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The holidays return to Willmar with Holidaze

Willmar rings in the 2021 holiday season with the return of Holidaze in downtown. The evening starts with a showing of The Grinch at the Barn Theatre and ends with the Holidaze lighted parade.

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Prior to the parade, many of the large trucks were lined up on 4th Street for a Holiday Touch a Truck opportunity, to allow kids the chance to get up close and personal. The spruced up snow plow from Willmar Public Works made a good background for some family photos. Shelby Lindrud / West Central Tribune

WILLMAR — After the 2020 celebration was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, Willmar Holidaze 2021 seemed just a little bit more jolly Saturday night in downtown Willmar .

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.

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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.

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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

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.

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Prior to the parade, many of the large trucks were lined up on 4th Street for a Holiday Touch a Truck opportunity, to allow kids the chance to get up close and personal. The spruced up snow plow from Willmar Public Works made a good background for some family photos. Shelby Lindrud / West Central Tribune

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.

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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

The grand finale to the celebration was the Holidaze Lighted Parade. The Willmar Police and Fire Departments 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, Santa Claus , 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.

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Last, but definitely not least, Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus close out the 2021 Holidaze parade. Shelby Lindrud / West Central Tribune

Related Topics: EVENTSWILLMARMINNESOTA
Shelby Lindrud is a reporter with the West Central Tribune of Willmar. Her focus areas are arts and entertainment, agriculture, features writing and the Kandiyohi County Board.

She can be reached via email slindrud@wctrib.com or direct 320-214-4373.


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