dec. 8-9 and 15-16. The brunch begins with a tour of the historic mansion. Reservations strongly recommended. The Mansion also offers ”Dolly and Me” holiday teas on Dec. 8 and 15.
Near Duluth, Spirit Mountain will celebrate the Winter Solstice in fine outdoor style on Dec. 21, the same day the tubing hill is scheduled to open. On 12/22, Santa will visit the Spirit Mountain slopes.
East Grand Forks will see out 2012 at its annual Celebrate the Night on New Year’s Eve. This is a family friendly event with live entertainment, food, ice sculptures, and midnight fireworks.
What else is happening in our state? Be sure to check out the 10 p.m. Tuesday night WCCO newscasts, where you can learn more in the weekly segment, Finding Minnesota.