Thousands of folks joined in the annual celebration of Christmas with Nisswa’s City of Lights Festival last Friday night. It was the city’s 32nd annual presentation of the festival, but for a newcomer to the lakes region it was an awesome old fashioned expression of Christmas.
All bundled up against a biting wind and bustling along the crowded sidewalks on Main Street, folks made their way through shops, looking, gathering Christmas gift ideas and listening to Christmas carolers as they moved from shop to shop singing anthems of the holy day.
In keeping with the festivities that were all a part of the festival, there were vendors – a mini doughnut hut, a kettle corn maker and restaurateurs were packed with anxious consumers.
One moved, not in rapid motion, but inching one’s way along the decorated streets looking in windows, listening to families as they decided on which shop to enter and then waited for others to clear the way. It was a waiting game.
Some shop keepers were beginning to show signs of the wear of opening to the Black Friday crowd at 7 a.m. Those workers were anxious to let every customer entering know that they had just seven minutes to shop, ‘cause the doors were closing at 7 p.m.
All tuckered out, there were those who found refuge along Main Street as sparks rose into the chilly night air from four fire pits that were blazing away in an effort to keep the crowds warm until the fireworks burst into the night sky.
Right on schedule, from the north end of the park, rockets burst into the blackness overhead and the ooohs and aaahs welcomed the multi-colored bombardment.
For what seemed like an endless firing off of rockets, those gathered in the town’s center were entertained in a festive manner.
With the grand finale the thousands of festival goers made their way to their parked cars and in keeping with the mood of the evening exited the downtown area, utilizing the newly configured approach to Highway 371.
Nisswa businesses, volunteers and residents — you kicked off the Christmas season in what will be a memorable evening.