ST. PAUL, Minn. – Prior to Grand Old Day's three-year hiatus, the event regularly drew crowds upwards of 200,000 attendees.
While no one was sure what a restructure of the event would ultimately look like, Sunday's turnout made it clear – the community did not lose love for the one-day event during its absence.
What's known as the largest free single-day festival in the Midwest, Grand Old Day relied on a rebuilt and revived Grand Avenue Business Association to make a comeback.
At the center, the event's co-chair Chris Jensen, who refers to himself as a son of St. Paul.
"When you talk to people, everyone has a great memory of Grand Old Day," Jensen said. "They can tell you their fondest memory of being here on the avenue, kind of connecting with the community and rallying a great group of volunteers for today – we kind of thought it was great to bring it back. It was time."
Jensen says fundraising proved to be one of the largest hurdles, but ultimately the group was able to raise enough to host the 200+ vendors, musicians, and other attractions the day had to offer.
At the center of the excitement, the Grand Old Day parade – featuring local politicians, business and other groups.
Jensen says the event helps put Grand Avenue back on people's minds.
"We call it the main street of St. Paul," he said. "What it really does is get everyone back out in the community to celebrate each other, celebrate St. Paul and Grand Avenue, get people to see the businesses that are here, and maybe what they've missed and some of the new places that have opened in the last couple years."
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