It was the holiday party of the year.

With partygoers dressed in elf and Santa hats, reindeer antlers, ugly sweaters and ear muffs adorned with any number of holiday characters, and wearing lights on their heads or necklaces featuring illuminated Christmas bulbs, there was no better place to be Saturday than downtown Faribault.

The evening’s activities started with a bang as fireworks filled the night sky with color and light.

As the festivities began, men, women and children spilled onto Central Avenue, “oohing” and “ahhing” at each vibrant burst. The grand finale, followed by a round of applause, signaled the beginning of the annual Parade of Lights.

The third and final day of Winterfest didn’t disappoint. The day began with a Vintage Snowmobile Show and a holiday market, but when the sun went down, the fun really began.

Rice County Sheriff Troy Dunn, dressed as Rudy the reindeer, led the parade, which headed north on Central, followed close behind by Faribault Police Chief Andy Bohlen. Vehicles of all shapes and sizes, including several from the city’s fleet, a Faribault fire truck, bulldozers, pickups and a convertible, all covered in lights, rolled down the parade route, much to the delight of the youngsters in the crowd.

The parade, sponsored by Faribault Area Chamber of Commerce and Faribault Main Street, included floats from area businesses and organizations. Many featured familiar holiday characters: snowmen Frosty and Olaf, the Grinch and the jolly old elf himself, though somehow the North Pole resident made a trio of appearances Saturday.

But only once did he have Mrs. Claus by his side.

The evening ended with a street dance featuring the band Fender Bender.

Reach Regional Managing Editor Suzanne Rook at 507-333-3134. Follow her on Twitter @rooksuzy. ©Copyright 2019 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

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