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Holidazzle fans now will have nothing but memories as last parade goes by

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After more than 20 years as a downtown Minneapolis tradition, the final Holidazzle parade rolled down city streets Saturday evening.

As the parade's web site notes, the Target Field Mascots were the grand marshals, and the event featured the Metropolitan Boys Choir, and a marching band called the Minnesota Freedom Band.

KARE 11 reports that the Holidazzle Parade has been a Minneapolis staple for 22 years. The event, with every float and participant covered in Christmas lights, draws 300,000 spectators each year.

As KSTP notes, this year's shows started on Nov. 29, and Saturday's Holidazzle kicked off at 6:30 p.m.

As WCCO reported last month, the Downtown Council decided this year would be the last, while city leaders look for something with a fresher approach in years to come

The parade started back in 1992 as a way to draw shoppers into downtown Minneapolis, the station noted, and the schedule changed over the years, from a high of 25 nights to this year’s low of eight. Only eight parades were canceled because of cold. Just one by snow, according to WCCO.

WCCO also reported last month that parade officials said every parade featured some 350,000 lights and 300 costumed characters, all filled with volunteers, many of whom worked the parade year after year.

The Star Tribune talked to Leah Wong, the vice president of the Downtown Council, last month and quoted her as saying, "We got to a natural point where we had to ask, ‘Do we want to continue to invest in floats, in refreshing floats, or do we want to think of something that’s fresh?’ ”

"This costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to put on," Steve Cramer, CEO of the Downtown Council, tells KARE 11. "We're conscious of that and will make sure that those resources are spent in a way that gets the best bang for the buck."

Either way, some Minnesotans remained dedicated to the end.

"I came during the first year," Judi Holloway of Minneapolis tells KARE 11. "It's great to be here during the last."

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