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2009 Taste of Minnesota – 4th of July Weekend

Submitted by on June 30, 2009 – 10:27 AM2 Comments
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Taste09_logoSaint Paul, MN – Harriet Island will be home to the 2009 Taste of Minnesota from July 2-5. Founded by Ron Maddox, the festival will be entering its 27th year of festivities including a consortium of bands, food and celebratory activities intended to commemorate the anniversary of the declaration of independence. Current owner Dan Hare describes it as a cost-effective celebration “for folks who don’t have the luxury to travel” over the holiday weekend.

“If you ask 10 people who walk into the gates [what they’re there to see], you’ll get 8 different answers,” Hare said. Twenty bands are expected to take stage over the course of four days, including Stained, Chevelle, Judas Priest, Elvis Costello, and Kate Voegele. There will be over thirty food vendors, such as Shrimp Shack, Willingham’s BBQ and Northwood Steak Buffett. Starting at 10 PM, a local news station will announce a fireworks show. This event has gained national recognition by USA Today. For children, parents can count on a petting zoo, pony rides, and face painting, amongst other attractions.

QuoteThe Taste of Minnesota has two beer sponsors this year, Grain Belt Beer and August Schell Brewing Company. This is the first year that either brewery has sponsored the event. Ed Schumacher, manager of Sales at Schell, was initially concerned about being part of the tasting because of the particularly growing presence of troublemakers. “I expressed my concern over what happened to the event over the last ten years,” Schumacher said. However, he says he is  optimistic now that there will be an entrance fee.

Historically, Taste of Minnesota has been free to attend. This year the entrance fee is $10. This charge only applies to adults who enter the event after 3 PM, and in exchange attendees receive a $10 voucher for food and beverages.

Schumacher said he hopes hopes Grain Belt Beer and Schell will continue to act as sponsors in the future. “It was very important to offer [sponsorship] opportunities to as many local companies as possible,” he said. “I’m glad it’s a Minnesota festival and Minnesota beer.”

About August Schell Brewing Company

Schell, located in New Ulm, MN, was founded by August Schell, a German who immigrated to America in 1848. He helped start a small brewery in 1860, eventually turning it into a family owned and operated business. It was one of few breweries to survive Prohibition, due in large part to keeping its machinery running by producing “near beer,” soft drinks, and candy.

About Grain Belt Beer

Grain Belt Beer started production in 1893, when the company was named after the geographical area of the country in the Northeast of Minnesota known as “America’s Grain Belt.” Also a family business, it too had the good fortune of surviving the dark days of Prohibition. Like Schell, it switched operations to near beer and soda until it finally resumed brewing after 14 years. Despite growing to be a dominate player in the area’s brewing industry, Grain Belt eventually found itself bankrupt and in danger of going under. But in 2002, Schell bought the company and was able to keep it operating in Minnesota. And in July, both breweries will again join forces to help provide denizens of the area with a festival to help celebrate their local businesses and the coming summer.