Hopkins gets a head start on holiday cheer

‘Old fashioned’ celebration scheduled Saturday, Nov. 26

by Gabby Landsverk, Sun Sailor Newspapers

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the suburbs. With snow already on the way, residents will deck the halls (and Mainstreet) Saturday, Nov. 26 with carols, decorations, ornaments, live reindeer and more as part of the annual Old Fashioned Holiday in Hopkins.

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Submitted photo

Elaine Goepfert, chair of the event and owner of the I Love Photography studio on Mainstreet, said the date was intended to coincide with Small Business Saturday, the shop-local answer to Black Friday events.

Deb Beckman, manager at Driskill’s Downtown Market, helped to organized the first year of the event.
“I made the comment of how Mainstreet would make the perfect place for families to come celebrate the holidays and start family traditions like I remember doing as a child,” Beckman said. “A few of us on the HBCA (Hopkins Business and Civic Association) board got together and learned there had been wagon rides and reindeer in the past. We took off with that … and the rest is history.”

Goepfert has been involved in the event since she opened her photography studio in Hopkins.
“I’m a pretty big community person and I wanted to get involved right away,” Goepfert said. “It was a very serendipitous way to get involved … I’m a huge Christmas lover anyway, so it was an easy step to getting involved in committee.”

She said it’s a great event not only because it promotes local businesses, but also brings the community together for family friendly fun to kick off the holiday season.
“I’m really excited about the holiday season. It’s doubly important for me because not only do I have my business here in Hopkins, but I live here and have my children here,” Goepfert said. “It’s super fun to promote an event that supports the small business community, but also to go and promote this free event for families in the community. It’s really fun for the kids.”

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In total, 26 Hopkins businesses are involved in the party this year, both on and off Mainstreet.
“We’ve done this in the past and it’s been a really fun event. We want to make it bigger and better this year,” Goepfert.
She said more activities have been added at participating businesses to accommodate the large crowds expected at the event.
Her studio will host pictures with Santa, as always, but will now include as special holiday photo booth for guests to use as they wait in line for their moment with Mr. Claus.

Also new this year is a gingerbread house building contest, open to the public, with a $500 prize sponsored by Mill City Sound.
“It was really exciting to reinvigorate that this year,” Goepfert said.

Food will also be available this year for participants to purchase from participating local restaurants.
Most importantly, however, the city will close off a portion of Mainstreet for the event, to allow for street carolers, a parade and other festivities.
“This biggest change this year is we’re actually shutting down Mainstreet. We’ve never done that before and we’re really excited about it because it invites offstreet businesses to join in,” Goepfert. “It was kind of a bold move but it opens up a lot of opportunities.”

Other activities include fire pits and marshmallow roasting, wagon rides, ornament decorating, coloring contests and live reindeer sponsored by Think Hopkins and Hopkins Center for the Arts.

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Police officers will be at the event raising funds for Cops and Kids shopping event in December.

The grand finale will be a parade down Mainstreet, ending in a tree lighting ceremony at Downtown Park.
“I’m just really looking forward to the ambiance of the whole thing. Everyone has done such an amazing job of pulling together,” Goepfert said. “It’s exciting to kick off the holidays with what’s going to be a really fun event.”

Festivities will be 1-5 p.m. and (unless otherwise noted) are free of charge. For more information, visit old fashionedholiday.com.

Contact Gabby Landsverk at [email protected]