St. Croix Dazzle

Three can’t-miss holiday events on both sides of the river.
The pergola at Lowell Park in Stillwater decked out for the season.

There’s no doubt something magical starts to happen this time of year, as the freezing river literally and figuratively connects the Valley once again with twinkling holiday cheer. The St. Croix Valley “is a holiday destination, but with an emphasis on hometown for the holidays events running from Black Friday to New Year’s Eve,” says Christie L. Rosckes, marketing director for Discover Stillwater.  We asked both Rosckes and Andrea Jorgenson, director of communication and programs for the Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce, to weigh in on their favorite picks for upcoming holiday events.

Christmas Tour of Homes and Craft Sale

Hudson || November 18–20

Experience the holiday sparkle and cheer by touring four privately owned homes and the historic Octagon House decked out in Christmas decorations. “What we’ve found is that this is a women’s weekend—very much a Hudson tradition, 31 years in the making,” Jorgenson says. “Moms, daughters, sisters and girlfriends come to not only see the décor but to shop downtown.” Of course, the craft sale and marketplace—open Saturday at the Hudson House Grand Hotel—is a bonus, offering handmade gifts. Learn more at the Discover Hudson website.

Shop Small Saturday

Stillwater || November 26

“Stillwater’s downtown is all independently owned shops and restaurants, with 100-plus local businesses to support, have a pleasant shopping experience in and find unique gifts,” Rosckes says. The annual event typically includes free horse-drawn wagonette rides, reindeer, Santa and, of course, delicious food and drink to warm you inside and out. 10 a.m.–6 p.m. 100 Main St., Stillwater.

Biercycle Caroling Tours

Stillwater || November 26–December 24

Sing the holiday classics while pedaling the dressed-for-the-holidays biercycle through the streets of downtown Stillwater with a brew to keep you warm; BYO snacks, wine, hot chocolate and beer. The biercycle has 10 pedaling seats and a bench seat on the back for three people. “Downtown Stillwater has an all-American holiday feel this time of year,” Rosckes says. 2–3 p.m., reservations required. Water Street, downtown Stillwater.