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Leech Lake Chamber Members Go Green!

verb:  Reuse

When you reuse something, you use it again instead of throwing it away.


I found many examples of reusing online:  use cloth napkins, use old t shirts for yardwork, reuse paper, check out garage sales, the list goes on and on.  But no where could I find someone who reused their Christmas trees over and over.

 The Leech Lake Area Chamber of Commerce sponsors a November event every year called the “Festival of Lights.” It happens the weekend after Thanksgiving.  The park is decorated in holiday lights, weekend activities include: A Reindeer Ramble race, a Children’s party with Santa, horse & carriage rides.  The past few years we have added potted Christmas trees placed around town, the stores then decorate their trees and storefronts and light up our town for the holidays.  This past year was the best yet, driving through our down town almost seemed like a Hallmark Movie Moment.  After the holidays, the trees were picked up and disposed of.  

 Turf Tech of Walker supplies our Christmas Trees.  218-547-4647

But this year, some of our local businesses wanted to have an event on our beautiful Leech Lake.  Soon some very energetic business owners started to create ideas and the 1st ever Frost Fest s born. 


One of the most important things the group wanted was to make this a “green” event.  “Leave No Trace” became their theme.  Along with that comes the reuse, reduce and recycle.  It was a natural partnership to include our Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation.


The Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation took part in the first annual Leech Lake Frost Fest. This new “Leave No Trace” on-ice party was held on February 10 from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. LLAWF Co-sponsored this event along with Portage Brewing Company, Piggy’s BBQ, Tianna Country Club, Green Scene Market, Reeds Sporting Goods, Trappers Landing Lodge and Upstream Homebrewer’s Club.



The day was an inspiring success! So much so, that I am positive that Frost Fest will be back next year, and I am also certain that my family and I will once again participate.  BUT back to our reuse story…..

 Tianna Country Club planned an on-ice golf course, with the sun shining and the music playing, people took to the frozen waters of Leech Lake with their golf clubs.  Every hole had a warming house and activities to do while they warmed up.  But the question they had was how do we make it look like a golf course?  With trees of course!


Tianna Counry Club set up the outdoor, on the lake golf Course (Trees are in the background)


Our Christmas Trees were moved off the city streets and moved onto the lake to be the backdrop for the first ever Frost Fest.  It was beautiful, and it was cold.


During the festival, the Schmidtke family was having a grand time golfing their way around the lake when a thought popped in their heads. “Our goats would love to nibble these trees.”  They contacted Carrie from Tianna and it seemed a natural fit.  The family collected the trees in the back of their truck and hauled them home.


Over the next few weeks, Pebbles, a black mother goat and Sweet Pea, her daughter have been enjoying the twigs of our Festival of Lights trees.  Cindy Schmidtke shared some pictures and told us about their goats.  The goats eat the branches so clean that they are a smooth, almost like a walking stick, when they finish.  The Schmidtkes have to  limit the goats, so they do not eat all of their holiday treats at one sitting. 


Like the attached symbol shows, we are complying with the recycle, reduce & reuse, what a great community effort.

 Roxanne Parks:  Leech Lake Area Chamber of Commerce


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