I live two blocks from Grand Avenue in St. Paul. This means nothing to you unless you are from Minnesota and either live in the Twin Cities or come to “The Cities” for shopping.
Well Grand Avenue is St. Paul’s urban shopping and restaurant district, it’s near all of the colleges, and frankly it’s where all of the cool people live. I used to be one of those cool people.
On the first Sunday of June each year Grand Avenue hosts the largest street party in the Midwest. Like 250,000 people large.
After my birthday, it’s probably my favorite day of the year. It used to be my favorite day because of the beer, the bands and the shirtless men. Now it’s my favorite day because I don’t have to find a parking place.
In the 90′s I’d only attend the ‘entertainment/music/bar’ area and would stand in line to get a wristband, admire tattoos, flirt with cute shirtless guys who would buy my beer, and try not to get trampled while dancing to our favorite bands.
Now I only attend the ‘clown/pony/face-painting” area that serves lemonade and mini donuts and I watch my kids getting trampled in bouncy houses, dance to some teddy bear band of sorts, and spend $5 on glitter tattoos.
It’s kind of just like the beer area but everyone is much shorter and the dads keep their shirts on(thank god), and the only urine smell is coming from over-soaked diapers.
I ran into an old neighbor who was at a big house party on Grand enjoying the day and having a few beers. He has three daughters – now all grown. I used to spot him 15 years ago on this day as I was walking to the party area and he was pushing a stroller walking in the opposite direction towards the clowns.
Now roles reversed again. And he kind of laughed at me as he said “have fun in the kiddie area!”
And I told him that there was no other place that I’d rather be right now.
Are you happy with your ‘right now?’