Sting booked for NFL Tailgate Party

The Wilfs and other team owners won’t be the only bigshots who get to see Sting sing in Minneapolis this weekend. NFL representatives announced the former Police frontman as one of the performers for Sunday’s official Tailgate Party before Super Bowl LII, another high-buck shindig also featuring Sting’s new duet partner Shaggy as well as rocker-turned-twanger Darius Rucker.

Taking place inside the Minneapolis Convention Center instead of a typical tailgating parking lot, the noontime party is included in many VIP packages for Super Bowl ticket holders; individual tickets are available on starting around $1,700. Part of the party will be shown during the Super Bowl pregame telecast.

The NFL is promising/threatening Sting and Shaggy will deliver their new reggae-flavored single “Don’t Make Me Wait,” a surprising collaboration that was the butt of many jokes on Twitter. They also performed a portion of the song during the Grammy Awards, a moment the Los Angeles Times said “stood out for the wrong reasons.”

Last week, it was confirmed that Sting was booked to play a party for NFL team owners hosted by the Wilfs, a customary event for the local team in the Super Bowl host city.


It’s quiet — too quiet — for skyway volunteers

It was like “Waiting for Godot” — or waiting for some tourists — for Super Bowl volunteers stationed in front of a shuttered coffee shop in the Ameriprise building.

Volunteers manning the skyways saw a lunch rush but little other action Monday, with most out-of-town visitors not yet making their way into the bridges snaking between buildings.

“It’s been quiet,” said Stephen Ogren of Minneapolis.

“It’s ordinary downtown worker traffic,” said Ogren’s volunteer partner, Kenneth Hudoba of Oak Grove.

The pair got some inquiries, but most were for directions to the Convention Center. “If they’re coming here to find their way, they’re really lost,” Hudoba said. “This is absolutely the desert.”

Eventually, their captain, Linda Munson of Fridley, stopped by. By midday, she’d already clocked 14,000 steps after making her rounds.

Hudoba and Ogren met at the start of their four-hour shift and entertained each other with stories to pass the time. “The good news,” said Ogren, “is we haven’t started repeating ourselves yet.”

They were only a half-hour into their shift.

Sharyn Jackson

Really? We have to be nice to Eagles fans?

Volunteers near the giant Roman numerals spelling “LII” in ice on the Nicollet Mall were much busier. The ice sculpture has fast become one of the most popular spots for fans to get Super Bowl photos. To keep the crowds moving, volunteers are discouraging selfies and are taking photos of fans in front of the numerals with the fans’ own cameras.

“We’re seeing people from all over,” said volunteer Kelly Novak of Andover. “People come off the light rail and this is one of the first things they see.” Novak, who signed up for three volunteer shifts of four hours each, is having so much fun that she’s planning to see if she can get more shifts.

Brett Mauren, a volunteer from Burnsville, had a group of Philadelphia fans come through on Monday. He said he treated them nicely, on orders from his pastor.

“He told us we have to be nice to the people from Philly,” Mauren said. “He told us, ‘We’re going to show them our best, even if we don’t mean it.’ ”

John Reinan

Using the game warmup to warm up kids

Hats and Mittens, a local organization that collects winter wear for children in need, harnessed Super Bowl visitors Saturday for a bustling family-friendly downtown event with Thrivent Financial.

Rebecca Jorgenson Sundquist, the group’s founder, said she was thrilled with the high turnout. The goal was to collect 52,000 pairs of hats and mittens — in accordance with Super Bowl LII — and she expected to exceed it.

“I just assumed most of the activity would all center around the game, and people coming to the game, and hotels and restaurants,” Jorgenson Sundquist said. “But I had no idea it would impact the community like this.”

The event included live music, story readings and a feeding pen with llamas and sheep. Doria Martinez was at a table with her grandmother, Belinda, making scarves to be donated. Using the Super Bowl as a chance to give to local people in need, Martinez said, was a “really good idea.”


United Way and NFL continue partnership

Sarah Caruso, president of the Greater Twin Cities United Way, said the Super Bowl will have a long-term effect on the United Way and the community.

The NFL, which has partnered with the United Way for 45 years, secured a booth for the nonprofit at the Super Bowl Experience in the Minneapolis Convention Center. The booth features a virtual reality game to promote Character Playbook, the organization’s in-school program that teaches middle schoolers about healthy relationships.

“We think that the Super Bowl Experience will benefit the whole community. It reinforces … building the community [and] building healthy relationships,” Caruso said.


Don’t bet on Miss Jackson for halftime

Will fans see Janet Jackson in Minneapolis for this week’s Super Bowl festivities? Minneapolis is her adopted second hometown, due to all the time she spent here writing and recording with producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.

And then there’s connection with Justin Timberlake, who will be doing the Super Bowl halftime show. Maybe Jackson will want a do-over on their famous wardrobe malfunction from 2004?

“I wouldn’t bet on it,” said Lewis by phone Sunday evening. “I don’t know if she likes football that much. But you never know when she’s going to stop by.”