MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Up and down the Nicollet Mall, Super Bowl Live is filled with can’t-miss fun.
The 10-day event spans six blocks, featuring dozens of activities, food tents and trucks, and shops.
“Don’t miss the ice carving, the XLII carving. That was great,” said Pam MacDonald of Little Canada.
“Super convenient, everything is laid out well to get around,” described Mary Hofland of River Falls, Wis.
Then there’s what you can’t miss even if you tried, like the giant blow-up Paul Bunyan and Babe outside the WCCO-TV studio, volunteers around every corner and the variety of security measures.
“I mean you don’t see men with machine guns every day,” said Cathleen Chelminiak of Eden Prairie.
Seconds earlier, children posed for a picture sheriff’s deputies wearing tactical gear, similar to a SWAT member.
Nearby, a group of Minneapolis police officers walked past. National Guard members and their Humvees were helping direct traffic another block away.
In a matter of minutes on one street corner, we saw several police dogs sniffing around for anything suspicious.
“Personally I was happy,” said Chelminiak. “I think it means that they are out here, they mean business.”
“It’s too bad they have to do it but I’m glad they’re here,” said MacDonald.
Simply walking near the IDS Center can result in a security check. People must open their jackets and bags, even get a pat down just to continue down the sidewalk.
We saw a similar check point inside the Dayton Building as people tried to use an escalator. Taking security seriously and to a level possibly never seen in Minneapolis shouldn’t be a surprise, given the magnitude of the Super Bowl and the amount of people it attracts each year.
“Unfortunately that’s the way we kinda do things but I’d rather go through that and be safe,” said Hofland.
What people can’t see are the police officers, FBI personnel and other government agencies monitoring the surveillance cameras hovering above in downtown Minneapolis. With the boots on the grounds, it all adds up to hundreds eyes watching over the 10-day party.
“They’re gonna make sure nothing’s going on and it make me feel safe to bring my kids down,” said Chelminiak.