The competition is under way for the Red Bull Crashed Ice World Championship outside the Cathedral of St. Paul. Spectators around the icy track are enduring cold temperatures to watch the extreme sport. But when they need a break to warm up, Cathedral staff and volunteers are right inside the doors to welcome them.
They greeted visitors Friday afternoon and invited them to walk around and explore the warmth of the Cathedral.
“I’ve seen this church so many times and never knew you could just walk in and look around,” said Robin Zima of Mound as she explored the church. She and her husband, Tim, planned to visit the Cathedral while they were in town for the Red Bull event. They even did research about it online the night before.
“I’ve never been to a church this nice. It really is breathtaking, just stunning, I can’t believe it,” Tim Zima said.
Chris Judd, a student at McNally Smith College of Music, grew up in Virginia and heard stories about the Cathedral from his parents, who lived in St. Paul 30 years ago.
“They said this is probably one of the most magnificent pieces of architecture they’ve ever been in, “ he said. “They always encouraged me to come here, but I didn’t until today. Something just said, ‘Come on in.’ It’s really peaceful here, it’s really cool,” Judd said.
The Cathedral is open to visitors today from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., as it has been throughout the event. There is a welcoming table in the narthex offering self-guided tour brochures. Visitors can purchase Cathedral souvenirs, including books, posters, sweatshirts and winter hats.
Cathedral liturgies and parish activities were moved to the St. Vincent de Paul campus at 651 Virginia St. in St. Paul Jan. 12-14.