The Free Press, Mankato, MN

October 12, 2013

Don't kill Holidazzle just yet

The Mankato Free Press

---- — Thumbs down for the Minneapolis Downtown Council plan to kill the legendary Holidazzle Parade in downtown Minneapolis.

We hope it’s a mistake, or someone can rethink this a little bit. The Downtown Council will “pull the plug” on the parade, according to a report on KSTP news. The headline says “Makeover underway for Holidazzle Parade.” The parade will be held again this year but will be replaced by “another holiday festivity in 2014.”

While the report seems conflicting, pulling the plug on this longtime tradition that brings thousands to downtown Minneapolis — many from outstate Minnesota — doesn’t make sense. The council said the decision was made to make room for a bigger and broader holiday experience. Surely, organizers could incorporate the parade into a larger, broader holiday festival.

The Holidazzle Parade is a piece of our holiday culture that identifies us as Midwesterners and hearty folks who can have a parade in the cold of a Minnesota winter. The parade has to be good for downtown Minneapolis businesses as well.

The holidays in the big city just won’t be the same without it.

Symphony award for cooperation deserved

Thumbs up to Eide Bailly, the Mankato Symphony Orchestra, Music Mart and Mankato Brewery after it was announced the symphony was awarded $10,000 for its Music & Brews as a “fun and friendly music education event for adults.”

The award from Eide Bailly is given to honor nonprofits for outstanding efforts in revenue generation. There were 49 submissions from throughout the state and judged on creativity, implementation, impact, sustainability and overall impression. As was pointed out by symphony Executive Director Sara Buechmann, “Our success is largely due to the willingness of local businesses to partner with us. We were able to have this fundraiser because of the generosity of The Music Mart which allowed us to use their instruments for demonstrations, and the generosity of the Mankato Brewery which allowed us to use their space to hold our fundraising event and provided the beer samples to make it Music & Brews.”

It’s that kind of community cooperation that deserves awards.

River Ramble rides high again

Thumbs up to the organizers and participants in the third annual Mankato River Ramble, a bike trek across the region that drew about 1,500 people to the area this year.

Weather may have hampered turn out a bit, as the turnout has been bigger last year with more hospitable weather. About a thousand riders came from outside the Mankato area and 100 locals also helped volunteer. The event offers three courses from a 12 miles to 42 miles, with a 26-mile trek making a stop for pie at the Rapidan Dam store.

The event draws attention to the region’s beautiful landscape and scenic bike trails. It’s a legitimate tourist draw and likely brings a little extra business for the day or weekend to area merchants. Kudos to organizers and sponsors who included Mankato Clinic, the Orthopaedic and Fracture Clinic, Mankato Bike and Walk Advocates and Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota.

No room for hate here

Thumbs down to the person or people responsible for spray-painting a racial slur that included a student’s name on the Gustavus Adolphus College campus in St. Peter.

The positive thing to come out of this detestable incident is that Gustavus and St. Peter police are being aggressive about finding the perpetrator as well as using it to educate those on campus about how hate crimes are not tolerated.

Campus officials have made it clear that hateful behavior has no place on the Gustavus campus by holding a campus forum on the subject. Holding such conversations is not only necessary to reinforce expected behavior but to let all the students know that they are welcome on campus no matter their gender, race or ethnicity.