EAGLE RIVER - Small businesses in Eagle River hope free sleigh rides will draw more shoppers.
Saturday kicked off the 5th year of free sleigh rides around the downtown area.
The Eagle River Business Association sponsors the rides.
Small businesses believe the free rides down Eagle River's main street will make visitors more aware of local businesses.
"We thought that it would be a good idea to get people downtown to see what businesses we do have downtown. Even if they don't shop on the day that they come down for the sleigh rides, you know they can still see what businesses we have and what a great little town we have here in Eagle River," says Eagle River Business Association president Gail Newitt.
Hundreds of people come out each year to take a scenic ride around town.
The Christmas season is the second biggest shopping season for downtown Eagle River.
Businesses depend on it to carry them through the winter.
"It definitely brings people [to] downtown Eagle River. And during the Christmas season it really helps. You know, we've got to draw as many people as we can down here. There's a lot of good shopping down in this little town. You might not find everything you want, but you certainly can find a lot of things," adds Newitt.
You can get a free sleigh ride every Saturday in December from 11am to 2pm.
Just stop by the Eagle River Historical Society Museum on Railroad Street.
LAC DU FLAMBEAU - Ruby's pantry opened their doors Tuesday in Lac du Flambeau. This is the first time the Ruby's pantry has set up shop there. They decided to come to Lac du Flambeau because of the good turnout in Rhinelander. The food pantry asks that people give a $20 donation.
“It's not your typical food pantry,” says Gloria Cobb, Ruby's Pantry Lac du Flambeau Lead Coordinator. “This is an opportunity to give people dignity, to serve with dignity, and it's a donation base.”
“I mean look at the hustle and bustle going on we've got the community coming together not only Lac du Flambeau but the surrounding community coming together to meet a very basic need and that's to help with hunger,” says Cobb.
The pantry offered items like strawberries, cake mix, and toilet paper. More than 400 people were expected to show up.
“A participant will go through the line with a laundry basket and or box and they will be offered items,” says Cobb. “They can refuse them however we will encourage them to take the item because somebody else that they may know may have a need.”
“They get a certain amount of each item and they go through the line like an assembly line,” says Cobb.
The pantry had more than 21,000 pounds of food to give away.
WAUSAU - Students at Northcentral Technical College in Wausau got to see Tibetan monks create a work of art steeped in Buddhist history.
The Mandala Sand Art is an ancient Tantric Buddhist tradition dating back thousands of years.
The Tibetan Monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery are on an international tour called Mystical Arts of Tibet where they create mandalas in front of an audience.
"The colored patterns we are using, we are following the scriptures, the Buddhist scriptures. It's a very old tradition, more than 2,500 years ago," says Geshe Loden, head of the Mystical Arts of Tibet.
The monks' last visit to Northcentral Technical College in 2011 was so popular, they were invited back.
"At NTC we feel like it's important to offer our students a variety of different programming, and one of the things we feel our responsibility to do is expose our students to other cultures, other religions, other ideas," says Director of Student Development Shawn Sullivan.
The monks work hours at a time placing sand delicately in the lines of the intricate pattern.
The mandala will take them four days to complete, but the beautiful creation won't last long.
"After finishing this, making the mandala, we consecrate this completed mandala, and we dismantle it to symbolize the impermanence of all the conditioned things, all the phenomena," says Loden.
The monks' tour raises money for more than 3,000 monasteries in India. They also do it to raise awareness about the plight of Tibetans.
"Lord Buddha had started this, and that tradition keeps going on."
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