Prepare to be ‘River Dazzled’Debbie Griffin file photo Come one, come all to the 13th annual River Dazzle event downtown the day after Thanksgiving -- Friday, Nov. 26, as River Falls enters into full holiday mode. The fun starts in the afternoon when visitors can taste the chili, see Santa at Veterans Park and watch the ever-popular River Dazzle parade.
Come one, come all to the 13th annual River Dazzle event downtown the day after Thanksgiving -- Friday, Nov. 26, as River Falls enters into full holiday mode.
The fun starts in the afternoon when visitors can taste the chili, see Santa at Veterans Park and watch the ever-popular River Dazzle parade.
See Santa,Mrs. Claus, animals
The lines form early to visit Santa and Mrs. Claus 1-4 p.m. in Veterans Park.
Kids can sit in the sleigh with Santa and get a free candy cane compliments of the Riverwalk Mercantile.
For $4, visitors can have a picture taken with Santa. Also on hand will be a few of his reindeer, as well as some camels and llamas.
Chili beats chills
The 2-6 p.m. River Dazzle Chili Crawl continues growing in popularity, with 19 local establishments taking part in this 5th year of competition.
Chili tasters get a voting form/punch card at any one of those places, then must taste at least 11 different recipes -- each worth one punch -- to qualify for voting.
The voting form/punch card must be turned in at Veterans Park by 6 p.m. Doing so renders a vote for the people’s choice of chili and enters the voter into a drawing to win one of three Chamber-check prizes in denominations of $25, $50 and $75.
Winners will be announced at 6:15 p.m. in Veterans Park and must be present to win.
The people’s choice chili winner gets a for-keeps plaque they can display at their place of business. The judges’ choice chili winner gets a traveling trophy to keep for a year.
Terry McKay, president of the Business Improvement District Board, said the chili crawl is getting more popular and more competitive.
BID used more than 500 voting/punch cards last year and used more cups and spoons than it expected.
“All but one of these entries called me,” she said about this year’s chili cook off.
She said people may like knowing that the River Dazzle Chili Crawl conforms to all state health standards -- all the concoctions are created in a commercially licensed kitchen.
Taste chili at these places: Bo’s ’N Mine, 110 S. Main St.; Bubba’s Chicken, 109 S. Main St.; Coach’s Bar & Grill, 127 S. Main St.; Corner Saloon, 128 N. Main St.; Dish and the Spoon Café, 208 N. Main St.; Earth Angels, 321 N. Second St.; Emma’s, 222 S. Main St.; Grateful Bread, 124 S. Main St.; Johnnie’s, 116 N. Main St.; Junior’s, 100 Spring St.; Lazy River Bar and Grill, 115 W. Walnut St.; Mainstreeter’s Bar & Grill, 212 S. Main St.; Mariachi Loco, 456 Spruce St.; Mel’s Midtowner, 111 S. Main St.; Riverwalk Mercantile, 176 N. Riverwalk; Second Chances, 125 N. Main St.; Shooter’s Pub, 107 E. Elm St.; South Fork Café, 116 S. Main St.; and Whole Earth Grocery, 126 S. Main St.
Cinema offers gift of escape
Come early to a 3 p.m. free movie at the historic Falls Theatre, 105 S. Main St., where the family friendly movie “Alpha & Omega” will show. It tells the story of two young wolves from opposite ends of their pack getting thrown together for an adventure in a foreign land.
Hey, don’t forget the hay
Jump on one of the festive, lighted wagons pulled by big draft horses 4:30-6 p.m. for a hayride around town. River Falls State Bank sponsors the rides, which people catch near Veterans Park.
Foray into fun fashion
Gallery 120, at 120 N. Main St., invites all to an unusual fashion show at 5 p.m. in which 14 local artists will exhibit and/or model their creations during an emceed Wearable Art Fashion Show.
Ready, set, lights
Main Street bursts into twinkling holiday mode about 5:30 p.m. as River Falls switches on all the lights on the boulevard trees, which are usually accompanied by giant snowflakes, too.
Stake a spot early for the River Dazzle parade at 6:30 p.m. featuring lighted floats and usually treats for the kids, too. The most dazzling parade entry wins an award, and spectators are likely to see some visitors returning from years past -- like Santa and the Three Wise Men -- as well as other festive entries.
Don’t miss the on-street concessions offered by the Kiwanis Club of River Falls -- warm beverages and roasted nuts will add to bystanders’ comfort and joy. They may also delight in seeing and hearing the high school’s Costumed Carolers who will stroll around town.
Second Santa sighting
Anyone who misses Santa at Veterans Park during River Dazzle and/or wants to see him again can plan on breakfast with Santa 9-11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 18, at the River View Hotel & Suites.
BID, which sponsors much of the event, and the River Falls Chamber of Commerce, which helps organize it, hope to see everyone come and enjoy a part of the community event.
For more information about River Dazzle, visit the chamber’s website: