From trolley rides and carolers to the chance to meet Santa, Bells on Belgrade brought the holiday spirit to the heart of North Mankato Saturday.
For some families, such as Natalie Schuette’s, the annual event is a family tradition.
The Schuette family is visiting from Lake Crystal.
“This is probably our fourth year, so since (my daughter) was pretty little. We like to come check out the lower North Mankato area. We don’t get here as much as we would like to, but it’s such a fun, cute area downtown,” she said.
Schuette said her kids, ages 6, 5 and 1, saw Santa and took pictures with the Grinch.
The family of newer North Mankato resident Trisha Kack celebrated the holiday season downtown for the first time.
Kack said she plans to make it a holiday tradition.
“Probably (because of) the family community and everyone being so welcoming probably. The kids have fun,” she said.
North Mankato Culture and Recreation Director Katie Heintz said 15 floats made their way down Belgrade Avenue this year.
This is also the Holiday Sharing Tree’s second year participating in the event. The charitable gift program raised about $300 at the event last year, organizer Liz Thiesse said.
“It’s always just fun. Everyone’s happy to come down here. It’s a free event. The kids love it. They get to see Santa and the light show. There’s just always very good energy,” Heintz said.