Reverse course: Holidazzle District winter market funding approved


Just four days after a proposal to spend $395,000 of Minneapolis city money on a new Holidazzle District was rejected by a City Council committee, the full City Council approved a plan to spend – yes, you're reading this right – $395,000 on a new Holidazzle District, The Journal reports.

Here's what happened: The Minneapolis Downtown Council wants to revive the just-ended Holidazzle parade as a downtown “Holidazzle District,” featuring a European-style winter marketplace. To do so, the council asked for $395,000 to support the event in 2014 – $300,000 of which would have come from funds already in the Convention Center budget. The rest ($95,000) would have been pulled from the City Coordinator budget.

On Monday, the Ways and Means Budget Committee rejected that request, after raising questions about whether the city should help pay for this event.

So a tweak was made. Instead of partially splitting the cost, all of the $395,000 the Downtown Council is requesting would come from the Convention Center, The Journal reports.

That alteration was apparently enough to change their mind.

The full City Council approved that new deal by a 11-1 vote Friday, the Star Tribune reports.

In addition to the city's contribution, the Downtown Council is also proposing a funding partnership with about $1.3 million in private support.

What is a 'Holidazzle District?'

According to the Business Journal, the market would have a European style similar to the Christkindlmarket in downtown Chicago. The Windy City’s market is outdoors, and runs from late November through about Christmas Eve.

Unlike the parade, which saw visitors come and go, Downtown Council President Steve Cramer tells the Star Tribune the Minneapolis Holidazzle market would be open seven days a week and into the evening. According to MinnPost, the Holidazzle District is likely to be set up like an old European village, with art, craft items and food for sale. A carousel is also likely, the site says.

The Chicago Christkindlmarket has been around since 1996, and now attracts more than 500,000 visitors each year, the event's website says. Here are two photos examples of the market.

That Chicago event (and by extension, the proposed Holidazzle District market) was inspired by the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, Germany, which began in 1545 and now sees more than 2 million visitors each year, according to a festival press release.

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