“That ain’t Lake Minnetonka,” Prince famously said to Apollonia after she “purified herself” in Purple Rain. He wasn’t lying: it was a section of the Minnesota River in the small town of Henderson, about 50 miles southwest of Minneapolis.
For years, the exact spot where the iconic scene was filmed was hard to find. After talking with Apollonia about her experience shooting the scene, The Current’s Andrea Swensson paid a visit in 2016. A couple of years later, the town started celebrating its Purple heritage in a big way with a party and a permanent mural. The celebration continued last year, and this year the town of 914 is kicking it up a notch with plans to unveil a bronze statue of Prince holding his Cloud guitar.
A crowdfunding campaign has raised over $30,000 of a $40,000 goal, according to a Facebook page promoting the “Prince Legacy Henderson Project.” Moses Suriel, the artist who painted Henderson’s mural, is creating the statue, which sees Prince rocking a ’90s look rather than one of his Purple Rain outfits. The statue is scheduled to be unveiled by a “special guest” at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 7. Doves will be released, and singer-songwriter Johnny Rogers will perform his original song “The Purple One.”
The unveiling is part of Henderson’s third annual “Prince Celebration,” which has consistently been held in early June; this year’s event was announced before Paisley Park shared plans to move its own Celebration back to June from its past spring slot. The celebration will also include tours of the filming site, an Allen Beaulieu book signing, and other activities.
The statue will become one of the rare Minnesota statues depicting a musician; a 2013 effort to raise funds for a Bob Dylan statue in Duluth fizzled, with a considerably more ambitious goal of $159,000. According to Suriel, “the Prince bronze statue is looking beautiful!”