There was a collective gasp heard around the Twin Cities yesterday when the Grand Avenue Business Association made a vague and audacious claim that there would be no Grand Old Day this year in order to make for a better party next year. Now, several Grand Avenue businesses are responding with their own party - a pub crawl stretching from Lexington to Dale that plans to poke a little fun at the institution. The new party began when two heroic Saint Paul residents began an event page on Facebook called, “Grand Old Day, Anyway.” People immediately signed up without any word on what exactly that meant.
Now we know, Grand Old Day, Anyway will be a pub crawl along the notable stretch beginning at the Lexington and going through Tavern on Grand, with likely many more businesses joining in. The $25 ticket price gets attendees a t-shirt, a first Summit tap free, $4 subsequent Summits and a map of participating businesses. A vintage fire truck will be on site to shuttle those interested for an additional $25 tickets.
Grand Old Day is traditionally a day (or sometimes days) filled with outdoor festivities along a stretch of street in Saint Paul. Visit Saint Paul bills it as the city’s first act of summer, and boasts its status as the largest one-day festival in the Midwest. Historically, the street is shut down, the day begins with a parade and goes into the early evening with beer gardens, live music, plenty of food vendors and more. It seems the grand scope of the original day became unwieldily, and unprofitable.
In a post that has had 327 comments and 247 shares the non-profit that runs the Grand Avenue Business Association said, “It was a difficult and unanimous decision but one that the board of directors made to keep the event fresh for 2020.” It then directed people to an incorrect phone number to call about the decision. Commenters noted the loss of 4th of July fireworks last year, and now this cancellation felt like the city is prepared to quit celebrating summer, aka the only decent season we can count on to show up with reasonable regularity.
More details about the event will be shared soon, but the good news is that we are Game On! for summer 2019.