Local Current Blog

Baytown declines A Taste of Minnesota, annual festival still homeless

Aquatic fun at a recent festival. Photo via A Taste of Minnesota on Facebook.

After being flooded off of Harriet Island and spending a year at the Carver County Fairgrounds in Waconia, the music and food festival A Taste of Minnesota is again searching for a home—but it won’t find it at the Washington County Fairgrounds in 2015.

Organizers of the festival that featured Soul Asylum, Halestorm, the Castaways and Starship last summer proposed moving it to the Baytown Township site, but their ideas were met with residents’ concern, the Pioneer Press reported.

About 40 people came to a town board meeting Monday night to raise issues like alcohol sales, noise, parking, traffic, crowds and fireworks. Despite organizers’ argument that hosting the festival would be a boon for Baytown restaurants and gas stations, the board told the Pioneer Press the town does not have businesses that would profit from it. Additionally, the township usually allows alcohol sales for only two nonprofit organizations during the county fair, and wouldn’t likely do it for the for-profit festival.

Festival general manager Linda Maddox told the Pioneer Press that other sites are being explored, but she would not say their locations.

A Fourth of July destination that usually draws more than 200,000 people, Taste launched in 1983 as a free festival on the state Capitol lawns. It was held on Harriet Island for a few years, but Mississippi River flooding pushed it onto the Carver County Fairgrounds last year. The festival’s acts have included Earth, Wind & Fire, REO Speedwagon and Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band. It has also showcased local groups like GB Leighton, the Gear Daddies and the Jayhawks.

Hailey Colwell is a journalism major at the University of Minnesota and a co-director of Theatre Corrobora.