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Bigger and better: Grand Old Day to return to St. Paul for first time since 2019

Grand Old Day to return in 2023
Grand Old Day to return in 2023 02:25

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- After taking a few years off, a popular one-day street festival is planning to return to the streets of St. Paul. Organizers of Grand Old Day announced the event is being planned for June 4, the first time since 2019.

Organizers say they've used the time off to plan a bigger and better return with preliminary plans aiming to include a car show, pride stage, makers market and more. They also hope to bring back favorites like the Battle of the Bands, talent show, and Fun Run.

"We only got to do it for one year and were really bummed we couldn't do it again, so we're excited to have it come back," Red Rabbit Director of Finance Michael Giacomini said.

Red Rabbit opened its St. Paul location on Grand Avenue in 2018.

"Bringing this foot traffic to Grand Avenue will be huge for us," Giacomini said.

Down the street from Red Rabbit sits Golden Fig. Owner Laurie Crowell has been to 25 Grand Old Days -- 17 as the owner of her small business.

"I think it's great for one day out of the year to walk out of this fancy food store and get a corn dog," she joked.

Like years past, fundraising for the event remains a challenge for the Grand Avenue Business Association.

"We utilize Grand Old Day as the primary fundraiser for our budget for the Grand Avenue Business Association which is really just a group of volunteer business owners like myself. We have no paid staff," Board Member of the Grand Avenue Business Association and Co-Chair of the Grand Old Day Committee Brian Wagner said.

Brian Wagner said costs to cover security including police and road barricades has more than tripled since the last time they hosted the event. In 2019 he said it cost about $40,000. Estimates for 2023 are around $125,000.

"Our world is different than it was in 2019 in relation to what we've witnessed at other events that we now have to plan for and manage in order to make this a safe event," Wagner said.

Organizers say they're working with the city to come up with creative cost-cutting solutions. One being utilizing snow plows to block roads. They're also adding events and seeking sponsorships.

Anyone interested in sponsoring an event or volunteering can find more information here.

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