City to recognize Aug. 15 as Lake Harriet Elf Day

Council Member Linea Palmisano's son Charlie drops off a letter for the Lake Harriet Elf. Credit: Submitted photos

The City Council will honor Thom, the Lake Harriet Elf, with a special resolution on Aug. 15 and declare the date Lake Harriet Elf Day in Minneapolis. 

Following the presentation, there will be 30-minute youth-oriented tours of City Hall from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. along with celebrations featuring cake and other “elfish activities,” according to City Council Member Linea Palmisano’s office.

The elf, also affectionately known as Mr. Little Guy, faithfully answers letters placed next to his tiny elf house on the south side of Lake Harriet. 

A draft of the resolution honors the elf for “20 years of building community.”

The resolution notes that the elf “is not a gnome, not a troll, and not a fairy, but an elf who has contributed mightily to making Minneapolis a special place and brought national acclaim to our city.”

It also commends the elf for not seeking “fame nor fortune for revealing his identity, resisting continual pleas for him to show himself while teaching us about life and love and caring and joy.” 

Palmisano has also written a touching letter to the elf, thanking him for his community service. Here’s an excerpt:

As you may have heard, City Hall is putting on a party in recognition of your work. As your City Council Member, I want to take this moment to personally thank you for your service to our community. You have spent 20 years inspiring creativity and joy in children. You have found a unique way to contribute, one that deeply enhances our community and our daily lives.

I first saw your door when I was new to Minneapolis. Running around the lakes at night, I was worried about my safety. Seeing your door made me realize Lake Harriet was not just a park nearby, but a place I could call home. I look forward to when my toddler is old enough to scribe a note to you, and I hope that this cherished endeavor you began continues for many years to come. One reason I serve at City Hall is that someone cared enough about me as a child to teach me that I could make a difference. You close every letter with the simple—but powerful—statement: “I believe in you.” These words instill the understanding that each child is capable of making a difference. 

Palmisano’s office is also asking residents to share letters and stories about the elf. Contact Gabe Epstein at [email protected]