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Parade and more set for Friday

It will be a busy time with much going on downtown the day after Thanksgiving for River Dazzle Dayz 2009.

These are some highlights for the annual late-fall festival:

  • Visits for kids with Santa Claus at Veterans Park downtown from 1-4:30 p.m. Nearby will be reindeer, camels and llamas.
  • Free hayrides around town from 4:30-6 p.m.
  • A parade at 6:30 p.m. between Pine and Locust streets. Judges will then pick the "Most Dazzling" entry.
  • Lighting of the downtown median trees at 5:30 p.m.
  • Art Crawl from noon to 6 p.m. Displays of local artwork from pottery, corn dolls and woven rugs to hand-blown glass, jewelry and paintings will be found at more than stores and shops.
  • Chili Cook-off from 2-6 p.m. at 18 bars, restaurants and shops. Taste and then judge the recipes you find most savory.
  • Prize drawings for those taking part in the Art Crawl and Chili Cook-off will be held at Veterans Park before the parade. Picked by downtown shoppers, the winning artist and chili cook will also be announced at the park.

    A punch card with a map describing where to go for chili sampling and art displays will be available at participating businesses. The punch card is how people can vote for their favorite chili recipes and best artist.

    To be part of the judging contest and drawings, these cards must be turned in by 6 p.m. at a box placed at Veterans Park.

    Valerie Lundgren, a longtime local arts scene promoter and owner of Karma Gifts on Main Street, said people heading downtown Friday should have a blast.

    "River Dazzle is really a fun time," she said. "You can just come and hang out, enjoy the great art, meet some of the artists face to face, and sample all the chili."

    For more on River Dazzle, please see the two-page advertisement in this week's A section.

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