In December, leading up to holiday season, many people used to gather in downtown Minneapolis to enjoy the iconic Holidazzle in the evening. So, what in the world is Holidazzle?

If you have not lived in Minnesot, and I reckon most of you who are reading this have not, Holidazzle has been the holiday tradition featuring illuminated parade with floats as well as local people and great local food. We say it’s a tradition, but in fact, it is only 28 years old, and in recent years, it no longer takes place in downtown, but has moved to a nearby park.

As a college student, I used to get together with friends and get out to downtown to do holiday shopping and grab some goodies. There were many local venders, and it was almost like a winter version of the state fair I loved so much. If you could make it there early enough, you would be able to secure a spot in the skyway where it’s warm and protected from harsh winter cold in Minnesota. However, so many people would not get detered. No. This is Minnesota we are talking about. So, people, young and old alike, would brave freezing wind of the prairie or snow to stand on the sidewalk, bundled up in coats and scarves, to come together and celebrate winter. Along with other floats and local celebreties, there was Santa, and there were many volunteers incostumes.

While my friends were dazzled by the parade, I was hunting for food and busy wolfing down chili dogs, cheesy broccoli soup, tacos, savory crapes with salmon and spinach, brownies with ice cream, hot cocoa with seasalt, hot mini-doughnuts glistening with sugar, cinnamon and cardamon, and the list goes on and on. I was the one wolfing them down; my dog, an actual canine, was patiently guiding me around, maneuvering beautifully and dodging people from a restaurant-on-wheels to another food counter. Just marvelous!

Before and during the parade, Emergency Food Network was collecting non-perishable food items that people brought to donate. I got some canned goods, and donated them. It was what little I could do as a privileged person who could afford to splurge on festival lovelies <gle>.

I have not attended Holidazzle for years. It adds to my homesickness, but just like Minnesotans who persevere winter, and this year, Covid-19 health crisis and its effects, I’m going to make it through this winter especially since I could attend virtual Holidazzle online. The city is offering that because people cannot gather this year, but it really helps those of us who are so far away. I’ll think of my family, and I’ll think of the good food I had years ago. An online version is the next best thing. You can attend the online shows with local musicians and performers, watch craft demonstrations, experience meet and greet with Santa through video conferencing, and more.

For more information, visit the homepage: 2020 Holidazzle – Holidazzle