Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Arli-Dazzle Christmas Light Parade

A small Minnesota town with a surprisingly big holiday celebration


Published:


Photo courtesy of The Arlington MN Chamber of Commerce

When I was little, my dad would drive my siblings and I around our small town of Arlington to look at all the festive lights people would put up. We’d listen to Christmas music on the radio and ooh and ahh over people’s decorations. We’d ask dad why we didn’t decorate our own house with lights every year—even though we knew it was because of our location 10 miles outside of Arlington, where rarely anyone would see the decorations.

In 2009, much to my delight, Arlington started an annual tradition of a Christmas-themed light parade. Now, in 2016, it's considered (probably) one of the biggest lighted parades in Minnesota, which is quite a feat considering Arlington’s population is only 2,000 people. The parade and winter fireworks (held this year on Dec. 3) is my hometown's biggest event of the year, and well worth the one-hour drive from the Twin Cities. And there's so much more.

The Arli-Dazzle celebrations begin in the morning, with Santa Day at the community center, which includes art projects, a bake sale, book sale, and lunch available for purchase. Other festivities throughout the day include Santa’s reindeer, horse drawn sleigh rides, interaction with a real sled dog team, and a snowball baseball game. The whole town joins in on the fun (no Scrooge found here) with businesses decorating their storefronts, and everyone helping out with the festivities. A few years ago, I helped my church sell hot chocolate to parade goers as a fundraiser for a mission trip, and my siblings have helped out before by selling hotdogs before the parade.  

 The decorations downtown add to the Christmas cheer—lighted strands of garland reach out across the road from building to building and red-bowed wreaths are centered above the middle of the road. It’s like something you’d see in a picture book—and always made better, of course, by a light snowfall after the sunset. There may be more elaborate Christmas displays elsewhere, but I’ve always thought my hometown had the best decorations of any town ever.

From participating in the parade with Kay Marie & Carol’s School of Dance (we danced to “Ice, Ice Baby” with battery operated light strands wrapped around our arms) to watching on the sidelines with my family as the lighted floats go by—the Santa and Mrs. Claus float is always the favorite—Arlington’s Arli-Dazzle parade always puts me in the Christmas spirit. 

Arli-Dazzle Parade
Saturday, December 3, 2016
Visit arlingtonmnchamber.com for the parade route, new additions to the festivities (such as ice sculptures from Waterville, Minn. and the professional caroling group Decantus), and a schedule of activities.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

About This Blog

Whether you are a seasoned Twin Cities traveler or planning your first trip to Minnesota, this blog will introduce you to many new adventures to add to your itinerary. From day trips and scenic discoveries to luxurious girls weekends, travel tips, and insider scoops, our editors will give you all the information you need to enjoy your stay Up North.

Learn about the contributing writers.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Travel Blog

Guide to the Minneapolis Aquatennial

Celebrate the City of Lakes at this family-friendly festival

Upcoming Art Fairs Highlight Local Creativity

Where to head for the best Minnesota art fairs and festivals this summer

Niagara Cave: What Lies Below

One of the state's most alluring sights is tucked underneath its southern prairies.

Southern Suds

The concoctions of these southern Minnesota breweries deserve the attention of your glass.

River Riveters

St. Paul women hope to make waves in world's longest canoe race

Southern Minnesota See and Do

Make time for these southern Minnesota treasures next time you find yourself in prairie country.

Southern Minnesota Travels

Whether you have a taste for the sweet, live entertainment or the back nine, you'll find it all in your travels through the southern part of the state.

Strawberry Picking at Pine Tree Apple Orchard

It’s berry season, and there’s no better way to enjoy the refreshing summertime staple than by picking your own

Best Places to See the Fireworks in the Twin Cities

Vintage Finds in South Minneapolis

Shop the Minnehaha Mile for Retro Goods

Wild Rumpus is a Bookstore Come to Life

It may not be named after “Where The Wild Things Are,” but it’s a kid’s dream anyway

Outdoor Yoga Events this Summer

Take advantage of the summer weather by bending and breathing your way through various yoga classes under the sun

Twin Cities Caffeine Crawl

The new take on the classic pub crawl provides a different kind of buzz

Old Rittenhouse Inn: Home Away From Home

As a housekeeper for the famous bed and breakfast, this Bayfield native experienced a one-of-a-kind summer
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags