MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — COVID-19 took a lot of the fun away from Minnesota’s summer festivals the past two year, including Cinco de Mayo celebrations in the Twin Cities.

And while there’s plenty of ways to celebrate this weekend, St. Paul Cinco de Mayo festivities are scaled back. At El Burrito Mercado in St. Paul, it’s drink specials, plenty of food and lots of fellowship starting on Thursday.

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“I know at least in our community here on the West Side, the businesses are all doing their own thing, and it’s a great time to get out and support Mexican and Latino-owned businesses in the Twin Cities and across the country,” said El Burrito Mercado’s Milissa Silva. “We have a DJ from 5-8 p.m., looks like the weather is going to be nice so we can set it up outside.”

But it’s not just Cinco de Mayo. Minnesota’s social calendar is heating up this spring and summer.

“We’ve got the 40th anniversary of the Twin Cities Marathon, 50th anniversary of Twin Cities Pride. It’s the 50th anniversary of Water Ski Days in Lake City,” said Lauren Bennett McGinty, executive director of Explore Minnesota Tourism.

(credit: CBS)

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While some events like the Minnesota State Fair returned in 2021, they were scaled back. Explore Minnesota Tourism says the fair is anticipating more visitors this year, and is adding more vendors, as many are eager to come back in full force.

“Of the people we surveyed, 89% of them who are Minnesota residents are saying we’re hitting the road,” McGinty said.

Twin Cities Pride will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a full festival weekend in Minneapolis’s Loring Park, complete with the Hennepin Avenue March and a concert at The Armory headlined by Carly Rae Jepsen.

“Our community is so like excited to get together,” said Felix Foster, board chair of Twin Cities Pride. “We’re expecting a really big turnout this year. We’ve got a lot of vendors signed up already, the park’s gonna be full. We’re super excited to invite people back.”

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And after a two-year hiatus, Rock the Garden will return to the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.

Erin Hassanzadeh