MOORHEAD, Minn. — A winter marvel has come to sparkling life in downtown Moorhead.
"Mary's Tunnel," a 60-foot canopy adorned with 50,000 small, but very bright lights, is in Viking Ship Park behind Moorhead's Hjemkomst Center.
The glittering walkway is named in honor of Mary Schmitt, a city of Moorhead employee who died unexpectedly last November at the age of 54.
Lights for the tunnel, part of the Fargo-Moorhead area's Frostival celebration, which runs through early February, came from Moorhead City Manager Dan Mahli, who acquired the lights after hearing that they were no longer going to be used to adorn trees in downtown Fargo.
Mahli stored the lights in his own garage until they could be incorporated into what has become a family friendly attraction that lights up downtown Moorhead's night sky from dusk until dawn.
Mary's husband, Kevin Schmitt, said his wife's boss at the Neighborhood Services Department called and invited him to come out and see how it turned out.
"I went down there and it was so beautiful that it made me smile for the first time," Schmitt said.
Schmitt went through a serious health challenge himself recently and he said Mary was beside him throughout the entire ordeal.
When his wife became ill herself, it came on suddenly and she died shortly after doctors discovered a very large tumor in her brain, according to Schmitt, who said the tunnel of lights is a beautiful way to honor his wife's memory.
Asked if he's heard the site has been the scene of at least one marriage proposal, Schmitt said he indeed has.
"I think it's awesome," he said.
- More information about Frostival and associated events can be found at frostival.com.
- Information about Frostival events exclusive to Moorhead can be found at cityofmoorhead.com/departments/parks-recreation/frostival.