ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — The Eagles aren’t the only winners to come out of Super Bowl LII.
About a million visitors came to town for the week of events leading up to the big game. Minneapolis was buzzing with people filling up Nicollet Mall for that free 10-day festival.
But St. Paul also had a huge week. The city may not have hosted the game, but it got a lot of attention too.
Clean-up is underway in Rice Park after a record-setting Winter Carnival. Kathy Bjerke is co-chair of the event and she says it was the best carnival ever.
“We made St. Paul shine,” Bjerke said.
It was a record crowd, double a normal year. It’s estimated 500,000 bundled up and filed into Rice Park for a 132-year tradition that was stretched from 10 days to 17 to coincide with the big game across the river.
“ESPN coverage, we had somebody in from Mexico, I think we had somebody here from Australia, the LA Times just nationally and internationally because it’s so unique, not everybody does this,” Bjerke said.
And that was the hope, that Super Bowl visitors would visit St. Paul too.
Adam Johnson with Visit Saint Paul helped make it happen.
“We had programs that highlighted our attractions like the Children’s Museum, the Science Museum. We built new things like the ice palace and the super-size slide at CHS to really have some tried and true things but also to build some new for this crowd that we knew was coming, and they came in droves,” Johnson said.
And there were some very familiar faces. Justin Timberlake even shopped at a St. Paul Target.
“Obviously a lot of the people in this area utilize that Target and to have JT do his big Target run before his big show was awesome,” Johnson said.
In fact, many of the celebrity sightings happened east of the Mississippi River.
“Our hotels named a number of celebrities, whether it was JT or Sting, a lot of the musical acts were here in St Paul,” Johnson said.
Proving to the world that even when cities are twins, they can still have very unique personalities.
And St. Paul will have another chance to show off. Next year, Minneapolis will host the NCAA Final Four and they are coming up with new ways to make sure that people once again, cross the river.