Happy New Year from Fort Snelling State Park

01 Jan 2017 2:05 PM | Anonymous

What a day and what an event! I cannot say this enough: we could not have done it without you. Thank you for everything you did to support Fort Snelling State Park’s New Year’s Eve Candlelight Walk event.

Overview: It was a beautiful day for set up and gorgeous evening for the 4-8 pm event at Fort Snelling State Park. With temperatures in the 20s the park’s parking lots were nearly full by 5 pm. Thousands of hikers joined arrived to stroll the road on Picnic Island. Just over a mile of road, parking lot, and trails were lit for safe walking. On Wed, Dec 28 park staff


  • 32 volunteers set out and lit luminaries beginning at 1 pm on Saturday afternoon. Approximately 300 gallon bucket luminaries were set out and 100 ice luminaries were placed throughout the park
  • A handful of volunteers held down the fort at Shelter A and handed out 25 gallons of (mostly) hot apple cider!
  • Most of the s’more supplies lasted for the whole event outside of Shelter A.
  • The candlelit story stroll (In the Snow: Who’s Been Here) was a big hit and nice family friendly addition this year.
  • Bonfires hosted by area volunteers and neighbors (Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, Friends of Fort Snelling, Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, and Wilderness Inquiry) warmed countless fingers and toes throughout the night.
  • 125 2017 Annual Passes (featuring Father Hennepin State Park) were sold during the event and the new on-line registration system allowed dozens of folks to purchase their day passes and annual passes before the event!
  • One “trick” candle held up the countdown at 7:59 pm but teamwork prevailed and another successful event was put to bed.

And the number everyone is really interested in: attendance! Every year this event grows larger and this year was no exception. The mild temperatures, the great press, and word of mouth brought a crowd of nearly 4000 people to this event. It’s hard to get an exact count because some folks hiked down from the Historic Fort and some folks arrived early and stayed… but we believe attendance was somewhere between 4000 and 5000 people this year.

Thanks again and cheers to a wonderful 2017!

Contact Us:
Office: (651) 455-6100

Address:  Sherry Howe
7926 Barbara Avenue
Inver Grove Heights, MN  55077

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