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Waconia Businesses Hope for Economic Boost from 'Taste of Minnesota'

Updated: 06/27/2014 7:31 AM
Created: 06/26/2014 8:23 PM KSTP.com
By: Brandi Powell

Organizers of a popular food, drink and music event in the Twin Cities are relocating after their original spot was flooded out.

The Taste of Minnesota won't be at Harriet Island over the Fourth of July Weekend; instead, it's moving to the Carver County Fairgrounds in Waconia.

Waconia's Chamber of Commerce President says they're getting bombarded with phone calls about the Taste of Minnesota, and local businesses say they're already setting up contingency plans in case they get more people in town than expected.

It's a showcase event that usually draws hundreds of  thousands of people.

"It's a big deal," said Richard Hanson with Gold Star Amusements, the company providing amusement rides at the Taste. "It's not that bad of a drive; it's a destination, but it's worth it when you get here."

If you can.

"There's no light rail out here; there's no buses out here," Hanson said.

Still, the Chamber of Commerce President hopes the Taste will give businesses a boost in the place they call the "City in the Country."

"Just for us to have this exposure for people in the metro to see, 'Hey, it's only 30 miles to Waconia and we have so much going on out here, not just with the Taste of Minnesota,'" said Kellie Sites, President of the Waconia Chamber of Commerce.

Sites says there's also a lot to do in downtown Waconia.

"I'm hoping that we get a little trickle-down effect from that for sure," said Jacob Pasket, who works for Waconia Lanes.

Pasket said the Taste will have an effect on business; he's just not sure if it'll be good or bad.

"It does worry me," Pasket said. "Anytime we have any large town events, sometimes that takes away from the business."

Still, this bar and bowling alley is re-staffing and preparing for the best.

"Normally, we would have two people on," Pasket said. "We are probably going to have to have another person."

And there's still a lot to do in a short amount of time.

The Mayor of Waconia, Jim Nash, said all hands are on deck right now to make sure plans are in place for parking, traffic and public safety, as well as making sure the grounds themselves are all set to go.

"Make the place look nice because there's a lot of people coming in here and are going to see this is our fairgrounds and we want it to look nice," said Dan Hoese, one of the Directors at the Carver County Fairgrounds.

In addition to the Carver County Fair held each year in Waconia, you might remember Waconia hosted the Governor's Fishing Opener in 2012, so big events are not necessarily new to the city.


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