Downtown Minneapolis' Holidazzle shrinking, going dark

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 9, 2013 - 7:50 PM

This year’s eight parades in downtown Minneapolis will be the last as organizers look for new holiday options.

The Holidazzle parade will shrink this season and its future beyond that is unclear, organizers said Wednesday.

The glittering parades of characters draped in lights marching down Nicollet Mall will be held on eight nights this year, down from 19 last year.

Then the 22-year-old tradition will be retired.

“There won’t be a Holidazzle [in 2014] as it is today,” said Leah Wong, the council’s vice president of events and marketing. “In 2014 and moving forward, it will look different from what people have come to know the last 22 seasons.”

Wong said organizers have yet to settle on any specifics for future festivities.

“There certainly will be a holiday experience [that will be] bigger and broader” and could expand in downtown beyond Nicollet Mall.

Also uncertain is whether the word “Holidazzle” will continue.

This year’s parades will be on four consecutive Fridays and Saturdays starting Nov. 29 and concluding Dec. 21, the council announced. Last year’s 19 parades were an unusually high number, given that Holidazzle’s traditional start — the day after Thanksgiving — arrived early, on Nov. 23.

Wong said there is some cost-saving with fewer parades, but “it’s not as much as you think,” because of fixed costs associated with maintaining and storing costumes and lighting.

With fewer parades this year, the council said it anticipates increased demand for the advanced sale of “Hot Seats,” those sheltered spots along the route where visitors can pay for a bit of warmth.

The reserved seats go on sale Nov. 1 at Holidazzle.com.

Target will sponsor Holidazzle for the seventh consecutive year.

“We invite the community to celebrate the season with Bullseye, our beloved canine mascot, on opening night,” Shawn Gensch, Target’s senior vice president of marketing, said in a statement.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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