November 28, 2003 at 8:18 a.m.
Arnold gradually got involved in organizing and outfitting participants in the Friday night parade and it’s a little known fact that she designed and sewed the walking Christmas Tree costumes. Another one of her festival tasks is to set up over 100 luminaries around town.
She doesn’t really recall when she officially enlisted in the lighting festival committee; she’s always enjoyed pitching in to help create the “magic” that permeates Taylors Falls during the festival.
This year a little of that magic will settle upon Arnold.
She has been being honored for her small town spirit as the 2003 Taylors Falls’ Royal Lady.
Each year a woman resident gets to ride in the place of honor in the Lighting Festival Parade and wear the red velvet cape.
A Taylors Falls Royal Lady has been named every year since 1989 and the list includes scholars, a postmaster, businesswomen, a librarian and others who by definition, “go above and beyond the ordinary in promoting Taylors Falls and making significant contributions.”
In typical self-deprecating fashion Arnold tells of calling her daughters to let them know she’s been chosen Royal Lady. “I asked them if they would be embarrassed about me being in the cape and all; and one of them said, as opposed to what-- you dressed in public as a Christmas tree?”
Arnold runs a daycare in her home, a newer split level on Folsom Street.
She is licensed for 14 and also teaches pre-school. For seven years prior to opening her daycare she worked at Taylors Falls School as a para-professional.
Of her affinity for Taylors Falls, Arnold explains that she grew up in a small town near Mankato, and loves that atmosphere.
She came to this area in 1976 with a husband who was employed by Wild Mountain at the time. She says, “It is a beautiful little town and even when I travel somewhere it’s always nice to get back.”
She explained that the Lighting Festival is a way to contribute to the town, and it lends meaning to her own holiday. “It’s not just a saying, “peace on Earth.” Here, during the festival...you get to meet new people from all over plus your neighbors, and take time to connect...it isn’t hectic. I have lots of memories from lighting festivals.”
Royal Lady is officially bestowed at 6 p.m. in downtown right before the parade steps-off tomorrow night, Friday, November 28.