This is the Explore Minnesota Events Report from the Minnesota Office of Tourism.
Downtown AITKIN will be the site of the World Famous Fish House Parade on Friday. Events will take place throughout the day, including visits from Santa Claus, a pingpong ball shoot-out, a chili cook-off, holiday craft show, a wide variety of foods and a creative parade filled with fish houses and other winter toys. This parade has been featured on Comedy Central, the Wacky World of Sports and in USA Today. To find out more, dial 1-800-526-8342.
The Night We Light Parade will be offered along the waterfront and in downtown BEMIDJI on Friday. The parade begins at 5:30 p.m., with a countdown to the Lighting of the Pines at approximately 7:45 p.m. For more information, and to learn about lodging specials, dial 1-800-458-2223.
Downtown BAUDETTE will present A Festival Of Lights from Friday-Dec. 25. This festival kicks-off with a community tree lighting ceremony on Friday. Other activities taking place through Christmas include appearances by Santa Claus, free matinees, caroling and promotions by area merchants. To learn more, dial 1-800-351-3474.
The Faribault County Fairgrounds in the city of BLUE EARTH will present the Christmas Wonderland of Lights each evening Thursday-Jan. 1, excluding Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. Highlights include 30 acres of spectacular animated holiday light displays. Visitors may either drive or ride the Wonderland Express Train past the light displays, and then stop in at the Red Barn Gift Shop for a cup of hot cider. To learn more, dial 507/526-2916.
CANNON FALLS will present Deck The Falls on Dec. 7, with holiday open houses at areas merchants, in-store specials, horse-drawn wagon rides, carolers, a Deck the Falls parade, community tree lighting and holiday concert. To learn more, dial 507/263-2289.
The city of CHISHOLM will offer a Citywide Open House through Sunday. Visit local merchants for special offers, and see the new renovations in downtown Chisholm. In addition, there will be craft bazaars, Santa Claus, sleigh rides and holiday lights. To find out more, dial 1-800-422-0806.
The FARIBAULT Art Center will host the 21st annual Holly Days each Tuesday through Saturday through Dec. 24, with a holiday celebration and the sale of handmade creations by regional artists. To learn more, dial 1-800-658-2354.
Main Street INTERNATIONAL FALLS will be the site of a 'Twas The Lights Before Christmas Parade on Friday evening. Featured will be floats, ice shanties and live musical entertainment, followed by cookies, hot chocolate and dog sled rides in Smokey Bear Park. To learn more, dial 1-800-325-5766.
Christmas in the Mansions will take place in LITTLE FALLS from 1-6 p.m. daily, Friday-Dec. 8. Visitors may tour two neighboring 1898 residences of Charles Weyerhaeuser and Richard Drew Musser within the Linden Hill Conference and Retreat Center. All floors will be decorated for the holiday season, with family heirlooms, and uniquely decorated Christmas Trees. For more information, dial 1-800-794-0809.
A Lighting Ceremony will be held in LONG PRAIRIE on Friday, with a chance to greet Santa Claus and enjoy holiday lights, hot chocolate, cookies and caroling. To find out more, dial 320/732-2514.
Winterfest will be held in LUVERNE from Dec. 6-8 with a Christmas Lights Parade, a large craft show, dinner theater, neighborhood lighted Christmas lanes, a Parade of Homes and Festival of Trees. For more information, dial 1-888-283-4061.
The eighth floor auditorium at Marshall Field's Department Store in downtown MINNEAPOLIS will present Paddington Bear and the Christmas Surprise daily through Dec. 31. Featured will be colorful three-dimensional displays and animated vignettes. The holiday display will be open during regular store hours, and admission is free. To find out more, dial 612/375-3015.
Nicollet Mall in downtown MINNEAPOLIS will be the site of the 11th annual TCF Holidazzle Parades each Wednesday through Sunday, Nov. 29-Dec. 29, excluding Christmas Day, Dec. 25. TCF Holidazzle Parades travel Nicollet Mall, from 12th to Fourth Street, and feature dazzling lights, festive floats, marching bands, celebrity grand marshals and nearly 250 costumed characters from popular children's stories. Each parade begins at 6:30 p.m. and lasts approximately 30 minutes. To learn more, dial 612/376-7669.
