Taste of Minnesota organizer ponders next location – if festival comes back


The relaunched Taste of Minnesota was forced to move from St. Paul's Harriet Island this summer due to flooding. But if the event comes back next year, a return to the city isn't a guarantee.

The organizer of the Taste, Linda Maddox, tells the Pioneer Press that while St. Paul has always been the home for the event, she and other organizers have "a lot to talk about and a lot to think about" following the success at its temporary home in Waconia this past weekend

"I feel like we're going to do it again, I just don't know where," Maddox told the newspaper.

Maddox didn't have final figures for Taste of Minnesota yet, which set up shop at the Carver County Fairgrounds, but she told the Pioneer Press she expects it to turn a profit this year. She also estimates that about 100,000 people attended the four-day fair.

If Maddox wants to move the festival to Waconia, she already appears to have the approval of the city's mayor, Jim Nash – who said the festival had an immediate impact on local businesses.

Nash told KSTP as he was giving a welcome speech at the beginning of festival, "I apologized to Mayor Coleman in St. Paul because we intend to take his festival. So I would say the community is very interested in keeping Taste of Minnesota here.”

Linda Maddox's husband, Ron, founded Taste of Minnesota as a free event on the State Capitol Grounds in 1983 – which eventually relocated to Harriet Island in St. Paul – and ran the festival until 2008.

Taste of Minnesota came to an end in 2010 when the new owners filed for bankruptcy. Three years later, Linda Maddox – stepping in for her husband, who also died in 2010 – revived the festival.

This year's Taste of Minnesota featured 24 food and beverage vendors and 29 musical acts, including Starship featuring Mickey Thomas, and Soul Asylum.

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