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Organizers plan for Farmington's Dazzle Day to shine

Alisa Peterson, education director with Dakota City Heritage Village, stands by a Christmas tree inside the Harris House that will be open and decorated in the theme of Ethnic Traditions of 1900. by Kara Hildreth / contributor1 / 2
Farmington Business Association President Josh Solinger stands with volunteers David and Doreen Kennedy at the Dakota City Village bandstand where the Dazzle Day tree lighting is planned for Dec. 2, along with holiday activities, music and food. Kara Hildreth / contributor 2 / 2

Celebrating old and new traditions will be a big part of Dazzle Day in Farmington.

Josh Solinger, president of Farmington Business Association, looks forward to seeing the community show up for Dazzle Day on Saturday, Dec. 2. Solinger reminded the public to mark their calendars so they can celebrate as neighbors and as a community during the holiday season.

Last year, the Farmington tradition of Dazzle Day was canceled because the group needed to rethink how it wanted to celebrate. The trees downtown that were lit up and decorated were not looking healthy.

New partnership

"This year we are partnering with Dakota City and we want to get back into Dazzle Day with our committee, and we thought it would be great to have it at Dakota City and we are glad to have them as part of our team," Solinger said.

Every Christmas, Dakota City Heritage Village attracts thousands to the decorated outdoor 1900 museum called Christmas in the Village. The events include holiday music, food, trolley rides and opportunities to write Santa Claus letters or have photos taken with St. Nicholas.

The public is welcome to attend village events all day and visit all the shops across Farmington and downtown.

The community tree lighting ceremony will take place at 5 p.m. under the bandstand inside the village. Some Farmington businesses will host special activities at their storefronts.

"We want to give people a reason to stick around and check out our businesses," Solinger said.

There will be plenty of families in town that day with a basketball tournament and a Secret Santa Gift Shop for children and families at the Rambling River Center in downtown Farmington.

Guests can park inside Dakota City and take buses downtown to shop. Buses will be leaving the village grounds every half hour.

Christmas in the Village

Alisa Peterson, education director with Dakota City Heritage Village, said this year's theme at Christmas in the Village will be "Ethnic Traditions of 1900."

"People can go inside and see what it was like in 1900," she said. "We are focusing on the immigrants that were in Dakota County in 1900, which would be Scandinavian, German, Irish, British and English."

Many historic village buildings will be decorated for Christmas in the traditions of those European countries and Christmas trees will be adorned with cranberries, pine cones, evergreen and holly.

"They had a few glass ornaments but very limited," said volunteer Doreen Kennedy.

The General Store will be the most modern building and will display items that would be for sale as Christmas gifts back in the 1900s.

"The McMenomy house will be decorated in the Irish theme and the Harris House will be decorated in the British and English themes," Peterson said.

Warm food will be for sale inside the drug store, in addition to root beer, hot cocoa and cider, root beer floats and ice cream.

Guests can sing Christmas carols and hear choirs sing in the church or hear Christmas stories and poems read. Children can write letters to Santa Claus in the Village Hall or shop for old-fashioned toys, knickknacks or handmade baby clothes or hand-stitched quilts.

Demonstrations will take place in many historic buildings like carpentry, printing or blacksmithing. The demos will educate youth and connect guests to their own history and ancestors from more than 100 years ago.

Organizers hope Dazzle Day will attract new guests to downtown and the fairgrounds to experience all music and fun that bring joy during the holidays.

Wearing her great-grandmother's black seal coat with a fox collar from the early 1900s, Kennedy has been a proud volunteer at the village for five years. Kennedy said veteran guests return to the Christmas in the Village because they like the feel and ambience of the decorated historic buildings.

If you go:

The community is invited to enjoy the Dazzle Day and related holiday events sponsored by Farmington Business Association and Dakota City Heritage Village.

What: A special community tree lighting ceremony and Family Night at Dakota City Christmas.

Holiday activities include horse and carriage rides and tractor hay rides, music and touring the historic buildings at Dakota City.

When: Events and shopping is open all day downtown and at Dakota City on Saturday, Dec. 2.

The tree lighting will take place at 5 p.m. under the bandstand at Dakota City Heritage.

Where: Dakota City Heritage Village at Dakota County Fairgrounds, 4008 220th St. W., Farmington

Other information: Drop off a food item for Farmington Food Shelf or a toy for Toys for Town at a participating business and receive a free ticket to Christmas in the village at Dakota City Heritage Village. The Children's Castle Theatre will give two performances of a condensed version of the Christmas Carol at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. in Ahlberg Hall.

Vote for your favorite holiday decorated Farmington business on Facebook from Dec. 2-22. One random winner will receive a $100 gift card and a free downtown bus tour compliments of Carlson Lines, LLC.

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