Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Lighting up the holiday season in Faribault December 3, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:39 PM
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Among the units in Faribault’s first-ever Parade of Lights holiday parade, this beautiful sleigh.


HOLIDAY ACTIVITIES DEFINED the weekend for me in Faribault. From ringing bells for the Salvation Army for four hours to lunching at a church craft and bake sale, to buying a Christmas tree to touring an art gallery nativity display to shopping the Faribault Winter Farmers’ Market to touring the historic Alexander Faribault house to viewing Faribault’s first lighted holiday parade, my Saturday was jam-packed. But what fun to get into the Christmas spirit right here in my community.


Crowds gather along historic Central Avenue for the Parade of Lights as the sun sets.


While vehicles were banned from the parade route, one driver headed south on Central directly toward the parade just as it began. She was directed off the roadway.


Parked on a side street just off Central, this Chavis Vacuum & Sewing Center truck awaits the start of the parade.


Local merchants showcase the holiday spirit in window displays.



Large groups of people congregate outside Burkhartzmeyer Shoes for the parade. Co-owner Bruce Burkhartzmeyer served as parade grand marshal.


I especially delighted in the 20-minute holiday parade along Central Avenue in our historic downtown. As the sun slipped into darkness Saturday evening, families and others gathered to watch trucks and cars and floats roll by in bright holiday lights. Snowmen, penguins, elves, candy canes, Christmas trees and more incorporated into the units added holiday cheer. Kids scrambled for candy tossed by those dressed in festive attire.


This classic vintage pick-up truck decorated by Brushwork Signs rated as one of my favorite parade entries.


Students from Shattuck-St. Mary’s School in Faribault march in the parade, their holiday lights blurred by my camera shooting in too-low light conditions. Still, I like the results, showing motion.


Lots of snowmen on floats, but not a flake of snow on the ground.


Faribault’s sweet version of the Polar Express.


An oversized vacuum cleaner promotes as local vacuum cleaner store.


I loved this Parade of Lights, part of Faribault’s first-ever Winterfest which began on Thursday. And based on the crowds, they shared my enthusiasm. I could sense the excitement, heard the positive comments, felt the energy of a community embracing the joy of the season.


A Faribault fire truck follows police cars as a lead in the parade.


Kids await candy tossed from those walking alongside floats.


A city of Faribault snowplow ablaze in lights.


To those who organized this event (the Faribault Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism, Faribault Main Street and local businesses) and to those who participated in the parade, thank you. You brought the Christmas spirit into the heart of our downtown, into our community, into the hearts of those gathered on a balmy December evening in southeastern Minnesota.


The back of the parade as it heads north along Central Avenue in downtown Faribault.


I expect the Parade of Lights to be back next year with even more entries and an even larger crowd.


Note: Check back for more stories featuring some of the holiday activities I enjoyed on Saturday in Faribault.

© Copyright 2017 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


24 Responses to “Lighting up the holiday season in Faribault”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    We missed our town’s holiday twilight tour on Friday but I saw pictures and it was so pretty. Our little town is especially charming at Christmas with all of the quaint decorations and lights. Just like Faribault there is a lot of pride in decorating and doing it up right.

  2. Valerie Says:

    Wow, sounds like a wonderful weekend…I would have loved to tour the Alexander Faribault house. I’ll have to watch for that next year.

    • It’s usually the first weekend in December, this year on Friday evening and then on Saturday until 3:00.

      If you’ve never been to Shattuck-St. Mary’s Christmas open house, I invite you to that event from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, December 9. It starts with a free holiday ice show at noon and then moves into historic Shumway Hall with activities for kids, treats and music. The historic buildings are festively decorated. I’d highly recommend adding this to your holiday must-see list.

  3. Saw the Holiday Boat Parade Saturday night and this coming Saturday night is the Holiday Parade – cannot wait. Plus had some fun with the Ugly Sweater Bicycle Crawl Saturday afternoon – one person actually had a wool sweater on – it was 80 degrees out – ha! I enjoy not having to bundle up down here to partake in the festivities. I got the house fully decorated this weekend. Picked up three basketballs and donated to the toy box. Have to get the canned items still turned into the pantry for Veterans. Happy Week – Enjoy 🙂

  4. Jena Says:

    You had a wonderful weekend and so did your community! I like the lighted truck, too. Good for you for ringing for the red kettle. My husband and boys did it together for a few years!

    • Thank you, Jena, for ringing bells with your family. I had a family donate and then one of the kids asked to ring the bell. I should have encouraged this family to volunteer. Maybe ringing the bell for a minute was enough to inspire. That enthusiasm made up for some of the mean-spirited comments directed at me this year, a first while a bell ringer.

  5. Jackie Says:

    What a fun filled weekend for you! The weather was almost perfect for an evening parade, warmer but still no snow. I am patiently waiting, but still appreciating the mild days we are having. I love that vintage truck and the snow plow, looks like a great turnout.

  6. Don Says:

    Oh what fun you must have had! I see from your pictures that Faribault still puts up Christmas decorations on the street light poles, I love the community that does that, It seems like fewer and fewer towns do that these days. Sad……………….

  7. Kathleen Cassen Mickelson Says:

    What fun! This reminds me of the parade in the movie, A Christmas Story!

  8. Susan Ready Says:

    Well it sounded like you were filled with lots of holiday spirit. attending so many weekend events. Supporting your community by bell ringing is such a worthy program to be a part of. I thought your night photos turned out quite well.

    • I thoroughly enjoyed our weekend of holiday activities and am grateful to all those who organized events.

      Shooting night photos proves challenging given my camera doesn’t perform especially well in low light. So I shot a lot of frames and managed to get some decent ones.

  9. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    I’ve never been to a parade like this but it looks like a lot of fun.

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