Weather forecasters say it’s going to be bone-chilling cold this weekend.
That’s right: It’s going to be cold … in January … in Minnesota.
Anyway, we like to celebrate Old Man Winter here in Stillwater, so we’ll up the mind-numbing wind chills with a good old-fashioned ice cream social from noon to 4 p.m. at Mulberry Point in downtown Stillwater.
(There will also be a bonfire, ice skating, chili and hot beverages available.)
Here’s the National Weather Service’s forecast, so you can dress accordingly:
Saturday: A 20 percent chance of snow. Partly sunny, with a temperature rising to near 35 by 10am, then falling to around 19 during the remainder of the day. Wind chill values between zero and 10. Breezy, with a west northwest wind 9 to 19 mph increasing to 19 to 29 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 38 mph.
Saturday Night Mostly cloudy, with a low around -5. Wind chill values between -12 and -22. Blustery, with a west northwest wind 23 to 28 mph decreasing to 11 to 16 mph after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 37 mph.
The Washington County Historical Society is encouraging people to wear historic garb appropriate for the occasion.
“We might see some interesting lumberjack outfits that have been in the attic for decades,” Brent Peterson, executive director of the WCHS said. “We don’t expect too many vintage swimsuits, but you just never know.”
Peterson came up with the idea when he discovered some old photographs of past winter ice cream socials from the 1950s.
“When you see these old photos, everyone looks like they were having so much fun, despite the cold,” he said. “It was a true celebration of Minnesota winter, so we just decided to try it ourselves in the 21st century.”
Past to Present
Back in 1950, Stillwater businessman Gib Larson of Snowland Foods—as well as other business people—held the first winter ice cream social at the St. Croix Boom Site. Even though the temperatures were well below zero, more than 1,000 people came out and enjoyed the ice cream and the season.
The event was moved to Lowell Park the next year and later it moved to Lily Lake. It was sponsored at that time by the Jaycees and eventually faded away like winter into springtime.
“This event brings together our history and the community,” Peterson said. “What a great way to celebrate the place where we live, enjoy our neighbors, have fun with all the snow and eat ice cream to boot.”
The ice cream, cones and chili will be provided by Leo’s Grill & Malt Shop and the coffee from River Moon Coffee. This event is also sponsored by the Stillwater Convention & Visitors’ Bureau.
The ice cream and coffee is free; there will be a nominal charge for the chili.
There will be a bonfire going to keep the family warm; and if the weather is favorable, Aamodts will bring a hot air balloon and have it tethered for all to sneak a peek at the balloon.