Bigger and brighter: Holly Dazzle adds, refines events as popularity grows
The Holly Dazzle Festival of Lights is only in its third year, but it already distinguished itself as a winter highlight for Grand Forks.
The Sunday event in the Grand Forks and East Grand Forks downtowns attracted thousands of people to enjoy holiday festivities, including sleigh rides, a movie, fireworks and a lighted parade. Hosted by the Downtown Development Association, the event continues to expand in size and attendance.
"It's grown exponentially," DDA President Matt Winjum said. "It's definitely become one of our most popular events."
The event was built around the Downtown Light Parade, which was held for several years before going on hiatus in the early 2000s. The Festival of Lights revived the parade in 2015, but more events have been added in the following years to make it a full day of celebration.
This year brought the addition of a free movie showing at River Cinema. The downtown East Grand Forks theater showed the holiday hit "Elf," which expanded the festival from its initial start time from 3 p.m. to 11 a.m.
Other events, such as singing from choral groups, ornament decoration and s'more roasting, have been refined, Winjum said.
It's hard to estimate how many people attend since it is free to the public, but it has grown in attendance since the inaugural year, from hundreds to thousands, Winjum noted.
It's a way for people to enjoy outdoor events while embracing winter, he added.
"We're happy that people get out, even though it might be cold," he said. "We're just hoping for another successful year and hope we can keep it going for a long time."