Minnesota town of Afton plans celebration to honor hometown Olympic hero Jessie Diggins

The welcome-home party will be noon-5 p.m. April 2 in Afton’s Town Square Park, rain or shine; Diggins will arrive at 1 p.m. Afton is about 25 miles east of St. Paul.

The United States' Jessie Diggins competes during the Women's Cross Country Skiathlon during the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games on Feb. 5, 2022, in Zhangjiakou, China.
Matthias Hangst / TNS

ST. PAUL -- Grab your glitter, everyone. Jessie Diggins is once again coming home with Olympic hardware.

A party to celebrate the most decorated cross-country skier in U.S. Olympic history will be held April 2 in her hometown of Afton.

Diggins, 30, won a silver medal in the women’s 30-km freestyle and a bronze medal in the women’s free sprint at the Winter Olympics in Beijing last month. She also has a gold medal from 2018.

“She’s absolutely amazing,” said Afton City Council member Stan Ross, who is organizing the event. “Watching that 30K race, at the end, she just absolutely committed. She leaves it all on the track. I was really worried about her, to be honest. It looked scary, but that’s the way she races.”

The welcome-home party will be noon-5 p.m. April 2 in Afton’s Town Square Park, rain or shine; Diggins will arrive at 1 p.m. Afton is about 25 miles east of St. Paul.


Diggins will speak at the event, but “primarily she will be on hand to say hello, pose for photos and show off her Olympic medals and World Cup trophies,” Ross said.

Diggins is known for wearing glitter on her face when she races. It reminds her sports are fun, she told NBC Sports in January. “It’s sports. When you put the glitter on, you can’t help but smile.”

There will be food trucks, a raffle and a “glitter station” at the event. The glitter station will be managed by the Stillwater Area High School girl’s Nordic ski team; Diggins is a graduate of SAHS and skied for Stillwater. In addition, Selma’s Ice Cream Parlor will be selling a special commemorative sundae in honor Diggins – complete with edible glitter, Ross said.

Jessie Diggins at her 2018 parade in Afton, Minnesota.
John Autey / St. Paul Pioneer Press file photo

In January, Afton officials installed a banner over St. Croix Trail in the city’s Old Village with Diggins’ photo and the words: “USA Go Jessie Go!”

This will be the second homecoming celebration for Diggins. Afton held a similar event in 2018 after Diggins and teammate Kikkan Randall won the U.S. cross-country skiing team’s first-ever gold medal in the team sprint.

“Like I told her mother, I love the term, ‘Wash, rinse, repeat,'” Ross said. “We’re happy to keep having them.”

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