Crosslake traditionally hosts an annual St. Patrick’s Day parade that would make other cities green with envy.
But not this year, or the year before. Due to the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing guidelines from health experts, the parade that attracts tens of thousands was canceled.
“This year, due to COVID and not being able to do the traditional parade, we still wanted to do something in the community,” said Mikinzie Fox, a St. Patrick’s Day parade committee member.
The Crosslake St. Patrick’s Day Shenanigans will take place Friday, March 12, through Sunday, March 14, but with an emphasis on having fun responsibly.
Crosslake businesses and residences are encouraged to decorate for the holiday contest.
“St. Patrick’s Day is kind of a staple in Crosslake, so we still want to be able to do something, but do it safely and be able to follow COVID guidelines and so that’s how our ‘Yardi Pardi’ decorating contest came up,” Fox said.
Fox is the retail manager in the Brainerd lakes area for Frandsen Bank & Trust in Crosslake. She said the bank branch will start decorating Monday for the Irish-based festivities. Those interested in the free-to-enter contest can register online at the chamber of commerce website.
“Many people probably won’t officially sign up. They’ll probably just decorate,” Fox said of the citywide contest in which trophies will be awarded after the judging takes place Friday. “In Crosslake, many people decorate even when there’s not a contest involved.”
Julie Gowen, owner of J.A.G Interior Solutions in Crosslake and a designer, said she plans to have the Rusty Crayfish Brass Band play outside of her place of business 12:30-3 p.m. Saturday.
“I think it will be a blast for people to be outside, to be around fun, friendly people and get to see what businesses we have in Crosslake. And it’s just camaraderie. We all need to get back to being a community with good neighbors, good friends,” Gowen said.
Fox said the bank’s plans for decorating for the Yardi Pardi contest include hanging green lights outside, yard ornaments and an 8-foot-tall inflatable leprechaun.
“I'm also trying to figure out a way to dye our snow green in the front yard,” Fox said.
Gowen said of her business’ outdoor decorations, “We’re looking at a pot of gold. Once it’s finished, we’ll have a pot of gold with the arches of the rainbow coming out of it.”
Trying something new is the theme for St. Patrick’s Day events everywhere. In lieu of a parade, the organizers of the Brainerd’s downtown St. Patrick’s Day Celebration are encouraging people to get outside and stretch their legs on Saturday in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day this year.
Organizers of the St. Patrick’s Day festivities in Crosslake also want people to be out and about — but in the hopes visitors will shop local businesses while checking out the decorating contest.
“We’re just kind of decking the place out in as much green as we can find,” Fox said of the Crosslake St. Patrick’s Day festivities. “There’s usually a parade on the weekend of St. Patrick’s Day, and people come to town just for that, but now we’ve kind of had to do other things.”
Lucky Leprechaun Amazing Race
Besides the decorating contest, the Crosslake St. Patrick’s Day Shenanigans celebration also includes a Lucky Leprechaun Amazing Race modeled after the CBS reality TV series “The Amazing Race.”
“Each business can create a mission to do. … We’re just hoping that it’s fun,” Fox said of the race that is intended to encourage people to shop local.
The Crosslake take on the namesake prize-winning contest is free to enter and can be completed at one’s own pace.
“There’s an app where they will go around to complete these missions — to try and get people to just kind of stay spread out but also get them to go all around Crosslake,” Fox said.
Contest participants will have to travel around the city to locate businesses and landmarks, complete missions and earn points. Using a mobile device, contestants either by themselves or with others as a team will track their progress and other contestants on the leaderboard.
“People are kind of really itching to get out — I know that — and hopefully this is a way to be able to do it and do it safely, and people can still have fun in the community,” Fox said.
Gowen, whose husband is 100% Irish, said, “Everyone has to adapt, and everyone knows that, if they want to still celebrate St. Paddy's Day and still have festivities, we have to do it this way, so that we’re compliant with COVID guidelines.”
For more information about the Crosslake St. Patrick’s Day Shenanigans, visit crosslake.com.