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Downtown looks to kick off ninth Holiday Stroll

It may be Black Friday but downtown Red Wing will be bright.

There will be Christmas lights, a parade, live reindeer, hot cocoa and chili, fireworks and other attractions to draw visitors and locals alike to Red Wing Downtown Mainstreet's ninth annual Holiday Stroll from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday.

"It was fun just having all those people in town," said Linda Kelly, co-proprietor of Bella Casa Interiors, a home décor retailer that moved downtown last year. It was the first time the business participated in the stroll.

The Holiday Stroll has been a successful promotion for almost a decade in large part because it is a family-friendly event, said Shannon Harris, Downtown Main Street president.

"The charm of Red Wing doesn't hurt either," she said.

Also, an army of volunteers puts a lot of work into the event, Harris pointed out - and the committee overseeing the stroll has tweaked it to meet people's wants but has been careful not to make drastic changes.

There has not been an official count of the number of people attending the stroll. Harris estimated on average of 7,000 to 8,000 people show up for the event, although some years the crowds have been larger.

Kelly said there was a point last year when Bella Casa's floor room was completely full - great exposure for a store that had just moved downtown. It was also a good time, she said.

"There was some sort of energy in the air. It sure made it feel like Christmas," Kelly said. "It kind of kicks off the holidays."