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As the holiday season ends, Minneapolis says goodbye to the Hollidazzle parade

After 22 years of bringing joy and entertainment to the streets of Minneapolis, the 2013 holiday season marked the final run of the Holidazzle parade.

January 7, 2014

The+final+float+of+the+Holidazzle+drives+down+Nicolett+Mall.+The+float+ran+for+the+last+time+on+December+21.

Kendel Malcolm

The final float of the Holidazzle drives down Nicolett Mall. The float ran for the last time on December 21.

After twenty-two seasons of the Holidazzle, a Twin Cities holiday tradition that families have grown to love will no longer be running down Nicollet Mall. The Minneapolis Downtown Council has an abundance of plans and changes for the city of Minneapolis’ popularity as well as the Downtown holiday experience.

Since 1992, families have journeyed out into the harsh, freezing Minnesota weather to bear witness to the Holidazzle parades. Bright lights, wild costumes, and the familiar tunes of Christmas songs usually pack the 20-25 minute parades.

Over the years, the Holidazzle parades have been the source of memorable experiences for many. “My family went to the Holidazzle every year, and one year, my brothers and I were asked to be in it, and sit on Santa’s sleigh. I got to sit on Santa’s lap and my brothers sat on either side of me; I cried the whole time because Santa scared me,” junior Annie Appelhof said.

It’s sad to think this will be the last year of what has become a Christmas tradition for my family.”

— Caroline Wagner

Over 172,600 volunteers, 134,475 of which are dressed in costume, have cozied up into 550 parade costumes during the course of the Holidazzle’s existence, ensuring a diverse and magical experience each year.

“My mom, my sister Teagan and I were in the Holidazzle a few years ago and we were bumblebees. My mom was really enjoying it and she was spinning around while my sister and I walked ahead. When we passed our family on the street the joy on their faces was contagious. It was an experience neither she nor I will ever forget,” junior Mikela Wolf said.

Numerous families use the Holidazzle as a reason to connect and make memories with visiting relatives, celebrating the holidays in the process. “Every year my little cousin, who lives in New York, visits for Christmas. When we were younger, we would always go to the Holidazzle. He used to stay with my grandparents, so before, my grandma used to make us a bunch of dinner and cookies and stuff. Then we would go to the parade and he would get really excited and talk the whole time. It was really cute,” freshman Kasey Desmond said.

The 2013 Target Holidazzle is a fresh and revamped event, with bright floats, celebrity Grand Marshals, and jolly old Saint Nick himself. Several families have formed traditions in attending the parades, such as going out to eat before, bringing visiting relatives along, and simply delighting in watching the colorful floats and costumes pass by.

“My family and I go to the Holidazzle every year. We have a little tradition that we go to the Local for dinner before the parade. Recently we have begun to take my little cousins to see it when they come to Minnesota before Christmas. It’s sad to think this will be the last year of what has become a Christmas tradition for my family,” junior Caroline Wagner said.

We are taking a step back to really look collectively at the downtown experience, and what we can do to activate the streets 365 days a year.”

— Leah Wong

Prior to this holiday season, the parades ran four nights a week. This year the parades ran Fridays and Saturdays from November 29 to December 21. A total of eight parades this year is a large difference from the twelve parades run in previous seasons.

The Downtown Council’s plan to bring the city of Minneapolis into the spotlight promises an encouraging future for the city. “We are taking a step back to really look collectively at the downtown experience, and what we can do to activate the streets 365 days a year,” Leah Wong, spokesperson for the Downtown Council, said.

Even though the Holidazzle is soon to be no more, the Downtown Council is heavily committed to constructing a holiday event that will continue to draw people in as the Holidazzle did. According to the Minneapolis Downtown Council, the “Downtown 2025” plan is focused on transforming Nicollet Mall into a more appealing setting and making the city consistently compelling to guests and visitors.

Ultimately, the Downtown Council’s goal is to revive Minneapolis as a city of constant activity and constant excitement. By incorporating a 24/7/365 plan, the council’s goal is that the captivating feeling of Downtown Minneapolis will be constant. In addition, the hope is that energy will be present throughout the city year round.

The Downtown Council has plenty of thrilling ideas up its sleeve to replace the Holidazzle parades. The future of Downtown Minneapolis looks brighter than ever with proposals of musical performances, ice rinks, and a restructured Nicollet Mall. So now is the last chance for Minnesotans to savor what the Downtown Council claims to be the most exciting Holidazzle parade in its twenty-two years of existence.

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