I write this with a heavy heart. A 22-year-strong holiday tradition that I’ve loved since I was 12 and hoped to share annually with my own children is coming to an end. This holiday season is the last for the magical Holidazzle Parade. If you’re here, please go out to see it.
The Holidazzle started as a method of bringing holiday shoppers to downtown Minneapolis instead of shopping suburban malls. And it worked. Each year, tens of thousands of people have lined Nicollet Mall on chilly December evenings to watch the twinkling lights (more than 350,000 of them!) on the dozen floats and hundreds of volunteers that march from 12th Street to Fourth Street. Kids of all ages can spy their favorite storybook characters like Peter Pan and Captain Hook, Princess and the Pea, the Wicked Witch and Dorothy, and Santa Claus himself.
I have a December birthday, and a trip to the Holidazzle was part of my celebration each year. I fondly remember bundling up, grabbing some cocoa, lining up along the route with thousands of others and anticipating the first float coming down the street. My preschooler has just hit the age where he could find the wonderment in this event and it breaks my heart to see it end before we can create a new family tradition.
Besides being a wonderful family event and holiday tradition, the Holidazzle is incredibly unique to the Twin Cities. I mean, a parade in the middle of winter, not to mention in the dark? Who else does that? The parade has definitely been a shining example of our creativity, hardiness, celebratory personalities, and love for winter. Next year, Minneapolis promises a new way to celebrate the holidays. But for this year, I’m going to take a moment to be thankful for a special tradition before the last light goes out.
INFO: Holidazzle Parades, Dec. 6-7, 13-14, 20-21, Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, www.holidazzle.com