Created: 07/04/2014 9:16 PM KSTP.com
Food, music and family fun is back at the Taste of Minnesota, except this time it's at the Carver County Fairgrounds in Waconia.
People gathered all day to gear up for not one, but two fireworks shows. Oddly enough they have the recent flooding in the state to thank for twice the fun this Fourth of July.
This week was supposed to be business as usual in Waconia, until the Taste of Minnesota rolled into town.
There are still a few days left of the festival and so far, organizers and city leaders have been impressed by the success of the festival in its new location.
Thursday night, it was shoulder-to-shoulder people, and Waconia mayor Jim Nash estimated a crowd of 25,000 to 30,000 people crammed into the Carver County Fairgrounds to kick off the festival.
The impact is felt far beyond the fairgrounds. The restaurants have been full all week as they began preparing for this. They saw folks come in Thursday night as well.
Bars have seen a big impact, and some of the gas stations have brought in extra supplies.
The sudden shift of location means an opportunity for lots of locals to try the taste for the first time.
One food vendor said he's been serving people from the area but also from Eden Prairie, Hutchinson and Mankato, but not too many from the Twin Cities.
A change of venue may have changed the crowd, and if you ask the mayor, it should stay that way.
"Last night, as I was gibing a welcome speech to the crowd here, I apologized to Mayor Coleman in St. Paul because we intend to take his festival," Nash said. "So I would say the community is very interested in keeping Taste of Minnesota here.