Luminary Loppet illuminates city

Annual event brings community together


Kaia Myers

This ice castle luminary was located in the Icecropolis display on Lake of the Isles. The Luminary Loppet was hosted as a part of the 2020 City of Lakes Loppet Winter Festival Feb. 1.

Sofia Seewald

Lake of the Isles was an illuminated scene Feb. 1. Fire throwers, giant glowing penguins and polar bear figures, bustling hot chocolate stands and an ice band were all featured at the 2020 Luminary Loppet. 

The Luminary Loppet is part of the City of Lakes Loppet Winter Festival run by The Loppet Foundation. The festival ran from Jan. 3 – Feb. 2 and consisted of numerous Nordic, skijoring, snowshoeing races, a snow contest, the Luminary Loppet and an REI Co-op Luminary Party. If you are looking to participate in the Loppet festival weekend in a non-competitive manner, the Luminary Loppet is the most magical, family-friendly event. 

All ages were represented at the Luminary Loppet, from little kids being pulled in sleds to elderly people walking with snowshoes. There were walkers, skiers and snowshoers, with a groomed trail made for those who decided to ski. 

Some of the best attractions included a maze of cone-shaped rotating ice sculptures, a band that performed only with instruments made of ice, a group of fire dancers dressed in eloquent costumes and the lit-up island filled with dazzling ice sculptures. Listening to the ice band was a mind-boggling experience. The mixture of smooth, low voices adding to the sounds of the ice drums and chimes was its own genre. Walking on the island was the perfect ending to the night. There were ice sculptures of intricate household items such as china plates, and there was a large, magical ice castle display. 

The event also provided hot chocolate stands spread throughout the candle-lit trail to provide a warm beverage if people started to feel cold.

The inconvenient part of the Luminary Loppet is the challenging parking and traffic around the lake and the difficulty of trudging through the snow on the lake if you are walking. One precaution to this event is to come dressed appropriately for the cold weather, as my feet got cold after an hour of being outdoors. 

According to The Loppet Foundation, the City of Lakes Loppet Winter Festival helps raise money for struggling families in Minneapolis and brings the broader Minneapolis community together. 

“We create a shared passion for year-round outdoor adventure in the Minneapolis area, focusing on underserved youth and families. Ethnically and economically diverse individuals and families come together around a shared passion for the outdoors — a passion that is universal. The Loppet Foundation is at the center of this shared passion in Minneapolis.”

The Loppet Foundation had a successful Luminary Loppet this year that both brought the community together and offered a way for members of the community to donate to a good cause, with tickets for youth being $12 and adults being $22.50.

For more information on future events, visit the Loppet Foundation website.