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WATCH: Stockholm celebrates winter solstice early

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The fire tower lighting warmed the crowd gathered behind Sandy's Clothing and Art in Stockholm. Steve Gardiner / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 6
Mild temperatures made for a comfortable evening as visitors gather outside the Humble Moon Folkstead during the Fire in Stockholm event. Steve Gardiner / RiverTown Multimedia3 / 6
Luminaries and lighted Christmas trees shine near the Stockholm Pie Company and General Store on Dec. 15, 2018. Steve Gardiner / RiverTown Multimedia4 / 6
Fire dancers dazzle the crowd in front of the Humble Moon Folkstead in Stockholm, Wis., on Dec. 15, 2018. Steve Gardiner / RiverTown Multimedia5 / 6
Visitors follow a pathway lighted by luminaries to the area behind Sandy's Clothing and Art During the Fire of Stockholm event Dec. 15, 2018. Steve Gardiner / RiverTown Multimedia6 / 6

STOCKHOLM, Wis.—A burning Christmas tree, several bonfires, dozens of luminaries, and fire dancers were all part of the Fire of Stockholm event celebrating the winter solstice on Dec. 15.

"This was the third year for Fire of Stockholm," said Amanda Scholz, owner of the Purple Turtle Artisan Collective and chair of the Stockholm Merchant's Association. "It is part of our three-week-long Christmas celebration that we brand as God Jul, which is like saying Merry Christmas."

The actual solstice is Friday, Dec. 21.

The crowd Saturday night was the largest to attend the event, according to Scholz.

The event features luminaries lining the streets and pathways through the center of Stockholm. Carolers started the evening at Sandy's Clothing and Art with singing and a fire tower, before proceeding to Humble Moon Folkstead to watch a performance of the North Star Fire Dynamic fire dancers who have performed at Burning Man.

"It is a magical event that is family friendly," Scholz said. "It is something different than you would see at other Christmas celebrations. It is not your normal visit with Santa. It is a little something different."

Scholz said the Stockholm Merchants' Association wanted to "let people know we are still here, and we are a viable option for your Christmas shopping."

But it is also more than just shopping, Scholz said. "It is about creating memories with your family, creating new traditions, and experiencing them."

Steve Gardiner

Steve Gardiner taught high school English and journalism for 38 years in Montana and Wyoming.  He started working at the Republican Eagle in May 2018.  He focuses on features and outdoor stories.  

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