ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — If you’re looking for something to do Sunday, why not head to Grand Avenue in St. Paul for the 41st Grand Old Day!

It’s the biggest one-day festival in the Midwest, according to Sue Evens of the Grand Avenue Business Association.

“We’ve got a little bit of something for everyone,” Evens said.

First, there’s a parade at 9:30 am. with 250,000 spectators. You’ll want to get there early for seats. And come hungry to sample the more than 200 food vendors – one of which is celebrating a big milestone.

“Grand Old Day is the day we opened 30 years ago,” said Gary Huffman of Grand Ole Creamery.

The ice cream shop is housed in a 100-year-old building that used to sell box lunches. It has had its share of local celebrities over the years – and even one world leader.

Mikhail Gorbachev just happened to be in town the same day as Grand Old Day in 1990.

“He stopped in and we had the security, we had to almost close the store down to get him here, but it was a wonderful visit,” Huffman said.

Gorbachev had raspberry ice cream, which Huffman says had little connection to the famous raspberry-like birthmark on his head. But Gorby will be missing out on something new this year.

“This year we’re partnering with the Irish Fair of Minnesota and we have an Irish fair stage,” Evens said.

Along with performances by O’Shea Irish Dancers, expect to find plenty Irish food and live music.

“Expect to see three fantastic bands,” said Michael Gibbons of the Irish Fair. “We’ve got The Sweet Colleens starting at noon, they’re gonna be followed by The Tim Malloys and after them is the Wild Colonial Bhoys.”

So whether you come for the Irish or the ice cream, there’s something for everyone at Grand Old Day, rain or shine.

“We’re not afraid of a little rain showers here at Grand Old Day,” Evens said. “We’ll be here either way.”

If you’re concerned about parking, Metro Transit is providing free transportation to and from the festival all day.


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