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Keith Swanson rides in the parade on a chilly Sunday afternoon at the Hubbard Prairie Sleigh Festival. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)

Sleigh bells ring in Hubbard

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By Sarah Smith

The tiny burg of Hubbard snorted to life with a vengeance on a cold Sunday.

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The Hubbard Prairie Sleigh Festival pranced through town, reliving the past with majestic horses and sleighs, with riders dressed in vintage Bemidji Woolen Mills clothing.

Brisk northwest breezes kept much of the crowd in their cars to watch the sleigh parade while others braved the elements to sample outdoor living, turn-of-the-century style, see snow sculptures, drink hot cider and let their cheeks burn in the frosty air.

A radio play and mulled wine hit the spot.

Jeff Yungbauer harnessed his female Belgian horses and eased into traffic. The horses were bigger than many vehicles on the road. He gave rides and then pulled into formation in the parade with visitors on board.

Beau Kujawa, in a red plaid wool suit, greeted visitors with programs and a hale and hearty voice.

But it was Marilyn Goffin, the village maven, who provided the color.

“Born and raised in Hubbard,” is how she described herself.

“I went to the two-room schoolhouse,” she said. “There was a big room and a little room. Each had four grades.”

She spoke of Hubbard yesteryear, a town with two grocery stores, an Oddfellows Hall, a telephone branch and a U.S. Post Office.

It was hopping.

“We had Christmas plays, celebrations, wedding showers,” she said with a trace of nostalgia.

Sunday, the quiet town came alive with the sound of sleigh bells, many decorating Goffin herself, as the town relived its colorful past.

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Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers Hubbard County, courts and breaking news.

(218) 732-3364
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