Ah, yes! Downtown Minneapolis! So, you know, Walker and I are night shifters. Going on a mini break means that the night before we go, we don't get a lot of sleep. We were pretty wiped out after the parade so we did a short round of Christmas shopping at Target, then headed back to the hotel. Along the way we passed a place called Chipotle, which was kind of like an upscale taco joint. Walker was hungry so we went inside. We split a burrito bowl (seasoned rice, shredded lime chicken, tomatoes, cheese, and black beans) and had some of their fabulous homemade chips and guacamole. We headed back to the hotel, intending to watch a movie in our room. Good plan but we both fell asleep before we set it up. Walker dozed in an easy chair and I fell asleep on the couch. So much for a big night out, LOL.
On Saturday, several members of my family came to Minneapolis and joined us at the hotel. Big Brother Jay and his new sweetie brought Diva and my mom. Before they came up, Walker and I went for breakfast at The Newsroom - good, but nothing special - and did some more Christmas shopping along Nicollet Mall. We bought ornaments at Macy's, Viking apparel at Marshall's, chocolate...somewhere, LOL. We had a good time shopping. The skies were sunny and the temps were up near 40*. It was a great morning.
The family arrived late afternoon. We met them in the lobby of the hotel. Diva was super excited, as this was her first Holidazzle. We got the car unloaded and geared up with extra clothes for the parade, and off we went.
It wasn't all I hoped for.
Here's the thing - this was not our first rodeo. We have been to at least a dozen Holidazzles. Things don't change a whole lot. Given that we had a kid and my mom, who is 74 and disabled, we decided to stake out our spot early. We chose a corner near Target, as they have easy access to a restroom - an important factor with a kid in tow. They also have a snack bar that serves hot cocoa, a parade necessity. Okay, not really a necessity, but some of us had some anyway. So anyway: what NORMALLY happens is, the police show up in pairs and put barricades against the curbs at each corner. Parade watchers are supposed to stay on the sidewalk, behind the barricades, since cross town traffic does not stop during the parade. The police let two or three floats go through while they hold the traffic, then they halt the parade and let the cars go through, then they stop the traffic again and continue the parade. So, naturally, they don't want people standing in the street. We got a great spot on a corner that faced the intersection, meaning no smart phones would be in my photos that night! Diva, who was wearing snow pants, happily sat on the curb to wait.
Only the police never put the barricades up. Two minutes before the parade, a whole herd of people came and stood right in front of us. Seriously, there were at least thirty people in the street. Diva could not see, my mom could not see, it was a mess. I asked the officer on duty if they were letting people stand in the street this year and his response was, "Lady, if they want to put themselves and their kids in the path of oncoming traffic, there's nothing I can do about it. There are too many people here." Um. WHAT? That whole "protect and serve" thing? That's not a nice idea, dude, that is your job. I asked him, seriously? You are not putting the barricades out? And he said, nope! We were literally eight rows back when the parade started. Jay put Diva on his shoulders - she ain't a little girl, y'all, she's tall at ten years old - but my mom was just out of luck. I considered talking to the folks standing in front of us, but I would not want my mom standing in the street when the traffic came through, and there were so dang many people. It seemed a losing battle.
You should have seen the mess: The parade would go, then the police would halt the floats to let the cars go and a couple hundred people would run out of the middle of the intersection, then the minute the cars would stop they would push and shove to get back to the front of the pack for the next round of the floats. I consider it a miracle that nobody got hurt. I think the folks who stepped in front of us at the last minute were totally rude, but that, unfortunately, doesn't surprise me anymore. I think many people have adopted the "me first" mentality. Sad, but what do you do except try to teach your kids to be different and hope what comes around, goes around.
So we stuck around but I didn't get any photos. My mom wedged herself into a spot where she could "sort of" see through a gap in the herd. After the parade my mom wanted to warm up before we went back to the hotel. I suggested we go to Target. Most of the crowd came to Target, too, but most were just using the entry to get to the sky walks that led to the parking ramps. I suggested that we use the nearby escalator to go upstairs, since the downstairs area was completely packed. I didn't know that my mom, who uses a cane, doesn't feel comfortable stepping onto an escalator anymore. She also had trouble with the revolving doors in the downtown buildings. The other folks using the doors moved way too fast for her. Walker had to block the door from letting others enter until my mom got through. Anyway: momma tried to step onto the escalator, got scared, stepped back, and nearly tripped over the people standing behind her. I didn't know what was wrong but I got her out of the stampede and we stood off to the side until the crowd thinned. Then we entered the store. We picked up a movie for Diva and a few snacks, then we braved the cold and walked back to the hotel.
Jay and his sweetie wanted to paint the town, so Diva came to our room for pizza and her movie. My mom fell asleep in Walker's chair as soon as we finished eating. By the way - Pizza Luce is excellent if you find yourself hungry in Minneapolis. And they delivered right to our room. Definitely a plus. So that was pretty much our evening.