by TJ Armstrong

The jingle jangle of bells and Christmas cheer is right around the corner. Christmas decorations are already being stocked and displayed in stores. Too soon? Nonsense; the Holidazzle will soon be shining bright in Minneapolis once again.

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People enjoying the festivities of the Holidazzle (photo courtesy of Holidazzle.com).

The Holidazzle started in the early 1990’s as a series of parades located at the Nicollet mall to draw in business for downtown stores. Now it has transformed into a theme park with bright lights, food, live music and ice-skating for the public to enjoy. At first, the event was free, but once it moved to Peavy plaza and was renamed “Holidazzle Village,” it began requiring an entrance fee. Opening night starts the day after Thanksgiving. This will be the second year the Holidazzle will be held in Loring Park in Minneapolis due to construction on its former home at Nicollet mall. For the second year in a row, the event has discontinued the $6 entry fee and will be free this year again. Opening night will kick off with fireworks and holiday movies projected on a big screen with movie classics like “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” “Frozen” and “Elf.” It will have a big open ice arena that is free to the public and has free skate rentals. A warming house will be present near the arena for those, brisk fall nights.  The Holidazzle sponsors include iHeartRadio, Fulton Brewery, Spyhouse coffee, Xcel Energy and more. Plenty of local food vendors and other little side attractions will be available for younger children. The UMN choir and city council choir will be participating on several days of the event. There will also be live music performances by local and popular artists each night of the Holidazzle.

Photo courtesy of Holidazzle.com.

Photo courtesy of Holidazzle.com.

“I went last year for the first time and really enjoyed it. They had a choir singing while I was there, and all the lights were pretty cool,” said junior business major Brian Johnson.

As with any holiday-themed event, be sure to get a picture with good old Saint Nick and all the reindeer too. Event planners promise that this year the Holidazzle will be bigger and better than ever, with more dazzling lights and ambient music.  The Holidazzle is a great place to bring friends and family to enjoy a wonderful fall night. It can also be an opportunity to spark a little bit of romance among individuals.

“Last year, my boyfriend and I had our first date there,” said senior psychology major Stephanie Peterson. “It was so much fun, and I would advise anyone to check it out for a great time.”

The Holidazzle will be open Thursdays to Sundays starting the day after Thanksgiving and ending on Dec. 23.  Another free holiday event to check out is the Macy’s Santaland in downtown Minneapolis. Santaland is located at the 8th-floor auditorium in the downtown Macy’s. It is filled with lovely Christmas displays and great activities for young kids and another cheap, fun place for students to get out of their dorm rooms.

“Santaland was and is always fantastic,” said junior communications major Kati Beckman.

The Holidazzle and Santaland are two holiday-oriented events that are great for students to check out without having to spend much money. They are also possible date ideas for those looking to take that special someone to see more of downtown Minneapolis.

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