St. Paul's Highland Fest has been canceled, never to return

The Highland Business Association voted to pull the plug.
Publish date:

A 36-year St. Paul tradition is officially at an end. 

On Friday, organizers of Highland Fest — an annual summer event in St. Paul's Highland Park neighborhood — announced its cancelation. 

The decision affects not only Highland Fest 2020, which would have taken place July 17-20, but also the future of the festival.

In other words, Highland Fest is canceled for good. 

The Highland Business Association, which has put on the event "every year for the past 35+ years," explained their decision in a press release that you can read below:

As the association explains, the festival was facing "significant increases in expenditures" over police and security costs from St. Paul, and was also hurt by "the inability to receive Cultural STAR funds this year," referencing a city grant program designed to promote local arts and culture. 

In the end, it was decided that continuing to hold the event was a "significant financial risk" that would take away from the association's overall mission of supporting local business owners.

Speaking to the Pioneer Press about the source of rising costs, organizers cite a new city policy requiring local events to pay police for overtime — which would "nearly triple security costs for the festival from $9,000 to $25,000."

Additionally, they tell the paper, Highland Fest has gotten so big that it's "burning out the business owners that run it," with some spending as much as six months working on it. 

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