Santa Claus drew squeals from young children. The Grinch had a few jeers thrown his way. But the Owatonna High School football team, clad in letter jackets and Santa hats, draw resounding applause as it rolled through downtown Owatonna as part of the traditional holiday lighted parade Thursday night. Less than a week ago the Huskies were lighting up the scoreboard at U.S. Bank Stadium on their way to a Prep Bowl championship victory.

A huge crowd attended Thursday's 45-minute parade, which featured a variety of trucks and floats lit with Christmas lights and holding holiday scenes. There was a Minion Santa and a Santa coming out of an outhouse. There was an elf on a fat-tire bicycle. Steele County Fair mascots Steely and Stella walked the street giving young fans high-fives. Snowflake the Special Olympics mascot rode in the parade to promote the Polar Plunge January 27, 2018 into Lake Kohlmier. Santa rode along in a horse-drawn wagon.

In Central Park after the parade, Chamber of Commerce and Tourism president Brad Meier addressed the crowd and longtime Owatonna businessman Greg Krueger led the countdown to turn on the holiday lights in the park. The Owatonna High School carolers took the stage for a performance.

A number of events highlight Owatonna's Hometown Holiday Weekend through Sunday, December 3. They include Little Theatre of Owatonna's presentation of "Snapshots: Memories, Moments, Music." Shop with Santa presented by the Steele County 4-H is Saturday, December 2 at St. John Lutheran Church. The Steele County Historical Society hosts Christmas in the Village and the holiday house tour. The OHS carolers perform Sunday afternoon at the Owatonna Arts Center.

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