After Friday's parade, there'll be only seven Holidazzles left

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Friday night marked the beginning of the end of Minneapolis’ downtown Holidazzle parade, and WCCO-TV was there to capture the luminous celebration. Frank Vascellaro and Amelia Santaniello reported on the parade while perched above Nicollet Mall and above them the WCCO Weather Watcher shined, officially, for the first time.

The weather was decidedly wintry, but it didn’t stop hundreds of Minnesotans from flocking to Nicollet Mall for the decades-old celebration of the holiday season.

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Friday’s grand marshal was Bullseye, the Target mascot.

The Holidazzle — which is now officially Target Holidazzle — began in 1992 as a way to draw shoppers to downtown Minneapolis. The parade started with seven lighted floats and over the years built up to nearly twice as many. Parade officials say every parade features some 350,000 lights and 300 costumed characters, all filled with volunteers, many of which work the parade year after year.

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The parade schedule has changed over the decades, from a high of 25 nights to this year’s low of eight. After Friday’s parade, there’ll be lights and floats down Nicollet Mall every Friday and Saturday through Dec. 21. The parade route stretches from 12th Street to 4th Street. And, of course, it’s free.

Only nine parades have been canceled.  Eight of those were due to cold. Just one has been canceled by snow.

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The parade always ends with the man who makes kids all over Minnesota (and the world) happy: Santa Claus.