Super Bowl Visitors Find Scene a Bit More Mellow in St. Paul

St. Paul Saints employee Noah Lindsey works at the Super Slide at CHS Field Saturday morning. Photo: KSTP/Frank Rajkowski
St. Paul Saints employee Noah Lindsey works at the Super Slide at CHS Field Saturday morning.

February 03, 2018 05:17 PM

Deana Donegan and Edgar Rivera, of Connecticut, are in the Twin Cities for the Super Bowl.

But it was a desire to get away from at least a bit of the Super Bowl weekend rush that led them to downtown St. Paul Saturday afternoon.


The two Patriots fans - who are staying near the Mall of America - were in Rice Park checking out the ice palace and other aspects of St. Paul's Winter Carnival.

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"We did the the touristy things yesterday, but we wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle a little bit," said Donegan, who will be at Sunday's matchup between the Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

"So we thought we'd come down here and check out the Winter Carnival because people told us it's a great exhibit every year. After this, we're going to go to Summit and check out a local brewery."

It's not that St. Paul hasn't been drawing Super Bowl-related crowds of its own. The Xcel Energy Center hosted Opening Night at Super Bowl LII Monday. And there have been other events, both public and private, held there this week as well.

Things were really expected to pick up Saturday with the Taste of the NFL event at RiverCenter and a Dave Matthews Band concert at Xcel Energy Center.

Meanwhile, members of the U.S. Winter Olympic team were scheduled to appear in Rice Park as part of the Team USA Winterfest.

"The crowds have been steady," said Steve Linders, the public information coordinator for the St. Paul police department, though he did not yet have official estimates.

"It's been pretty much what we expected. But it's been steady, and we expect it to pick up even more today with everything we have going on."

Linders said the department has added extra patrols, beyond even what they might add for a typical Winter Carnival.

But St. Paul Saints employee Noah Lindsey, who was working Saturday morning at the Super Slide (which will remain set up at CHS Field through Feb. 10), has been in both downtown Minneapolis and downtown St. Paul this week.

And he said it's no contest when it comes to which downtown has felt mellower.

"I went to the Kevin Hart show at Target Center (Friday night)," he said. "And in Minneapolis, it's all Super Bowl, all the time. It hasn't been quite as intense over here.

"A lot of people have actually seemed more focused on the Winter Carnival."

Which doesn't mean CHS Field hasn't seen some Super Bowl traffic too.

"I just met a couple from Boston," said Ed Kajer, who was working at the ice fishing pond there Saturday. "They're here for the game.  They're not Patriots fans though, they're Vikings fans. He's from Minnesota originally."

And Super Bowl visitors from out-of-town were continuing to arrive at St. Paul hotels.

Lauren Krasinski, of Boston, and her nephew Kevin Krasinski, of North Carolina, had just gotten to town Friday night.

"We came here because this is where we found an opening," said Kevin Krasinski in the lobby of InterContinental Saint Paul Riverfront Saturday.

"But it's been going smoothly."

"I went out to go to Starbuck's and it was smooth sailing all the way," added Lauren. "People here have been so friendly. And they've had a lot of volunteers on duty to help out."

Barbara Lundervold, of Woodbury, was one of those volunteering Saturday.

"I think there are just more activities going on in Minneapolis when it comes to the Super Bowl," she said. "But there has been plenty of stuff over here too.

"Really there's things happening all over. There's even a flag football event up in Woodbury (Saturday). So you have all these nooks and crannies. And I think people are going every direction."

Eagles fan Mike Gregor, of Ambler, Pennsylvania, was staying with relatives in St. Paul.

He and the rest of his group were walking around Rice Park as snow fell Saturday, but planned to head to Minneapolis to take in the NFL Experience at the Minneapolis Convention Center later in the day.

"We're just out here dealing with the elements and taking it all in," Gregor said. "Getting around has gone pretty smoothly so far."


Frank Rajkowski

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