Members of Norman Lutheran Church, rural Kindred, are praying for snow and all for a very valid reason.
Their 10th annual Sleigh Rides are right around the corner, and snow is needed to accommodate the two sleighs and teams of horses that are the stars of the event, donated and driven by Tom and Bonnie Odegaard of Kindred.
Carolyn Thoen, member of Norman Lutheran who has been involved with the rides the last ten years coordinating the reservations, said the success of the event does depend on the weather and the volunteer members of the church who help out with various details.
"We need snow to pull this off and with the lack of snow this year, the reality of the rides taking place are tentative," Thoen explained. "We like the atmosphere created by the sleigh and horse teams, so we don't do wagon rides. Consequently, we have to have snow. We would like to see that white just for four days and only enough to coat the ground so the sleighs have enough to glide on."
The annual sleigh rides have turned out to be a very popular event so organizers don't want to disappoint anyone. "The people who attend love the area and enjoy the ride through the woods," Thoen said. "There have been many years when there is fresh snow on the trees making them a beautiful background for pictures, and many guests simply enjoy taking pictures of their families on the sleigh."
Several of the sleigh riders are repeat visitors, returning year after year from the West Fargo, Fargo area. "For many people taking in the rides has become a family tradition," Thoen noted. "And every year they come back." There have even been visitors from as far away as Germany and China.
The sleigh ride takes about a half hour to complete, followed by refreshments to enjoy including: cider, hot chocolate, and a variety of sweet treats.
Thoen said no matter if you're a first-timer or a regular, the sleigh rides promise to be an adventure you won't soon forget. "It's a lot of fun, you get to meet new people and its great entertainment seeing the kids have a good time. They just seem to love being out in the winter riding in a sleigh."
On that note, Thoen is keeping her fingers crossed that the snow forecast for today (Wednesday) will be substantial enough for the rides to become an actual happening.
If so, the schedule will read: Dec. 23, 1 to 4 p.m.; Dec. 24, 1 to 2:30 p.m.; and Dec. 26 and 27, 1 to 4 p.m. Call Thoen at 428-3225 to make reservations.
There is no charge for the sleigh rides, but free will donations will be accepted and used for upkeep at the Norman Lutheran Cemetery.
The church is located one mile north and three miles east of Kindred.