MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Taking her last parade route down Nicollet Mall, Mary Marion still remembers her first Holidazzle 20 years ago.
“I started out as what they called an ambassador, a pacer, and it was primarily to get some extra holiday money,” Marion said.
In her fifth year on the job, she met her husband, Marty.
“I popped out of what was the Princess and the Pea float one night, and he goes ‘Hey, you want to go out for a turkey sandwich afterwards?'” she said.
Three years later, Marty proposed before the start of the Holidazzle. The two of them have been involved in the parade every year, together, ever since.
“Seeing the joy, the wonderment, the excitement on everyone’s face,” she said. “I’ve never walked away upset at night.”
Mary even got her father involved as a float driver 10 years ago. It’s just one of the stories that have come out of more than two decades of a holiday tradition that will be no more.
The first Holidazzle started in 1992 with seven floats. It ended with 13 floats, 350,000 lights and 300 costumes. But the magic has always been the same.
For Mary and her family, they’ll be hanging up their costumes and turning in their float keys. But the memories they’ve made at Holidazzle will last a lifetime.
“The only reason it won’t go on is with it ending,” Mary said. “I probably would have done it forever.”