As the clock strikes 6:30 p.m., the streetlights on Nicollet Avenue extinguish. A hush falls over the crowd, but is soon followed by cheers and applause. The Holidazzle is in town, and magic fills the streets of Minneapolis.
This lighted parade has been a precious holiday tradition since 1992 and has brought a unique sense of joy to spectators through the years. Unfortunately, the Minneapolis Downtown Council, which stages Holidazzle, believes that 22 years of holiday joy, tradition and economic prosperity are enough, and this is to be the final season. (The last parade takes place tonight.)
I am confident that this is a grave mistake. The Holidazzle generates a staggering amount of revenue during its monthlong season. It is nearly impossible to attend without doing some shopping in one of the conveniently located department stores or businesses. Even harder is resisting a steamy, Venti Gingerbread Latte from Starbucks while viewing the winter spectacular.
Still, it is the tradition that makes Holidazzle so imperative to Minneapolis winters. I have attended since I was very young, and am deeply saddened that in the future, my children will never experience such an event. Hopefully the Downtown Council will reconsider.
GRACE BRANG, Sauk Centre, Minn.