Local Current Blog

UPDATED: 2019 Grand Old Day is on again

Grand Old Day 2010. Photo by Drew Geraets (CC BY-NC 2.0)

In an announcement posted to Facebook today, the Grand Avenue Business Association has announced that this year’s Grand Old Day is off. “It was a difficult and unanimous decision but one that the board of directors made to keep the event fresh for 2020,” said interim president Allison Penner-Hurst in a statement. The association posted the announcement on both the event’s Facebook page and its own.

Update 5/2: The Grand Avenue Business Association has announced that “we have been able to address the financing and logistical challenges facing us and we are now confident that together we can successfully pull off an amazing Grand Old Day 2019!”

This year’s Grand Old Day was scheduled for Sunday, June 2. According to the statement, “It is our wish to make sure we produce a successful, safe, and fun event next year. We will be looking to the community for input to create an event that reflects the traditions and interests of the businesses and neighbors who call Grand Avenue home.”

Penner-Hurst told KARE 11 that “the size of the event and the cost to produce it have both gone up, and the dollars were not coming in for them to produce it successfully this year,” the network reports.

Grand Old Day has been a rite of spring for residents and neighbors of the Capital City since the 1970s, growing into what was advertised as “the largest one-day festival in the upper midwest.” Over the decades, the family event took on more of a party vibe, with popular local artists playing to packed parking lots at multiple stages along St. Paul’s shopping street.

The increased prevalence of audiences looking for beer and sun rather than sales and bouncy castles led to some tension around the event, and the association tried various strategies to please all of Grand Old Day’s various constituencies. In recent years, Grand Old Day has attracted hundreds of thousands of attendees.