By Katie Fraser

Minnesotans love to talk about how much they love Minnesota.

And, they love to support local Minnesota businesses.

Now, a new event is taking that to the next level by bringing together local beer, bands, food and shops in the home of all things Minnesota – the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.

On Friday, Rummage will open at the West End Market, featuring a myriad of products and exhibits for people of all ages to enjoy.

“‘Rummage’ will be a variety of goods and wares that are new, not used and that people will be excited about finding because they are from a collection of cool stores and brands,” Jeannie Kenevan, the Special Projects Manager for “Rummage,” said.

Kenevan spoke about how concept was brought to actuality, and why the localvore movement is so big in Minnesota.

So before we dive into specifics, tell me how did the idea for “Rummage” come about?

Kenevan: We, the staff of The Beer Dabbler and The Growler Magazine, put on a huge outdoor event during The St. Paul Winter Carnival. [Through that] we have gotten to know the venue (the Minnestoa State Fairgrounds). Like many in our audiences, we are parents and aunts and uncles too, so we wanted to offer an all-ages event. Beyond events, The Beer Dabbler also has a retail store and an online shopping cart for merchandise. After a while, in retail, miscellaneous seasonal inventory and oddball size quantities add up in storage bins and warehouses. Thus, we created this spin on the classic rummage sale.

As you mentioned, you have ties to the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, but why was the West End Market chosen as the location for Rummage?

Kenevan: The West End Market has permanent structures that are designed for pop-up retail shops. That, plus the centrality of the location, ease of parking and size of the space [make it the perfect spot to] accommodate the retailers and all of the guests in attendance.

There are several Minnesota brands who will be featured at the sale. How were they chosen?

Kenevan: A panel of people of different ages and genders created a list of stores and brands. We invited the retailers on that list. There is also an open invitation to retailers via our website:

That’s a great way to ensure that consumers will find something they like at the sale! Tell me, how were food vendors chosen? Is it a similar process? Can you give examples of some of the “fair-inspired” food that will be featured?

Kenevan: The Minnesota State Fair is choosing the food vendors.  The menu will be announced soon.

I can’t wait to see what will all be available! I noticed Bent Paddle Brewing Co. was the official beer partner for the event, will there be beer from other local vendors?

Kenevan: Yes. The Minnesota State Fair is also determining the beer selection and will reveal their beer menu prior to the event.

Speaking of food and beer, why did you decide to include craft beer and food from local restaurants to the event? Why not just keep it a sale?

Kenevan: People get hungry and thirsty when outside, when shopping and when listening to live music.  The venue is also very well set up for it.  Besides, with our affiliation to The Beer Dabbler we can’t not have libations. That would be like the Minnesota State Fair not offering anything on a stick for all of the people walking around at the fair.

Very true! It seems to be a natural fit both for the event and for those throwing it. So, what is it about the combination of shopping/eating/entertainment that you think will make the event a success?

Kenevan: Late September/early October in Minnesota is a time to maximize being outside. No shopping mall has this same collection of retailers nor the live music built into the experience.  This is a place for all ages to co-exist without cramming into one space.

Along that same line, there has really been an emphasis on eating local and shopping local. This event fits perfectly into that trend. Tell me, what do you think it is about the localvore movement that has made it so popular?

Kenevan: People like to be able to have a story to go with what they wear. Think of how many conversation starters go something like this, “I like your necklace. Where did you get it?” People like to have a response that gives a little more than a one or two word answer because we recognize that conversations often begin with a question or compliment. Consumers also like to feel good about their purchases; that they are supporting local artists/artisans, local economy or that they’ve bought something at a good value or from a limited quantity. Likewise, local companies love to sell to local audiences because of the opportunity to share their stories.  Buffalo plaid may never be as popular in other states as it is in the home terrain of Paul Bunyan, and furniture made from indigenous trees may not mean as much to the people of other climate zones. “Local” has something special to offer.

Rummage opens Friday, Sept. 30 and runs through Sunday, Oct. 2. Tickets cost $10 in advance or $15 at the door. Tickets are good for entry and re-entry all weekend long. Kids under 14 are free. For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit Rummage online.

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