For over twenty years, Minneapolis has been dazzling the minds and imaginations of its citizens in the weeks leading up to Christmas with the annual Holidazzle Parade. The Parade runs Thursday through Sunday night starting the Thursday of Thanksgiving and has become a family tradition for many Minnesotans.
We started this tradition three years ago when our children were two and four years old and have embraced it ever since. My husband works downtown Minneapolis making it convenient to meet him after work. The parade runs down Nicollet Avenue and can be viewed either outside along the streets or in one of several skyways above the street. In my opinion, the best view is on the skyway linking Macy’s and the IDS Center as it gives kids a bird’s-eye view of the parade while keeping them warm and cozy. This has been our preferred location for viewing the parade yet you have to get there early to mark your spot. The parade starts at 6:30 pm and families with children and picnic dinners began to arrive around five. It is a fun-filled night of family, lights and celebration that we truly enjoy. Here are the pictures of the night.
The Holidazzle dazzles. It simply amazes the eyes, hearts and minds of a young child.
Heading downtown as the sun begins to set at 4:45 pm….
One thing I love about the city is how festive it is. All the office buildings are lavishly decorated in lights, colors and trees. During the lunch hour there is music playing in all the buildings…piano, harp and Christmas carols. It is one of the things I enjoyed best about working downtown.
The US Bank Building has a gorgeous tree!
A blurred view looking down Nicollet Ave where the Holidazzle parade runs….
Max and Sophia in our spot on the skyway (one of the wonderful things about Minneapolis is that almost all the office buildings are connected by skyways making it easy to get around in the frigid winter months).
The enormous tree in the IDS Center. Here during lunch time you can hear children singing holiday carols. When my son reaches fifth grade, he will be here singing with his classmates.
By 5:30, the sun has long set and a few brave souls have started to gather along Nicollet Ave to get their spots for the parade. Thankfully it wasn’t the standard 10 degrees F. It was windy, damp and a cool 30 degrees.
I love the decorated street lights! So beautiful and festive.
To pass the time the time and feed the family, we usually pick up a pizza and have an indoor picnic in the skyway before the parade. The kids love it and so do I (given that one of my favorite foods is pizza, especially with kalamata olives!).
The Gavidae Building is brilliantly decorated and warms the heart.
The skyway is getting filled. By 6:30 pm, it is completely packed. There are several other skyways along the parade route yet this is one of the best since it is right in the middle of Nicollet Ave.
Outside the crowds are forming too. The one main benefit of being outside is getting a close-up view of the parade and also you can hear the music!
Light sticks are sold for the kids who adore them.
Max is anxiously awaiting the start of the parade.
And the parade begins….get ready for a festival of lights!
The music begins, the floats start coming and the children stare in wonderment and joy.
I love the people dressed in lights! Here are the “stars”!
Many of the floats are geared towards children. Here is the float of Pinocchio. There is also the Wizard of Oz, Santa’s workshop and a toy train.
This is my favorite picture of all: A tired yet happy Max saying goodbye to another wonderful year of the Holidazzle parade. For Christmas is a magical time of year, especially in the eyes of a child.
Stay tuned….One more post of Embracing Family Traditions as well as more China. I have one more to write on Beijing which is jam-packed with photos of daily life. Coming soon!