ST. PAUL NOTES | Celebrating with Rondo, Highland, White Bear Avenue


White Bear Avenue businesses sponsor a parade on Wednesday, July 13, to kick off the Ramsey County Fair. The route runs North from Ivy Avenue to Aldrich Arena, starting at 7 p.m. The Ramsey County Fair runs from 5-11 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, from noon to midnight on Friday and Saturday, and from noon to 9:30 p.m. on Sunday at 2020 White Bear Avenue. Free admission, $3 parking, carnival rides, fireworks and much more!

On the other side of the city, Highland Fest kicks off on Friday, July 15, with two stages for music, artists, the Beer Dabbler, and “twice as many porta-potties as ever before.” Epicenter at Cleveland and Ford Parkway.

And in Rondo, the 28th Annual Rondo Days festival will be “Putting the U back in ComUNITY!” The fun starts Thursday, which is billed as senior appreciation day and also features a golf tournament. The festival is Saturday, headquartered at the Hallie Q. Brown and Martin Luther King Center, 270 N. Kent Avenue. with a parade stepping off at 10 a.m. at St. Peter Claver Church (1060 W. Central) and ending at the MLK Center. There’s something for everyone — bicyclists, runners, dancers, drill teams in “the largest African-American celebration throughout the great State of Minnesota.”

If you’re not sure what Rondo is, the website has a good explanation of the community history:

The Rondo Community was the heart of St. Paul’s largest African-American neighborhood. African-Americans whose families had lived in Minnesota for decades and others who were just arriving from the South, Chicago and St. Louis, made up this vibrant community that was in many ways independent of the white society around it. It was a place where you left your doors open – day or night. It was a place where you could scold your neighbor’s child – and quite frankly, parents expected it, and depended on it, because paramount was the raising of the child which everyone in those days knew took a community. It was a place where people took you in and looked after you – whether you needed a job, a meal or a place to stay. …

The construction of I-94 in the 1960s shattered a tight-knit community and displaced thousands of African-Americans into a racially segregated city, and a discriminatory housing market, that we weren’t ready for and that wasn’t ready for us.

Coverage of issues and events that affect Central Corridor neighborhoods and communities is funded in part by a grant from Central Corridor Collaborative.