By Adam Duxter

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Hundreds visited the area of Lake and Hennepin in Uptown Minneapolis Saturday, for one of the first block parties since the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Spring into Uptown” featured live music, shopping and eating – with an emphasis on culture.

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“Uptown is a destination and place where people hang around together, ” said Karawan “Yin” Muangmode, general manager at Amazing Thailand on Hennepin. “We need this. We need everyone to reconnect. We need to use the food, the art, the culture, that we can bring and come up together.”

Thai Monks and traditional dancers punctuated Saturday’s event, while other facets and vendors highlighted Ukrainian, Columbian, Korean, Native American, and Nepali cultures.

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“It’s super interesting, the kind of people we have involved in the city,” said artist Rock Johnson. “The perk of living in a city is that it’s a lot more inclusive and the more people of varied backgrounds you meet, the more you understand that everyone is kind of the same.”

Muangmode says the festival offered a chance to heal as a community, following shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic and riots that lasted through portions of 2020.

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“It’s been a hurting, but let this be a healing, a healing festival,” she said.

Adam Duxter