Rain or shine, St Paul has been enjoying Grand Old Day on the first Sunday in June for 41 years. While the big storm held off, 2014 certainly qualifies as a rainy year. The crowd seemed thinner this year, but cooler weather and lighter crowds made it easier to move around and see what was happening.
The big day starts with a parade that heads west from Dale at 9:30 am and the fun continues until 6:00 pm. Five main stages feature a lineup of popular local acts such as Chastity Brown, Charlie Parr, White Iron Band, Black Diet and Central High School graduates Heiruspecs. The only bummer for music loving families is that you can’t get near the bands without a bracelet for 21+. The bracelet is $8 and helps pay for the bands, which is a good way to keep Grand Old Day free, but it does leave the under-21s out in the street and away from the stages.
Speaking of under-21s, there is a kids’ area near Ramsey Junior High. There weren’t as many attractions this year, perhaps because of the rain. The School of Rock also hosts a stage near Grand and Snelling. It’s a great opportunity for young musicians to perform and for young audiences to appreciate them. A general rule of thumb if you’re traveling with kids, keep west of Victoria. Or the flip side of the coin, if you’re there for a few beers and beats, keep east of Billy’s.
For everyone, the Avenue offers a smorgasbord of food options, chances to learn about the community through a wide range of hosted booths (from Saints Baseball to Minnesota Transit) and plenty of people watching.