Last year of the Holidazzle

Olivia Flicker

Nothing captures the image of the holidays in Minnesota quite like the Holidazzle parade in downtown Minneapolis. For the last 22 years, the parade has drawn hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans to the heart of the city to spectate and sometimes take part in the event. This year, however, marks the last year of the parade as it is know.

What began as a way to bring holiday shoppers out of suburbia and into downtown to help revive Minneapolis’ image now gathers roughly 300 thousand people in Minneapolis every year, making the Holidazzle parade is no small event, so to simply end the winter festivities is out of the question.

According to the Star Tribune, the Vice President of Events and Marketing for the Minneapolis Downtown Council, Leah Wong has stated that the Council believes the parade has run its natural course.

“We got to a natural point where we had to ask, do we want to continue to invest in floats…or do we want to think of something fresh?”

— Leah Wong

“We got to a natural point where we had to ask, do we want to continue to invest in floats…or do we want to think of something fresh?” said Wong.

What that fresh idea is has yet to be determined. The change is partially, but not entirely, based on budget concerns. The event needs to collaborate with the changing long-term vision of the downtown area that includes the new Vikings stadium, the proposed changes to the Gateway park, as well as the redesigned Nicollet Mall. All of these projects are designed to increase both tourism and quality of living conditions in downtown, something that the Holidazzle’s replacement must promote.

“We want not only to give people a reason to come downtown, but we also want to give people who work, live and play downtown additional things to do while they are here,” said Wong in a report by Fox 9 news.

For many, the Holidazzle represents family memories that they hope to continue making for years to come.

“Our family had a Christmas tradition every year of bundling up the kids and going downtown to see the Holidazzle parade and the Macy’s Christmas display. It was fun to see the excitement from the kids when Santa’s float came by, all lit up,” said Erin Jakupciak, an annual attendee of the parade.

Luckily for Holidazzle organizers, the enthusiasm towards the event in the future does not seem to have waned despite its seeming obsolescence.

“I am looking forward to seeing what new event replaces the Holidazzle parade in the years to come. I’m glad the city is planning to continue some type of holiday event as it’s a great excuse to go downtown and enjoy the festivities,” said Jakupciak.

Only the people can be the determining factor if downtown Minneapolis continues to be the place to be for holiday tradition. Tis the season for change? Yes, and hopefully for the better.