Central Minnesota is a pretty cool place to be around the holidays. There are a few events that have become staple traditions for many people in the area. If you're new to town or looking for a new tradition, check out these 5 holiday events you don't want to miss this holiday season.

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1. St. Cloud Hospital Festival of Lights--First of all, this event is totally free. The St. Cloud Hospital hosts their lighting ceremony every for the public. There's free cocoa and cookies, horse drawn wagon rides and more.This year it's set for Thursday, Dec. 5.

2. Zonta Christmas House--The Zonta Club totally decks out one home in central Minnesota for the holidays. They invited the public out to tour the home and get into the holiday spirit. They always host this event before Thanksgiving. It's too late to join in this year, but put it on your calendar for next year.

3. Sartell's Country Lights Festival--This new event is probably best described as being a mini Bentleyville. It's a walk through lights display located in Sartell next to the community center.

4. St. Cloud's Winter Nights And Lights Parade: What's better than a parade of lights at night with Santa? St. Cloud officially welcomes St. Nick to town during this super fun event. This year the parade is set for Saturday, Dec. 14 at 5 p.m. Just make sure you dress warm. The city also hosts Winter Wonderland before the parade at Lake George from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

5. Sauk Rapids Parade of LIghts: When Santa Claus comes to town, we like to give him the royal treatment. This year the parade is Saturday, Sept. 7. There's fun family activities way before the parade starts at 10 a.m.

6. Holiday Train: The entire train is totally decked out in Christmas lights. It''ll be making its Minnesota stops on Dec. 5 thru 14th. Catch it in Loretto, Annandale, Buffalo and Kimball on Dec. 12.


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