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City holiday traditions change, end

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news Dickinson, 58602
The Dickinson Press
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Dickinson North Dakota 1815 1st Street West 58602

A long-standing holiday event in Dickinson is no more and lighted floats that used to grace downtown streets yearly will now be parked in a new location.

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The annual Christmas in Prairie Outpost Park, a lighted holiday display on Museum Drive, will not come to fruition this year as all parties involved had turnover and the event has been let go.

James Kramer, director of Dickinson Parks and Recreation, said the event was a cooperative effort of the city of Dickinson, the Park District and the Dickinson Convention and Visitors Bureau.

"The decision was made just to kind of let it go, see what we hear and see what happens," Kramer said.

Terri Thiel, executive director of the Dickinson CVB, said the event was started by the American Petroleum Institute in 1998 at Camp on the Heart, an RV park on the Heart River in south Dickinson.

In 2002, the event was moved to Prairie Outpost Park where it had remained, Thiel said.

"No one really took ownership in it," Kramer said. "There really wasn't somebody from each entity. We each just kind of did our own thing and because we were the group that put it up, that was the major part of it," Kramer said.

Kramer said all three entities chose not to participate this year.

"It takes a lot of effort," Kramer said. "If you think of the stuff at your house, how much time you put into it to keep lights going and things like that."

Kramer said the event generally took the district's entire crew working two full weeks to set up everything.

City Administrator Shawn Kessel said to his understanding, the city donated use of the land for the event and beyond that, "the city wasn't involved to a great degree."

"Obviously they plugged the lights into our electrical outlets so we paid the expense of the lights, but beyond that, I'm not sure to what extent we assisted," Kessel said.

However, a pavilion at Prairie Outpost Park will be decorated, Kramer said.

The event is more of a project for a service or volunteer group, Kramer said.

The Parade of Lights, generally held near downtown Dickinson, has also undergone some changes this year.

Dubbed the "Parade of Lights Display" and themed "Light Up the Town," the event will be held Friday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the east parking lot of Prairie Hills Mall.

Lexi Sebastian, executive director of the Dickinson Area Chamber of Commerce, said a lack of parade participation is behind this year's changes.

"The Parade of Lights and most downtown Christmas events tried to have everybody from downtown participating and such and over the past couple years it hasn't been really popular even with the number of parade floats," Sebastian said.

With the changes, Sebastian said the Chamber hopes to "generate some new life" and "create kind of an evening of Christmas with Santa and shopping promotions and those types of things because that's really what the promotions committee is all about, they're about shopping local."

Parade floats will be lined up on the east side of the mall parking lot, which can be entered on 18th Street West, according to a press release.

Police will be directing traffic.

Children can visit Santa inside the mall and receive free candy canes, apple cider and cookies, according to the release.

Miss Dickinson will provide special entertainment, according to the release.

Votes can be cast for the best decorated store front as well as favorite float.

The Chamber will also host a drawing and will give away up to $300 in Chamber Bucks, according to the release.

The Best Friends Mentoring Program will also being hosting a bake sale, including hot chocolate sales.

"If they want to do some shopping we thought that would be a great opportunity to create some specials then too," Sebastian said.

For more information, contact the Chamber at 701-225-5115, by e-mail at team@dickinsonchamber.org or stop by 314 Third Ave. W.

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