A grand crowd of people descended on 4th Street Southwest, to take part in a host of different activities.
The fun began with a showing of the "The Grinch" at
the Barn Theatre
. Hot chocolate and cookies were to be had at Selvig Park, while Santa Claus made a visit to the Goodness Coffee Shop.
The street was also full of amusements from hula hoops and bubbles to turkey bowling and large board games, such as Connect Four and Jenga. There were also multiple games of bean bag toss going on in front of the Spurs Bar and Grill and Foxhole Brewery.
Large trucks from Willmar Public Works and Willmar Utilities, along with a Willmar School Bus, decked out in their holiday finery, were on hand to allow kids the chance to climb into them.
For those wanting something to nibble on while enjoying the festivities, many of the downtown restaurants were open and bustling. A Taste of Willmar event allowed visitors the chance to experience the food from several eateries with the purchase of a tasting passport. Participating restaurants included Rositas Grill, Bihi’s Restaurant, Freida's Cafe, Estrella Bakery, Somali Star, Star Grille, Azteca Mexican Restaurant, The Goodness Coffee House and Spurs Bar & Grill.
The grand finale to the celebration was the Holidaze Lighted Parade. The
led the parade while royalty from various city celebrations joined illuminated floats from businesses and organizations including CentraCare Emergency Medical Services, the city of Willmar, The Barn Theatre, Willmar Bus Service and Willmar Municipal Utilities.
It all ended with the big man himself,
, along with Mrs. Claus, traveling down the parade route in style. Instead of a sled with eight tiny reindeer, the Clauses waved to the adoring crowd from the back seat of a festive red Mustang convertible.
1/11: In front of Spurs there was an epic game of bean bags. Adults and kids both got in on the fun, though for some of the kids it turned into more of an improvised game of dodgeball. Shelby Lindrud / West Central
2/11: Down 4th Street in downtown Willmar there were a variety of activities including hula hoops and bubbles. There was also bowling, bean bags and some large games of Jenga and Connect Four. Shelby Lindrud / West Central Tribune
3/11: Students from Main Pointe dance school stroll along the parade route, decked out in Christmas light bulb necklaces. Shelby Lindrud / West Central Tribune
4/11: The Holidaze Lighted Parade brought joy and fun to the hundreds lining the route along 5th Street Southwest, Litchfield Avenue Southwest and 4th Street Southwest. The Willmar Police Department and the Willmar Fire Department kicked off the parade with lights, sirens and Sparky the Fire Dog. Shelby Lindrud / West Central Tribune
5/11: Visitors to downtown Willmar for Holidaze were also given the chance to sample some of the great food found at the many restaurants downtown. Spurs had a large crowd in its dinning room, already decked out for the holiday. A Taste of Willmar event was also available, allowing people to try food from various restaurants with the purchase of a tasting passport. Shelby Lindrud / West Central Tribune
6/11: The arrival of Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus. A Willmar Police Explorer moves the barricade to allow Santa's "sled" to pass, so he could get to the parade line up. Shelby Lindrud / West Central Tribune
7/11: Royalty from several community celebrations lent some pomp to the Holidaze parade, with Willmar Fests leading the way. Shelby Lindrud / West Central Tribune
8/11: The cast from "Elf the Musical" the holiday play to be performed at the Barn Theatre in December handed out flyers and candy to the crowd. Shelby Lindrud / West Central Tribune
9/11: Even the traditional yellow school bus got into the holiday spirit. Shelby Lindrud/ West Central Tribune
10/11: Last, but definitely not least, Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus close out the 2021 Holidaze parade. Shelby Lindrud / West Central Tribune
11/11: The large crowd of children and young at heart wave and cheer as Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus drive past. Shelby Lindrud / West Central Tribune