Grand Old Day Returns to St. Paul

Grand Old Day is set for June 4, 2023, after taking three years off due to the pandemic. The event dates all the way back to 1973, and bills itself as one of the largest single-day festivals in the Midwest. To Minnesotans, the 50-year-old street fair represents the informal beginning of summer, but in 2020 the parade and festival shut down due to the pandemic. Now it’s back on, and people are getting excited.

Brian Wagner is on the board of the Grand Avenue Business Association, and he’s co-chairing the Grand Old Day Committee. “It’s the kick off to summer, so we’re just excited that we can invite folks back together, and realize those things that we took for granted,” he says. To him, the event is about being in the community and uplifting small businesses. 

The festival has something for everyone, and it almost looks like a preview of the State Fair. According to Wagner, they plan on having a makers market, live music, a morning race to kick off the event, food vendors, and of course, the parade that marches down Grand Ave. 

After three hard years, the festival is back to celebrate community and support Grand Avenue’s local businesses. “It’s an opportunity to come together and just be,” Wagner says. The event is entirely volunteer run, and it’s a labor of love. The Grand Avenue Business Association doesn’t have any actual employees, but rather, it’s a group of business owners working together to celebrate the historic street. 

For Wagner, the magic of Grand Old Day is right before the parade starts –– “that’s probably one of my favorite moments, watching everyone come together, and wait for the event to begin.”

“We’re just really excited to be back,” he says.

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