Holiday hopes fizzle for vendors after Holidazzle cancellation

Minneapolis lost a major winter event Tuesday night when the Downtown Council canceled Holidazzle.

For dozens of vendors, losing those four weekends of sales can turn a good year bad, so they’re now desperate for alternatives.

Holidazzle was supposed to take over Loring Park with ice skating, music, and family fun plus dozens of vendors selling potential holiday gifts. A lack of funding doomed this year’s event and now the vendors are dealing with their own money problems.

Even just half of Holidazzle 2022 was a hit for Eddie Phillips and Boom Island Woodworking.

"We made more sales in those two weekends and probably, you know, a half dozen different events combined," Phillips said.

Tens of thousands of people walked through Loring Park — listening to music, watching fireworks and shopping at vendor tents.

But the 2023 Holidazzle fizzled out six weeks before it launched.

"It’s not a decision that we took lightly but in the end, we simply don’t have the resources to move forward," said Minneapolis Downtown Council CEO Steve Cramer.

He says the council focused on summer events as a priority, but hoped to have enough money to finish with a full and free Holidazzle. But between vendor fees, sponsorships, and government funding, they fell short.

The timing is terrible for vendors like Phillips.

"I've been building inventory for the last two months in preparation for this event," Phillips said.

Holiday sales make up a big chunk of his income, but now he has nowhere to go where customers can see his work.

"We are so far into the holiday season, all of the other markets that would be available for people like myself to attend have closed their applications and selected their vendors," he said.

Downtown Council leaders say they plan to bring back Holidazzle next year.

Phillips says he won’t rent a tent because he’s not sure how far he can trust the organizers anymore.