Downtown MONTGOMERY, just south of New Prague, will be the site of a Torchlight Parade and Fireworks Display Dec. 5. Le Sueur County's first torchlight parade will begin at 6:30 p.m., complete with Santa, and culminating with a fireworks display set to holiday music. To find out more, dial 507/364-5577.
A Parade Of Lights will travel through downtown NEW ULM beginning at 6 p.m. Friday with more than 30 lighted units. In addition, there will be events in German Park after the parade, including a 100-plus person live Nativity Scene. For more information, dial toll-free 1-888-463-9856.
RED WING will be the site of a Hometown Family Christmas on Friday. Santa will arrive at Pottery Place Mall at 11:15 a.m. and be available until 2:30 p.m. for pictures. Meet Miss Red Wing and her Court, or take a free wagon ride between noon and 2 p.m. There will be a Holiday Stroll from 4-8 p.m., with stores decked-out for the holidays, and offering specials, door prizes, hot drinks and treats. Visitors will also enjoy roasted chestnuts, a Holiday Lighting Ceremony at Riverfront Centre at 6 p.m., and a chili feed following the ceremony at LaGrange Park. For further information, dial 1-800-498-3444.
Weekday Holiday Tours will be offered at the Alexander Ramsey House daily through Dec. 27, 10 a.m. -3 p.m., except for Mondays, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
The Victorian Alexander Ramsey House, located at 265 S. Exchange Street in ST. PAUL, will be decked-out for the holidays, and filled with the aroma of holiday baking on a wood-burning stove, as well as Ramsey family heirlooms. Tours leave on the hour, and reservations are required. For more information, please dial 651/296-8760.
A Wassail Party and Craft Fair will be offered at the Community Center and Town House School in TAYLORS FALLS from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday with area crafters displaying and selling a variety of beautiful holiday gifts. To find out more, dial 1-800-447-4958.
A Christmas Candlelight House Tour will be offered by the Winona County Historical Society on Sunday from 3-8 p.m., with six private homes in WINONA all decorated for the holidays and open to the public for touring. To learn more, dial 507/454-2723 or 1-800-657-4972.
The Amazen Lites At Bluff Valley Campground will be offered in ZUMBRO FALLS each evening through Monday. This is North America's first autumn season drive-through light tour, with a 1.5 mile-drive past 450 light displays, 175 animated light displays, and 20 theme areas. In addition, there will be live entertainment, Pepsi Park and Play activities, nightlight miniature golf and disc golf, the Amazen' Lites Maze, nightlight wagon rides, and a dinner buffet. Call ahead for rates and times, toll-free, at 1-877-467-3348.
And, just some of the upcoming concerts and performances in the TWIN CITIES vicinity will include: The Producers -- The New Mel Brooks Musical at the Historic Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis, through Dec. 8; Tori Amos at the Northrop Auditorium, Nov. 30; The Blenders at the Historic State Theatre, Dec. 4; Disney On Ice at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Dec. 4-8; Lorie Line and Her Pop Chamber Orchestra at the Historic State Theatre, Dec. 5; KDWB's Jingle Ball at the Target Center, Dec. 9; Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Dec. 9; Aerosmith at the Target Center, Dec. 10; The Rockettes, and The Radio City Christmas Spectacular at the Historic Orpheum Theatre, Dec. 14 to Jan. 5; 42nd Street at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in St. Paul, Dec. 17-Jan. 15; The Annual Anniversary John Lennon Tribute at the Fine Line Music Cafe in Minneapolis, Dec. 18; Martina McBride at the Xcel Energy Center at River Centre, Dec. 22; Smuckers Stars On Ice at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Jan. 29; Bon Jovi at the Xcel Energy Center at RiverCentre in St. Paul, Feb. 25.
For further information on any of these performances, please contact Ticketmaster at (651) 989-5151.
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