Large crowds expected for Loppet Festival as temperatures rise

With temperatures looking to finally climb above zero, event organizers for the Loppet Festival are preparing for large attendance as Minnesotans break free from cabin fever.

The Loppet Festival is a Minnesota staple. It brings out the best in outdoor, winter activities: cross country skiing, fat tire biking and the ice luminaries. Thursday night kicks off some of the racing events.

Organizers say they are always prepared for different winter conditions. This year, there was the possibility of the weather being too cold, while in other years they have prepped for warmer elements.

With the temperatures going up, event leaders are excited for this weekend. They anticipate a huge crowd especially on Saturday at Lake of the Isles where the ice luminaries are a huge attraction.

"That event is 10,000 people out skiing and walking on the lake where we've had 300 volunteers creating ice luminaries and ice spires, Ice Henge - an absolutely magical night," said John Bussey, the director of events.

Tickets are required for the ice luminaries on Saturday, but they are available upon arrival to Lake of the Isles. The public is encouraged to come check out some of the other races, which start Thursday night at Theo Wirth Park.

There will be shuttles to provide people with rides from the different parking lots.