Minneapolis leaders work to revitalize downtown as Twin Cities Pride considers moving annual festival
Minneapolis leaders are navigating the ups and downs of downtown revitalization as one of its biggest festivals is considering leaving the city.
For over 50 years in the summer, Loring Park would transform into this a safe space bursting with color and Twin Cities Pride.
“It’s history. It’s home here,” Andi Otto, Twin Cities Pride executive director, said.
But now Twin Cities Pride may be looking for a new home.
“There are some challenges with Loring Park. One is the sheer size of Loring Park and we’ve outgrown it,” Otto said.
The festival is expanding into the Minneapolis sculpture garden to accommodate the crowd. Festival organizers are expecting about 600,000 people this year.
Otto explained the cost to run the festival is climbing too high so they’re considering moving the event to a different city.
He said they’ve had conversations with the city of St. Paul to possibly have the festival at the state fairgrounds next year.
“We’re hopeful that some of these issues that were identified by Twin Cities Pride can be resolved,” Steve Cramer, Minneapolis downtown council CEO, said.
Cramer explained the downtown council has sat down with Twin Cities Pride and city officials to address the concerns because the goal is to bring more energy to downtown, not lose it.
“The goal is to really help to restore and enhance the vibrancy of downtown,” Cramer said.
“Downtown Thursdays” is a new plan to brighten Nicollet Avenue.
From 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. during the summer on Thursdays, music will fill the area and visitors can have lunch right in the middle of the street.
Patrons will also hear musical performances and pick from different games and vendors.
It’s one of the many efforts to push people back to the downtown area.
Mayor Jacob Frey mentioned this week he’s on board with the idea of making Nicollet Avenue bus-free. City officials said they plan to test the bus-free method during the summer for a few weeks.
Frey also suggested legislation to allow open containers of alcohol in some areas of downtown in the future.