Prepare to be dazzledThe annual day-after-Thankgsiving River Dazzle event in River Falls turns 15 this year and features holiday-themed fun, shopping specials, a chili crawl with more than 20 recipes and a Wearable Art fashion show, among other things.
The annual day-after-Thankgsiving River Dazzle event in River Falls turns 15 this year and features holiday-themed fun, shopping specials, a chili crawl with more than 20 recipes and a Wearable Art fashion show, among other things.
“It’s really a nice chance for families and friends to stay in River Falls, get out on the Friday afternoon following Thanksgiving and have fun together at a low-key, entertaining event,” said Chamber of Commerce CEO Rosanne Bump. “This is not trying to be like Woodbury, but it also reminds people of the retail shopping we have here in River Falls.”
The chamber-sponsored River Dazzle on Friday, Nov. 23, offers a full-day and evening of things to see, try and do.
- Cookie decorating in the Riverview Hotel and Suites ballroom from 2-4 p.m. Families can come decorate holiday cookies with frosting, sprinkles and more, then eat them right away or take them home.
This is a free activity and candy canes will be handed out. Those who attend are asked to bring a nonperishable item for the River Falls Food Pantry.
- Holiday Sing-Along at Veterans Park from 5:45-6:15 p.m. A local singer -- augmented by a sound system -- will lead the crowd with well-known holiday tunes like “Joy to the World” and “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.”
- Bump says the always popular Chili Crawl keeps adding more venues.
For this River Dazzle, there will be 24 places where chili recipes can be sampled and judged from 1-5:30 p.m.: Bo’s ‘N’ Mine, Bubba’s Chicken; Coach’s Bar & Grill; Corner Saloon; Dish and the Spoon Café; Emma’s Bar, Family Fresh Market; Yo-Joe’s Yogurt; Fox Den Book Store; Johnnie’s Bar; Junior’s Bar; Lazy River Bar & Grill; Mainstreeter Bar & Grill; Mariachi Loco restaurant; Mel’s Midtowner tavern; Pretty Darn Good Yarn; Riley’s Growing in Style; Riverwalk Art & Antiques; Second Chances; Shooter’s Pub; South Fork Café; The Mercantile; Treasures From The Heart; and Whole Earth Grocery.
Free chili samples will be dispensed in 2-ounce plastic cups. Participants are asked to keep their spoons as they go sample different recipes downtown.
As required by health code, all chili concoctions are made in a commercially licensed kitchen.
Bump said there are “diehards” who taste chili at every site. However, those who taste at least eleven, get their cards stamped and vote for the best recipe are eligible to win a prize.
Three winners from the Chili Crawl judging contest will be announced during a drawing at Veterans Park after the Holiday Sing-Along.
Winning prizes are either a $100, $75 or $50 “chamber check” to be spent at 330 area businesses, shops, restaurants, bars and stores.
The top-voted chili recipe will also be announced then and result in a plaque for the sponsoring business site.
After the drawing, the parade starts at 6:30 p.m.
While not as big or long as the one for River Falls Days, the River Dazzle parade has expanded. This year there’s expected to be 30 “units” in the procession.
The parade starts at North Main and Pine streets. It heads south on the west side of Main Street, then doubles back north on the east side at Locust Street before ending where it began at Pine Street.
Bump said the parade takes about 15 minutes to finish its loop, a suitable length of time, she added, for a late-autumn activity.
She said parade viewing has grown over the years, going from a few hundred to close to 2,000 spectators.
For businesses or groups who want to join the parade, send an RSVP to the chamber at www.rfchamber.com or by calling 715-425-2533.
“A unit can also just show up at the staging area between 5:45 and 6:15 p.m. and we’ll place them in the parade,” Bump said. “No cost to attend, but we do require that the unit have lights on, and they will fill out the registration form before the parade.”
- Visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus at the Mercantile, 176 N. Riverwalk (the alleyway entrance between West Maple Street and Veterans Park) , from 1-4 p.m. Kids can have their pictures taken with the jolly elf for $4.
- More stuff for kids with reindeer, camels and llamas on display in pens at Veterans Park. Again, from 1-4 p.m.
- Free hayrides around town starting at Veterans Park, 3:30-6 p.m.
- “Wearable Art” fashion show inside Gallery 120, 120 N. Main St., starting at 5 p.m.
During River Dazzle, merchants all day will be selling warms beverages and offering holiday treats. There will also be strolling costumed carolers.
Police will close downtown Main Street from about 5:30-7 p.m. to make way for the evening parade.