Skip to main content

This year's Luminary Loppet promises to be bigger and brighter

Here's what organizers have planned for the candlelit event – which falls on Super Bowl weekend.
  • Author:
  • Updated:

For the folks at the Loppet Foundation, embracing Minnesota's frigid temperatures has always been cool.

This year, the organization is doubling down on its celebration of winter as a founding partner of The Great Northern – a new collaboration that mashes several of the Twin Cities' signature wintry events into one big Minnesota-loving festival, with the goal of promoting the state's frigid cold as an asset instead of a liability.

And one of the Loppet's most popular events, the Luminary Loppet, promises to be bigger and better than ever in 2018.

That's because the event, which features candlelit trails and an array of ice sculptures on Lake of the Isles, falls on Feb. 3 – the day before the Super Bowl. Organizers are expecting a record crowd of 10,000 spectators.

And thanks to a Minnesota State Arts Board grant, the foundation said the Luminary Loppet will be "more luminous than ever."

New additions to the display include an ice forest with 100 7-foot-tall ice spires, a collection of musical instruments carved entirely out of ice, and six "larger-than-life" penguin puppets.

“These new features will add a whole new element of surprise and discovery to the event, and allow us to showcase local artists in a totally unique setting," John Munger, Executive Director of the Loppet Foundation said in a news release

The event will also feature large-scale ice installations with names like the Enchanted Forest, Ice-Henge, the Luminary Pyramid, and the ICEster Island Heads.

Visitors can ski, snowshoe or walk along the groomed trails on the lake. Traditionally there's also live music, performances, and hot cocoa and beer for participants. Registration is required – it's $23 for adults if you sign up before Jan. 4. More info here.

The Loppet Foundation

Since its founding by a small group of skiers in 2002, the Loppet Foundation has brought Minnesotans together around a shared passion for the outdoors.

What started as a single ski race on Minneapolis' Chain of Lakes has grown into a full-blown winter festival featuring activities for all ages, including cross-country ski events, snow sculpture contests, dog sledding, snowshoeing, and even winter bike races. 

Hopefully it'll stay cold enough for the festival this season. Last year, warmer than expected temperatures forced the Loppet to scrap several events

Next Up


80 mph winds, large hail possible with severe storms in MN

A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect for much of the state until 3 a.m. Saturday.


30 people evacuated as flooding hammers small town

It's assumed that at least eight inches of rain fell in Randall, with more heavy rain expected Friday night into Saturday morning.

Intersection in Rochester.

Boy dies in motorcycle crash in Rochester

Police are investigating as of Friday afternoon.

Tab2FileL (13)

Numerous severe storms likely in Minnesota Friday night

Watch the video for the full details with meteorologist Sven Sundgaard.

court room

Teen pleads guilty in shooting death of 15-year-old girl in Columbia Heights

Damico Jamal-Tokyo High will receive a sentence in juvenile court, along with an adult prison sentence.

Screen Shot 2022-04-25 at 11.00.01 AM

Walz wants to use surplus money to send direct payments to Minnesotans

It's a renewed effort from a previous proposal from Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan's supplemental budget in January.

Ron Johnson

Jan. 6 committee says aide for WI senator tried to give fake elector info to Pence

The attempt was discovered through text messages in the ongoing public hearing held by the Jan. 6 select committee.

Stock U of M sign

Minnesota state colleges boosting tuition again by 3.5%

The Minnesota State system's Board of Trustee's approved the increase Wednesday.


Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Friday, June 24

The next daily update will be provided Monday, June 27.

Pro choice rally

Walz, Jensen react to historic Supreme Court reversal of Roe v. Wade

After voting to overturn Roe, conservative Justice Clarence Thomas has hinted contraception and same-sex marriage protections should follow.

16362 County Rd 81, Maple Grove, Minnesota - October 2021 (4)

2-year-old killed in crash on County Road 81 in Maple Grove

The crash occurred Thursday evening on County Road 81.

police tape

BCA issues new details about St. Michael standoff, shooting

New details say a St. Cloud police officer struck the suspect with gunfire.


Discover art encased in ice at the Minneapolis Institute of Art's frozen maze

The Minneapolis Institute of Art is building an ice maze for the Super Bowl.

Say what? Zip line over the Mississippi River added to Super Bowl festivities

We're not sure how to feel about this Super Bowl attraction.

This book says us folks in Minne-sohh-da do talk strange ya know

The author says most of us believe we don't have an accent. We're wrong.

You can go skiing already at Wild Mountain

Other ski areas could open up soon as we head into a chilly week.

Art Shanty Projects will move to Minneapolis next year

It's moving to Minneapolis to be closer to its visitors (and the Super Bowl).

Two popular haunted houses in St. Paul are probably not opening this year

These haunted houses can't open unless they are up to city code.

A new artist-designed, indoor mini golf course is coming

If you could design a mini golf hole of your choice, what would it look like?

This guy is riding a pumpkin down Red River for the world record

Rick Swenson of Fergus Falls plans to ride his 1,086 pound pumpkin 26 miles for a Guinness World Record.