It’s a Grand Old Day in Saint Paul

Photo Credit: Brandon Stengel, courtesy of the Grand Avenue Business Association

Photo Credit: Brandon Stengel, courtesy of the Grand Avenue Business Association

Apparently, a quarter of a million people are about to descend on my area of Saint Paul.  Why? Because it’s festival time!

It’s the 40th anniversary of the Grand Old Day festival in Saint Paul. The Grand Avenue Business Association started this event in 1973 as a way to raise funds to promote businesses along Grand Avenue in Saint Paul.  They shut down most of  Grand Ave and the large amount of visitors expected means I’ll likely be trapped in my apartment, but as long as I can get out if there’s an emergency (which I’m sure I will) I doubt there will be a problem.  This event has been going on for quite a while. I would assume the organizers know what they are doing.  My evidence: the website is pretty spiffy.

So, what happens at this street fair held on the first Sunday of June? Well there’s a parade of course! This year’s theme is “Through the Decades” which is appropriate since the celebration has been around for four of them. So of course be on the look out for neon from the 80s and disco stuff from the 70s.

After the parade, they have various “districts” to wander through which are themed areas featuring various forms of entertainment.

The districts include Entertainment, Family Fun, Sporting and Home & Garden.  From what I’ve read the Home & Garden area is new this year and you can learn about edible landscaping, backyard chickens, and composting among other things.

What I’m really impressed with is the number of bands in the fair.  I appreciate any function that promotes local music or small time music artists…you know the ones who are still struggling to make it.

When I first heard that 250,000 people go to Grand Old Day, I was shocked. The logistics of it boggles my mind, but as I was surfing through the festival’s website, I can understand the big draw.  There’s quite a bit going on in one place and now that summer is here, Minnesotans seem to be eager for an excuse to get outside after a long, cold winter.

If the weather holds out, I might just have to take a walk down (or is it up?) there and see what everyone is looking at that is so interesting.  Then again, my crowd phobia might keep me at home following the fun on social media.  We’ll see.

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