By Kyra Price
Even though it’s December, the town of Menomonie lined the downtown streets to watch a parade this week. The annual Winter Daze event was held on Dec. 9 from 4 to 6 p.m. This year is the 17th year of the celebration.
In addition to the parade, locals got to meet Mr. and Mrs. Santa, drink free hot chocolate, pet some animals and watch fireworks. The Winter Daze is a big community event in Menomonie.
“Before moving to Menomonie, I only thought of parades as being a summertime experience,” said UW-Stout’s Interim Associate Provost for Partner and Student Engagement and member of Downtown Menomonie Board David Beck. “This event embodies small-town America, allowing communities to come together for one night to embrace the weather and traditions of the region.”
Others agree that the gathering is something unique. Executive Director of Downtown Menomonie Inc., Dustyn Dubuque said this has been a regular winter event for him. “Even before I became the executive director the Winter Daze Parade was a must attend event for my wife and I. No matter how cold it was, we always attended,” said Dubuque.
Cold or snow won’t deter paradegoers. “To watch a parade that has floats bedazzled with holiday lights is something special, and the fireworks display over the lake afterwards is definitely worth standing out in the cold for,” said Beck.
Local volunteers helped organize the event along with a number of organizations throughout the town. “This event means our downtown is alive. The town is alive,” said Dubuque. “It is Wisconsin, we all understand what it is like to live here in the winter, why not embrace it and enjoy a hot chocolate and watch a parade?”
Kyra Price is a University of Wisconsin-Stout student. They obtained an internship supporting local journalism that is funded by the Menard Center for the Study of Institutions and Innovation.