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Holiday Guide: Celebrating the season in Minnesota

Let's end 2020 on a good note: drive-thru Christmas events, virtual winter festivals and more.
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Parts of Minnesota are digging out after receiving as much as 10 inches of snow.

MINNESOTA, USA — It's beginning to look a lot like winter -- and all over Minnesota, the holiday season is about to get started. 

Whether you're up for a drive or celebrating from home, there's something on this list for you.

Know of another can't-miss holiday event? Text us at 763-797-7215!

Virtual events:

  • Holidazzle: Normally held in Minneapolis' Loring Park, this holiday favorite went online-only due to COVID-19. The festival will take the form of four holiday episodes, released starting in November. They'll air on Holidazzle.com and feature a visit from Santa, DIY holiday projects, local food spotlights and more. 
  • A benefit concert to fight food insecurity: In past years, the festively decorated Canadian Pacific Holiday Train stopped in Minnesota -- and other spots across the northern U.S. -- to collect donations for food banks. The usual Holiday Train route was canceled due to the pandemic, but CP is planning a virtual benefit concert instead. The company said more details are coming.
  • St. Paul European Christmas Market: The in-person seasonal market was canceled this year, but you can still support local artists -- and knock out some last-second Christmas shopping. The virtual market started Nov. 1 and runs through Dec. 24. 
  • See a show (virtually) at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts: This year, the Ordway's holiday offerings include a hip-hop version of the Nutcracker, a comedy show and a Celtic holiday concert. Tickets start at $20-$25. 
  • Enjoy a classic: The Guthrie Theater's performance of A Christmas Carol is also online-only this year. It'll stream on-demand from Dec. 19 to Dec. 31. The stream is free for K-12 students and $10 for everyone else. Educators and administrators can register online or email groups@guthrietheater.org. 

Seasonal festivals:

  • Saint Paul Winter Carnival: The Winter Carnival is a celebration of winter -- and how Minnesotans get through it. It runs Jan. 28 through Feb. 7. Some staples, like the parade, were canceled due to the pandemic -- but other events, like a drive-thru view of the ice carving and snow sculpting contests, are still on. Other events are fully virtual.
  • GLOW Holiday Festival: The Minnesota State Fairgrounds are getting a Christmas makeover. Starting Nov. 19, you'll be able to see a mile of holiday light displays -- including a 100-foot Christmas tree. The festival will also highlight various cultures of Minnesota with special events like Amity Night, Latinx Night, Hanukkah Night, Indigenous Peoples Night and Kwanzaa Night. Tickets are $46 per vehicle.

Holiday exhibits and light shows: 

  • Christmas in Color: Starting Nov. 27, Valleyfair's parking lot will transform into a mile-long drive-thru holiday light exhibit. It's made up of more than a million holiday lights -- all synced to holiday tunes. Tickets are $30 per vehicle. 
  • Bentleyville Tour of Lights: Duluth's classic holiday lights display will be a drive-thru event this year at Bayfront Festival Park, opening Nov. 21. Tickets are $10 per vehicle. There's no presale -- all ticket purchases have to be made at the gate.
  • Sever's Holiday Lights: This Shakopee lights display opens for its holiday season Nov. 26. Tickets are $7 per person or $25 per car.