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First Avenue Expecting Big Crowds on Anniversary of Prince's Death

April 21, 2017 06:54 AM

One year after the death of Minnesota music icon Prince, fans from all over the world are expected to descend on his home state.

And several of the singer's favorite Twin Cities hangouts are preparing for big crowds this weekend.

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RELATED: Small Minnesota Town Where 'Purple Rain' was Filmed Remembers Prince

Friday marks one year since Prince died following an accidental fentanyl overdose. 

And for Prince fans coming from out of town, there are two places on the must-see list this weekend.

The first, of course, is Paisley Park, his home and studio in Chanhassen, now a museum. 

The other is First Avenue in downtown Minneapolis, which figured prominently in the singer's legendary film "Purple Rain."

RELATED: Prince Fans Flock to Paisley

Prince fans have been dropping by the music club since the day he died, just so they can feel closer to him.

First Avenue General Manager Nathan Kranz said he will never forget what it was like outside his building the night Prince died. 

"We could see that people started gathering the moment news broke of Prince's passing," he recalls.

That made sense, because it was Prince who brought the club to national prominence.

"Without any other reason, it kind of seemed like First Avenue was a magnet," Kranz said.

It happened so naturally. Huge crowds gathered at the club. It was Purple Rain day and night. A crush of people closed downtown streets and had First Avenue surrounded.

Inside, huge Prince dance parties went on for days.

And this weekend, First Avenue wants to do it all over again, keeping Prince's legacy alive in a place that meant so much to him.
 
"Prince did a lot of early gigs here" Kranz said. "And, of course, this is the building and the night club and the stage where he filmed Purple Rain, which is where he really shot to international stardom."

Kranz expects huge crowds again.

"It's going to be a long weekend for people who want to come down to First Avenue and kind of re-live a little of that Purple Rain," he said.

Unlike Paisley Park, which is charging almost a thousand dollars for a VIP weekend celebration, First Avenue has less expensive events planned starting Friday. 

That includes a Sunday morning kids dance party for five dollars. Most of the shows are sold out.

Check the First Avenue website to see what's available.

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Kevin Doran & Zach Tecklenburg

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