The Washington County Historic Courthouse has a rich history of civic and community engagement. Today the Courthouse hosts a variety of community, family-friendly events, history-based programs/exhibits, fundraisers and more. Proceeds from our events support the Historic Courthouse Restoration Fund.
To receive e-mail or text updates on upcoming Parks & Historic Courthouse events, please click here.
For a list of themed tours (ex. Nooks & Crannies Tours), click here
For the full calendar of Parks programs & events, click here.
- Christmas at the Courthouse
- Holiday Photo Sessions
- Victorian Tea
- Community Ice Cream Social
- Johnsdale Paranormal Group
Experience the splendor of the holiday season with the 29th Annual Christmas at the Historic Courthouse!
All proceeds raised from this event benefit the Historic Courthouse Restoration Fund and help preserve this historic landmark.
2021 Event Schedule
Saturday, November 20 & Sunday, November 21
2021 Vendor Applications
Visitors have begun the holiday shopping season at the Historic Courthouse for the past 29 years! Join the tradition and experience a holiday event like no other. This is a juried event and approximately 30 vendors will be accepted in 2021. To be eligible, please submit the vendor application and photos of your product and booth setup for review by the deadline listed in the application. We especially seek out local vendors with a variety of handcrafted and/or local goods.
2021 Christmas at the Courthouse Vendor Application
Deadline extended to October 1!
Holiday Photo Sessions
November 13 - December 19
It’s time to get into the holiday spirit! Experience the splendor of the holiday season and capture your merry memories at the Historic Courthouse with a holiday photo session. Professional and amateur photographers are welcome to reserve a one-hour session in the courthouse while it is beautifully decorated for the holidays, including the Santa’s Workshop holiday display. Online reservations for sessions are available on weekends from November 13 – December 19. To request a holiday session on a weekday or after office hours, please call 651-275-7075. Please review the guidelines listed below before reserving.
|Holiday Photo Session||$30 per hour||Registration opening soon|
Holiday Photography Guidelines
The Washington County Historic Courthouse welcomes photography in the building and on the grounds during the winter holiday season. However, all professional and amateur photographers must request permission for their photo session and follow all photography guidelines. This ensures that there are no scheduling conflicts with other photographers, tours, or private event rentals.
- One Hour Holiday Photo Sessions are available on weekends from November 16 through December 29 and may be reserved online. To request a holiday session on a weekday or after regular office hours, please contact 651-275-7075.
- The session fee is for the space only. A photographer and/or prints are not included in the session price. You are welcome to bring your own camera or make separate arrangements with a photographer to meet with you.
- Photographers must make a reservation prior to setting client dates or arriving at the Historic Courthouse.
- Holiday photography sessions are $30 per hour for standard family sessions, mini sessions, etc. For larger scale wedding photography, commercial, lifestyle, product, etc. shoots, please contact the Historic Courthouse for rates.
- Reservations are based on a single time opportunity and multiple sessions are not permitted without prior arrangements made with Washington County Parks staff.
- Please check in at the Parks office upon arrival.
- Use of commercial screens, external power sources, panels, backdrops, props, lighting, or other professional equipment must be details in the photography application and pre-approved.
- Please respect the work and space of others at the Historic Courthouse. The Historic Courthouse is a working building. Do not enter any offices that are not public space. Respect the tenants working in the offices by not blocking doors and keeping noise levels to a minimum.
- Please do not block any stairwells, hallways or doorways with your shoot or equipment. The Historic Courthouse offers public and private tours daily. Staff and visitors must be able to access all public areas of the building.
- Do not enter into any rooms that are in the process of being set-up for an upcoming event.
- Parks staff reserves the right to ask you to leave a space at any time.
- No antique furniture is permitted to be moved from its original location without prior permission.
- No climbing, sitting or standing atop any antique furniture pieces placed throughout the building.
- Please do not leave any personal items unattended. Washington County Parks is not responsible for any lost, broken, or stolen items.
Sip and savor a catered multi-course tea and enjoy a program by the Minnesota Historical Society in the stately historic courtroom.
Arrive early and tour the exhibits and 1900’s county jail or view displays of the Historic Courthouse China Collection in the courtroom.
The cost is $40 per person. All proceeds benefit the Historic Courthouse Restoration Fund. Enjoy a scrumptious tea while helping to preserve this historical landmark!
Community Ice Cream Social
July 15, 2021
5:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Held outdoors on the grounds of the Historic Courthouse, the Ice Cream Social is a perennial community favorite.
The Ice Cream Social is free to attend and open to the public. Bring a blanket and enjoy live music on the lawn. In the event of rain, the event will be canceled.
Featured fun includes:
- Live music: Tricia & The Toonies (5:30-6:30pm) & Kashimana (7-8pm)
- Children’s games and activities
- Paper Sculptures with Franconia Sculpture Park
- Root beer floats, ice cream, Brats / hot dogs, chips, etc. available for purchase
- Local vendors
Proceeds from the root beer floats, ice cream, and Historic Courthouse merchandise benefit the Historic Courthouse Restoration Fund.
A special thank you to our event sponsors, Edina Realty and Lift Bridge Brewery.
Kashimana is a mother, musician, vocalist, composer, producer and teaching artist with a rich soulful blues voice that soars through their original compositions. The name Kashimana means "that's their heart" and you can hear Kashimana's heart beating in the compelling sound of their music which is an exploration of Soul, R&B, Folk, Afro-funk and more. Kashimana often draws from her Nigerian heritage and experiences growing up in Nigeria and Kenya and living in the United States. Kashimana is a 2021 Jerome Hill Artist Fellow and 2019 Cedar Commissioned Artist.
Tricia & The Toonies
Tricia, Pete, and their very funny puppets captivate family audiences from the first roar of belly laughter through to their last delightful song. Add LOTS of audience participation and volunteer opportunities and you have everyone engaged in these uplifting and fast-paced musical comedies.
Johnsdale Paranormal Group - Presentation
Saturday, October 2, 8 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
$5 per person. Registration is required.
Join Johnsdale Paranormal Group as they kick off the Halloween season at the Historic Courthouse with some paranormal strangeness! Justin Miner and his group of investigators will be recounting some of their most hair-raising experiences with ghostly phenomenon in a one-hour public presentation (plus time for Q&A). Participants will have the opportunity to see and hear creepy evidence captured on their audio and video equipment from some of the most notorious paranormal hotspots in the Midwest. They will be revealing the findings from their April investigation of the Historic Courthouse itself!
Call 651-275-7075 to register.
This program is limited to 50 participants.
Face masks are required for both vaccinated and nonvaccinated individuals.
Johnsdale Paranormal Group - VIP Investigation
Saturday, October 2, 10 p.m. - 2 a.m. $95 per person. Registration is required.
Join the Johnsdale Paranormal Group for a VIP investigation of the building and enjoy an exclusive look at the Historic Courthouse after hours! Registration also includes entry into the presentation beforehand from 8-9:30 p.m.
Bring your own phone, camera, or small recording device to take your evidence home to share with family and friends! Johnsdale Paranormal Group will lead various demonstrations, but the equipment will not be made available for use by event attendees.
Call 651-275-7075 to register.
This experience is limited to 10 people.
Face masks are required for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.
Due to the areas of the building that may be used as part of the investigation, it is not considered accessible.