A “Holidazzle” might sound like a sugary holiday drink, but most Minnesotans know it as the annual holiday parade in downtown Minneapolis. Not this year.
Instead, the parade is revamping itself as the “Holidazzle Village featuring the Minneapolis Holiday Market,” a monthlong outdoor market selling festive crafts and snacks. If it’s a success, the Holidazzle market could set a precedent for a more community-driven, pedestrian-centered and hospitable city.
Have you ever walked through Nicollet Mall? Even in daytime hours, it’s a pretty empty place. You might spot a few people, but most are sequestered inside, traveling from building to building through skyways that separate them from the outside world.
Holidazzle planners believe the event’s attractions will be enough to draw out Minnesotans from the skyways and into the streets. The structure of the Holidazzle market encourages pedestrian density, uses existing urban space in creative ways, and makes for bustling street life. These objectives are all part of Minneapolis’ new 2025 city plan.
Twin Cities residents will only see benefits if city-planning efforts can get more people on the streets. A bustling street fosters community and trust within the cities, and it makes the Twin Cities an attractive place to live. A city that appears active and vibrant attracts new residents who bring jobs, diversity and new ideas. The Holidazzle marketplace isn’t just another place to shop. It has the potential to strengthen Minnesota’s economy.
I’m hoping the Holidazzle gamble will pay off. The weather may be cold, but Minnesotan personalities are far from it. Our downtown area should reflect that.