Students, public celebrate season with Holidazzle

There are 15 floats and more than 250 lit characters in the parade every night.

by Lacey Crisp

There’s only one place in Minneapolis where you can find Captain Hook, Alice in Wonderland, snowmen and Santa Claus – at the TCF Holidazzle parade. The parade started Nov. 26 and concludes Dec. 23. It occurs every Wednesday through Sunday.

During the parade, which is in its 13th year, people and floats with lights attached to them march down Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis.

Children sit on the side of the street yelling “more” as the snowmen and Santa Claus ride past.

Sally Francis, a University graduate student, went for the first time this week and will be going again this weekend.

“It was really cute; all the kids are cute,” Francis said. “There are a lot of families there, and I went with my family.”

Francis said she will be sitting in the “hot seats” with her date Saturday night. The “hot seats” are on 12th Street and Nicollet Mall, and are covered and heated.

Lisa Dinndorf, parade director, said the parade is a place for everyone to come and have fun.

“We have seen a lot more young adults come on dates to the parade,” Dinndorf said. “Plus, we have a lot of engagements happen that Santa can help you out with.”

Dinndorf said there are 15 floats and more than 250 lit characters in the parade every night.

“We have a new float, ‘Howie Dazzle,’ with more than 60,000 fiber optic lights,” Dinndorf said. “There are also collectible pins and free parade programs.”

Paradegoers can give to those with lower incomes at the beginning of the parade through a food drive sponsored by Cub Foods grocery stores. Volunteers take money donations and canned goods, Dinndorf said.

She said that last year, the food drive collected approximately 4,000 pounds of food, which goes to the Emergency Food Shelf Network.

Each night at the parade, different marching bands and choirs provide the sounds of the season. The University Alumni Marching Band also participates in the event every year.

The parade has a different sponsor every night, and the floats are slightly different – no two parades are the same.

The parade starts at 6:30 p.m. and lasts approximately half an hour.