Electrified fable floats and marching bands are once again set to converge upon Nicollet Mall. The annual TCF Holidazzle Parade starts its holiday shopping season rotation Friday, Nov. 26.
The parade is scheduled to run Friday-Sunday, Nov. 26-28; Wednesday-Sunday, Dec. 1-5; Monday-Friday, Dec. 8-12 and 15-19; and Wednesday-Thursday, Dec. 22-23. It starts at 6:30 p.m. on South 12th Street & Nicollet Mall and runs north to 5th Street. On opening night, the parade starts 10 minutes early (at 6:20 p.m.) and will also be broadcast live on WCCO-TV.
It takes about a half-hour to go from Howie Dazzle (the new opening act, a color-changing snowman) to the closer, Santa in his package-laden sleigh. There are plenty of fairy-tale themed floats and marching bands in between.
This year's parade features new holiday-themed marching band uniforms lined with lit red and white stripes. And six new adult "hobo" clown costumes will also appear on the Circus Train float.
When the train chugs down the route, bundled up parade goers can donate to a good cause, the Emergency FoodShelf Network (EFN). Volunteers will also collect donations prior to the parade.
Spectators are asked to contribute cash gifts or food donations such as dry cereal, canned goods, baking mixes, sugar, flour, rice, pasta, boxed main dishes, toothpaste and toiletries. All food and cash donations will benefit EFN and its network of over 200 emergency food shelves and supplemental food programs across the state.
Marc Ratner, EFN's community relations manager, noted that the number of Minnesotans seeking food assistance has increased from last year. "The holidays, and the winter months that follow, are an especially difficult time for those Minnesotans facing the financial and human pains of hunger," Ratner added.
For those who prefer not to drive and park Downtown, Metro Transit is offering free bus and light-rail rides to the parade Saturday, Dec. 11, 4-9 p.m.
You can catch the bus or train in your neighborhood, or park in the free lots at the Ft. Snelling Station or 28th Avenue Station in Bloomington, which opens Saturday, Dec. 4).
To plot your trip with the easy online "trip planner" online, log onto metrotransit.org, or call 373-3333 to speak with a bus representative.
The Downtown Council organizes the event. About 6,000 corporate volunteers help out with the parade, said Lisa Dinndorf, the council's vice president of marketing and membership.
For more information, go to the parade's Web site, www.tcfholidazzle.com, or call 376-SNOW (7669). For more information on EFN, call 763-450-3860 or go to emergencyfoodshelf.org.