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Top Reasons to Attend Kiwanis Holiday Lights

Reasons to Attend Kiwanis Holiday Lights This Christmas

What does your picture-perfect Christmas outing look like? Is it full of holiday lights, a jolly Mr. and Mrs. Claus and a lively parade? If not, then make a visit to Mankato’s Kiwanis Holiday Lights celebration this holiday season, Nov. 23-Dec. 31 at Sibley Park (360° virtual tour) More Mankato icon. This free event is so popular that it was recognized for having one of the best holiday lights in Minnesota by If you’re in the giving spirit, they accept donations of cash and nonperishable food items to benefit local nonprofit community organizations. The website praised it for having “one of the largest displays in Minnesota” and “definitely one to add to your bucket list.” Get ready to get into the holiday spirit. Here are the top reasons you should plan your seasonal festivities in this beloved city.

Kiwanis Holiday LightsA Glorious Parade of Lights
Once Thanksgiving ends, the holiday festivities are in full swing. Starting the day after Thanksgiving, Mankato will host its opening ceremony and kickoff parade. The parade will start promptly at Mound Avenue, where you’ll marvel at the impressive collection of illuminated floats and lavishly designed costumes. The parade is organized by the local Mankato Area Derby Girls. For a comfortable viewing experience, bring your lawn chairs and blankets, and a nearby warming house will be available if you wish to take a break from the cold. The parade will end with a lighting ceremony, where you can watch the entire area flicker with over 1.5 million holiday lights. After the parade, take the kids to meet Santa. Then, let them skate the night away at the skating rink warming house; make sure they bring their own skates!

Kiwanis Holiday Lights Santa in MankatoAn Event for Every Day
Each night has its own special theme such as “Dashing Through the Snow”, where you can enjoy horse-drawn wagon rides for a small fee, weather permitting. And “Meet Rudolph”, where you can see live reindeer on display. Other festivities include live music every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, and visits with Santa Claus and  sometimes Mrs. Claus on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. The famous couple from the North Pole will arrive in his sleigh for an authentic entrance. Bring your kids to meet the jolly man in red so can they receive their customized coloring poster for being good all year.
Pay it forward by participating or cheering on runners at the Exclusively Diamonds Dash 5K race on Dec. 2. Hosted by the local YMCA, the race attracts hundreds of guests to run for a good cause, and runners are encouraged to dress up in their best holiday outfits. If you can’t participate in the race but still wish to contribute to the cause,  canned goods, nonperishable food and personal care items are all acceptable to donate. The items will go to families in need. Donated checks and cash will also be accepted.
The Kiwanis Holiday Lights has live ice sculpting contests as well. The bone-chilling ice artworks get bigger and more detailed each year.  New this year, you won’t want to miss out on the #onlyinmn monument (available until Dec. 12), for a great photo opportunity, and enjoy a fun ride on the carousel. For a full list of events, visit the Kiwanis Holiday Lights page.

Kiwanis Holiday Lights in Sibley Park MankatoLight Show
Besides walking around Sibley Park (360° virtual tour) More Mankato icon to see all the festive lights, you can also explore the park from the comfort of your car by driving through the area to admire the lights.  While exploring, be on the lookout for a computer-programmed lighted driving tunnel with even more animated light displays. This year, the hosts of the celebration are proud to have doubled the size of the tunnel, giving you more to be mesmerized at. Free parking is available in its designated lot, and there is also on-street parking if you want to explore on foot.
Be sure to have your camera or smartphone on hand for all the amazing moments you will want to capture. Show your friends and families what they’re missing out on by using the unique Snapchat filter. Share your pictures by tagging #KiwanisHolidayLights. Plan your visit today for memories that will last a lifetime.


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