Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

VIDEO: Holly Dazzle rings in holiday season with thousands of festival-goers

Though only in its second year, organizers of the Holly Dazzle Festival of Lights say it has the potential to become a longstanding tradition in the Grand Forks area.

Attendees of Sunday's Holly Dazzle Festival of Lights take time to hang out in downtown East Grand Forks with reindeer from the Drayton, N.D., Reindeer Ranch. (April Baumgarten/Grand Forks Herald)
Attendees of Sunday's Holly Dazzle Festival of Lights take time to hang out in downtown East Grand Forks with reindeer from the Drayton, N.D., Reindeer Ranch. (April Baumgarten/Grand Forks Herald)

Though only in its second year, organizers of the Holly Dazzle Festival of Lights say it has the potential to become a longstanding tradition in the Grand Forks area.

Hundreds of residents flocked Sunday to Grand Forks' and East Grand Forks' downtowns for the winter event, which featured an array of activities, from horse-drawn carriage rides to a parade and fireworks that rounded out the night.

"They do such a great job, don't they?" Kristen Vetter asked as she helped festival-goers into a horse-drawn wagon driven by her husband, Clayton. "There is just a lot of time and effort put into this.

The festival kicked off at 3 p.m. with fires in metal barrels so attendees could roast marshmallows and make s'mores. Singing filled the air as groups took to the stage at Town Square. And Santa Claus made an early appearance, handing out candy canes and taking pictures with children.

The event was formed as a way to get people out and about during the winter, with organizers hopeful the celebration will become a Grand Forks staple, said Matt Norby, president of the Grand Forks Downtown Development Association, the group behind the event. Last year, an estimated 4,000 people attended.

ADVERTISEMENT

Norby said people around town were excited to attend the festival this year, and he expected this year's attendance rate to exceed 5,000.

"We wanted a winter event when we first started talking about it a few years ago," he said. "You have to embrace the weather because we live with long winters."

Those attending the event were treated to hot chocolate, hot apple cider and other snacks. There were some new additions to the festival, including a chance to see reindeer from the Reindeer Ranch owned by Vern Hoselton of Drayton, N.D.

The Vetters and Point Paradise Stables of East Grand Forks returned to Holly Dazzle, hoping to give as many rides as possible before the parade drove down DeMers Avenue from North Dakota into Minnesota. Last year, they had to turn down hundreds of people in order to get to the parade early, but there were more events planned this year and she felt the team of horses-Tanner and John-could give more people a pre-Christmas ride.

People seemed to enjoy the rides, and Vetter said she was impressed by the festival, adding it has a lot of support from community members in both cities. It's nice to have events like Holly Dazzle, especially in the winter months when there is little to do, she said.

"We don't always have things in the winter that we can enjoy," she said. "It's just a really great community to be a part of."

Norby gave credit to the committee that planned the event for the festival's success, adding he hopes it will attract residents for years to come.

"We just want to see it grow and add new fun things for families," he said.

ADVERTISEMENT

What To Read Next
Crisis pregnancy centers received almost $3 million in taxpayer funds in 2022. Soon, sharing only medically accurate information could be a prerequisite for funding.
The Grand Forks Blue Zones Project, which hopes to make Grand Forks not just a healthier city but a closer community, is hosting an event on Saturday, Jan. 21, at the Empire Arts Center from 3-5 p.m.
A bill being considered by the North Dakota Legislature would require infertility treatment for public employees — a step that could lead to requiring private insurance for the costly treatments.
2022 saw more than three times as many pediatric (up to age 5) cannabis edible exposures in Minnesota compared to 2021. Here's what you can do to prevent your toddler from getting into the gummies.