Organizers of St. Paul's Grand Old Day said the long-running street festival, often dubbed the unofficial start to summer in Minnesota's capital city, will not be held for the second year in a row.
Pandemic-related uncertainties and other challenges spurred the Grand Avenue Business Association's (GABA) decision, but planners are hopeful the event will make a comeback in 2022.
"It takes about a year to plan," said Lanai Koep, GABA's treasurer. "By the time we knew what restrictions would be lifted, we knew that there was just no way."
The event draws hundreds of thousands of people to St. Paul's Grand Avenue on the first Sunday in June. It is billed as one of the largest single-day festivals in the Upper Midwest, featuring a parade, food vendors, live music and more.
Grand Old Day was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19, but even before the viral outbreak its fate was in limbo. Financial pressures almost canceled the event in 2019 until last-minute fundraising efforts salvaged the festivities.
Koep said the complete turnover of the GABA board in November also dampened the prospects of a 2021 event. She said the board is recruiting members and working "to bring as much revenue and success to Grand Avenue as we possibly can."
Peter Kenefick, who owns Dixie's On Grand restaurant, said he'll miss the fun and the business Grand Old Day typically brings. However given the circumstances, he thinks organizers made the right choice.
He hopes the street festival will be "bigger and better than ever" in 2022.
Katie Galioto • 612-673-4478