Budget cuts, not the Grinch, cause holiday-light cutbacks in Mankato

Holiday lights and decorations don’t light up the streets and sidewalks in downtown Mankato, Minn., like they used to, reports the Mankato Free Press.

Budget cuts are to blame. The decorations are expensive to replace, install and remove, and there’s lots of electricity needed, too, the paper said.

“The holiday decorations have been all but eliminated,” Mankato City Manager Pat Hentges told the paper. “… As supplies run out, we’re not reordering them.”

It’s a far cry from the old days, said Gary Kratzke, owner of Matt J. Graif Clothing. “… There must have been 10 blocks (of decorations) going up and down along the stores. When I think of Christmas in Mankato, that’s what I think of.”

The city and business owners had been responsible for the decoration, “particularly retailers who wanted shoppers to see Mankato as Christmas central,” the paper said.

Will the brightly lit tradition ever return? Maybe not, unless a revival is “organized and financed largely by a merchant group or maybe non-profits using a Christmas display to draw attention to a holiday fund-raiser,” the paper said.

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