Jun 11, 2021 - News

Twin Cities vendors are hungry for the return of festivals

A bridge and the skyline of Minneapolis.

The Stone Arch Bridge Festival is the first big local festival since the pandemic. Photo: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The Stone Arch Bridge Festival returns next weekend, and hundreds of artists and vendors didn't want to miss out on one of the first major gatherings in the Twin Cities since the pandemic hit.

The state of play: Event manager Sara Collins told Axios they received over 500 applications for the annual festival's 190 artist spots.

  • Stone Arch gave returning vendors priority and a blind jury scored the rest to decide who gets an invitation.

Why it matters: The Father's Day weekend festival, which was canceled in 2020, is already offering a glimpse into what event organizers are facing after a 15-month hiatus for fairs, festivals and trade shows.

  • Plus: It comes as our metro's summer festival lineup is still slow to return to what it once was. St. Paul's Grand Ole Day and the Edina Art Fair are among several that were called off due to uncertainty around restrictions and vaccination rates.

Details: The festival will have 27 food vendors, two live music stages with over 25 performances and a Father's Day Ugly Tie 5K.

  • New this year: The festival has also moved from the east side of the river to the downtown side because Father Hennepin Park is under construction and organizers needed more space, per city requirements.

What they're saying: Heather Meyers, owner of returning vendor Doodletown Toys, told Axios that Stone Arch is the first event her company has been able to attend since before the pandemic.

  • "We did things remotely, but the physical presence of being at a festival is hard to replicate on a website," she said.

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