Luminary Loppet 2019: A Photo Essay

Luminary Loppet is nothing if not magical—and one of our art directors captured it perfectly

Photos and captions by Sommer Stelzer 

The Luminary Loppet, as you can probably guess from the name, is all about light. Fire dancers, paper lanterns, an enchanted ice forest, and an ice pyramid are just some of the features participants had to look forward to this year.  

Even the Loppet Foundation says that the Luminary Loppet is rather hard to describe. There’s a lot to take in. Basically, participants walk, snowshoe, or cross-country ski around the Lake of the Isles while appreciating the luminaries placed around the course. It’s not necessarily a race, but more of an experience. It does not have an official start or finish location, so participants begin at any of the four tent locations around the course. Glowsticks, cocoa, and treats are enjoyed on the way. Live music and a free Surly beer await the adult participants. But the biggest draw is definitely the experience of being on a frozen lake surrounded by people, ice, fire, and light. One of our art directors, Sommer, set out to capture some of the sights with her husband, Duncan. Here are her photos and thoughts. — Katie Ballalatak

“It was the perfect weather for walking over 2 miles on a frozen lake, mid 30s, and no wind, which was a welcome change after experiencing the polar vortex temps.”

 “It was so heartwarming to see all the Minnesotans out and enjoying winter festivities, rather than sitting inside complaining about the cold.” 

“I love the juxtaposition of all the fire and ice that make up the luminaries. My favorite ice sculpture installment was the spires (above) because it was spaced out and covered a larger area so you didn’t have to fight the crowds to experience it up close.”

“The fire dancers were the perfect entertainment to wrap up the walk and the kids really enjoyed it. Ooohs and aahhs could be heard across the frozen lake.”