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A Look At Holidazzle History Before Final Season Starts

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(credit: CBS) Bill Hudson
Bill Hudson has been with WCCO-TV since 1989. The native of Elk Rive...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – ‘Tis the season to bundle up and head to the Holidazzle. This Friday marks the final season of the dazzling display of lights.

The parade started back in 1992 as a way to draw shoppers into downtown Minneapolis. Now, two decades later, it’s undergone some big changes, while still feeling the same.

They started with seven floats and have built up to 13. All the floats are designed to squeeze under the skyways, with creative cockpits to hide the drivers.

The schedule has changed over the years, from a high of 25 nights to this year’s low of eight, but the show almost always goes on. Only eight parades have been cancelled because of cold. Just one by snow.

“Minnesotans are very hearty,” said Leah Wong of the Minneapolis Downtown Council. “Even with lots and lots of snow people will come out, and we’ve had lots of great coverage from around the U.S., because we have feet of snow and a parade route lined by people.”

Every parade features 350,000 lights and 300 costumed characters, all filled with volunteers, and many coming back year after year.
And it has always started the day after Thanksgiving, and it always ends with Santa and his elves.

“Santa has had some different updates over the years,” Wong said. “But Santa has always been the final float. And we hear every year that Santa very much looks forward to coming to Minneapolis to help us celebrate at Target Holidazzle.”

Along the way, the parade has been the site of dozens of marriage proposals, including by two by float drivers, who are still married and driving in the Holidazzle.

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