Stringing of lights continues on Wednesday.

    Crookston’s new Downtown Square will be the place to be early Friday evening, Dec. 7, to officially kick off the annual Winter Wonderland celebration.

    Passers-by this week may have noticed some large tractors brought there by Crookston’s three farm implement dealerships – Titan Machinery, Crookston Implement and Ziegler. Soon, they’ll all be adorned with lights.

    Also, on Tuesday, city staff erected Crookston’s official Christmas tree and, on Tuesday and again at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, city council member Wayne Melbye is leading efforts to string lights on the tree and elsewhere throughout the square.

    The official lighting of the community Christmas tree will take place at 5:30 p.m. Friday.

    Crookston retailers are finalizing their plans for various sales and other specials, said Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Shannon Stassen.

    As for other activities on tap, there will be a bonfire, caroling and hot cocoa in the square. There will also be free horse-drawn wagon rides, conducted by Point Paradise Stables of East Grand Forks.

    From 5:30 to 7 p.m. those who stop by Willow & Ivy will be able to meet with Santa Claus, and volunteers at Valley Christian Fellowship will offer free gift-wrapping and kids crafts.

    Also, at the Crookston Public Library, the Friends of the Library are hosting a family holiday movie and cookies on from 5 to 7 p.m., and there will also be a coloring contest for kids in kindergarten through third grade.

    And what about Santa Land, put on by the Crookston Student Association at the University of Minnesota, Crookston and many student clubs and organizations? Well, the annual Winter Wonderland tradition this year is trying a new twist, by moving Santa Land to the following day, on Saturday, Dec. 8, from noon to 4 p.m. in Sargeant Student Center on campus.

    Student Activities Director Lisa Samuelson said she consulted with Stassen in recent months and the two decided to shake things up a bit this year and see how it goes.

    “Whether this will become a new tradition or not is yet to be decided,” Samuelson told the Times. “But you never know how something will work unless you try it.”