Members of the Brass Messengers funk it up in the Black Dog cafe during the 2009 Lowertown SantaCon! City Pages has selected Lowertown SantaCon for its A-List for the last two years. (Photo by Nigel Parry)

For the third year running, the streets of Lowertown will be overrun by a mob of costumed Santas, elves, reindeer, and other colorful holiday-related characters and objects. Saint Paul’s answer to Minneapolis’ popular zombie-themed bar hops, Lowertown SantaCon is part spectacle and part mobile party.

Led by Foxy Tann, who heads the Twin Cities’ only African American burlesque troop, and accompanied by the most mischievous Minnesotan marching band in history, The Brass Messengers, the 2010 Lowertown SantaCon is a jolly jaunt around the seven bars/restaurants that make up the Lowertown Entertainment District.

Saturday December 18th at 5pm at the Hat Trick Lounge, followed by Trattoria da Vinci, Barrio, The Bulldog, and the Black Dog around 8pm, followed by Station 4 and finally Senor Wong, around 10pm. Arriving late or don’t want to get lost? Text “follow santacon55101” to 40404 for Twitter updates!

21+ only. Get really creative: come as a Santasaurus, Kwanzaa Ham, or Hannukah Chicken. Drink specials for those in costume. More info at

Watch the Brass Messengers perform during the 2009 Lowertown SantaCon


Search for a Home for the UGM Sign

By Jewel Hill Mayer
I was fascinated by everything about the mission—I tutored boys there in the 1970s—and I fell in love with that sign. I saw the north side of it whenever I drove into town from my home in Roseville. When I learned in 1981 that the mission had found a new home and the building at Seventh and Wacouta was to be razed, I called the salvage company and asked if I could have the sign. The owner said, “Okay, if you move it.”

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Saint Paul Hotel

By Chuck Tompkins
It’s 5:15 p.m. in the entryway of the old Saint Paul Hotel. It’s early winter, cold, and snowing. The lights across the street in Rice Park twinkle with the frost and people are rushing in to get warm and have the early evening cocktail at the famous bar where F. Scott Fitzgerald mulled over thoughts of The Great Gatsby. I just talked to the overworked, borderline frantic, new valet-parking operator, and he told me, “It will take a few minutes to get your car, we’re really busy.”

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Welcome to Mount Como

By Aleli Balagtas
The sign mysteriously appears when the snow starts, at the foot of the golf club driveway, announcing the start of the ski season at Como Park: “Welcome to Mount Como.” When my husband tells a friend visiting from Switzerland, a snowboard instructor, that his kids took downhill ski lessons there, the Swiss fellow looks puzzled. “But there are no hills,” he says.

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The entire 2010–2011 season will be presented at the Black Dog Café, a popular Saint Paul venue for spoken word artists, and a co-sponsor of the series. Check back with us, or join our e-mail list or Twitter feed to be informed of coming events.


DID YOU KNOW? Winter can be dangerous! In 1869, Saint Paul photographer Charles Zimmerman was struck by an icicle weighing several hundred pounds while taking images of Minnehaha Falls. He was only slightly injured.

This Whitney & Zimmerman image of Minne-haha (Laughing Water) in winter dates to the 19th century. Photographer Joel Emmons Whitney (1822-1886) shared a studio with Charles Zimmerman (1844-1909) in Saint Paul, MN. The mini biographies at the Minnesota Historical Society indicates their partnership began in 1870 and lasted until Zimmerman bought the studio in 1871. (Courtesy: Thiophene Guy/Flickr Creative Commons)

DID YOU KNOW? Saint Paul does not have any domed buildings that collapse when it snows. Minneapolis, on the other hand:


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