The Holidazzle’s legacy

Since 1992, the city has worked to attract shoppers from around the metro to downtown.

The downtown Minneapolis Holidazzle parade will end after this year, the Star Tribune reported last week. The parade, which typically begins the day after Thanksgiving and runs until a few days before Christmas, will be retired after its 22nd year.

For more than two decades, the Holidazzle has served as an important attraction to the downtown shopping district, responding to the takeover of suburban shopping malls. According to an article published in MinnPost, the Holidazzle began the same year the Mall of America opened in Bloomington. Faced with the challenges of suburban sprawl, the Downtown Council was determined to not go down without a fight. The Holidazzle’s website says, “every year since 1992 when the first parade marched down Nicollet Mall, over 300,000 spectators converge on downtown Minneapolis to celebrate this holiday tradition.”

This year, organizers announced that the parade will only be held eight nights. Minneapolis Downtown Council Vice President of Events and Marketing Leah Wong was quoted in the Star Tribune as saying, “In 2014 and moving forward, it will look different from what people have come to know the last 22 seasons.”

While retail stores in the core of Minneapolis continue to struggle, the parade has been highly successful in its ability to draw residents from across the metro, a particularly impressive feat considering the cold weather and parking hurdles.

Downtown Minneapolis will likely never relive the heydays of the 1950s and ’60s, but maintaining a healthy urban core that attracts people from Uptown to Eagan should remain a top focus for the city’s urban planners.

The Holidazzle parade was overdue for a shakeup, but it’s important the Downtown Council replaces it with a similar parade or festival that continues to attract residents from across the Twin Cities during the holiday shopping season.