Merry and Bright

With the days getting shorter and snow on the way, it’s certainly beginning to feel like winter is arriving, and with it the wonderful holiday season. And that means festive decorations, holiday tunes in department stores, and lights…lot’s of them. Wherever you travel throughout Minnesota this year, you are sure to find a few holiday displays to brighten your spirits now through the end of the year.

Bentleyville Holiday Lights, Duluth. (Nov. 23 through Dec. 28). It’s billed as America’s largest free walk-though lighting display, and looking at the video and photos from years past I certainly believe it. Bentleyville is the name of the holiday village that occupies Duluth’s Bayfront Park during the holiday season. The villiage covers more than 20 acres, featuring lighting displays of all sorts. Admission, of course, is free, but donations are accepted, including those that go to the Salvation Army. Perhaps the main attraction at Bentleyville is the 128-foot Christmas tree, constructed with 17 tons of iron, 24 yards of concrete, and features more than 100,000 LED lights.

IBEW Holiday Lights in the Park, Phalen Park, St. Paul (Nov. 26-Jan. 1). More than 50 large light sculptures and animated displays light up the holiday season in St. Paul. Drive through the park to view the displays between 5:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. nightly, including the holidays. The cost is $10 per vehicle ($8 per vehicle Sunday through Thursday); $15 per limo or passenger van; or $30 per coach bus. All of the proceeds to toward charities focused on providing fundamental needs, include Second Harvest Heartland, Union Gospel Mission, St. Paul Parks Conservancy and UnderConstruction, an organization teaching youth to explore construction trades.

Bachman’s Holiday Open House Weekend (Nov. 23 and 24). Gather this weekend at Bachman’s on Lyndale in Minneapolis to kick off the holiday season. On Saturday morning guests can enjoy holiday tunes by the Southwest Marching Band, and welcome Elf Albert and Santa in their reindeer-pulled sleigh at 10:30 a.m. Join in the activities with your entire family at Bachman’s workshop. Later in the morning, guests from the Ordway’s Wizard of Oz and The Children’s Theatre Company’s Cinderella will give special performances. Santa and Albert also star in Bachman’s own unique play, Who Crashed Santa’s Sleigh?, repeated later in the day at 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m.

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