ST. PAUL, Minn. - Consider it the summer festival equivalent of comfort food.
Three years after it disappeared under a wave of red ink St. Paul's long-running A Taste of Minnesota festival is bracing for a return to Harriet Island.
The official announcement will be made Thursday morning but the comeback story has been in the works for a while. Linda Maddox, widow of Taste of Minnesota founder Ron Maddox, is prepping to bring it back as a free, or mostly-free festival that will run over the July 4 weekend, just as it began.
"We are thrilled to be back at work doing what we do best," said Linda Maddox, general manager of A Taste of Minnesota. "I am reunited with a wonderful team with a history of running a successful event for Minnesotans. We plan on having the festival in Saint Paul for many years to come."
Along with her late husband Ron, Linda Maddox successfully managed A Taste of Minnesota from 1996-2008. Ron co-founded the event in 1983. Their mission was to provide a fun family event for people who stay in the Twin Cities for the Fourth of July weekend.
During those years, the event drew more than 200,000 people annually, making it the largest free festival in Minnesota.
"The original team behind A Taste of Minnesota has lot of integrity, and I couldn't be happier that they're bringing it back," said Saint Paul City Councilmember Dave Thune. "This is very exciting news for our state and the thousands of Minnesotans who have such fond memories of the festival."
Taste of Minnesota began in 1983, a festival that mixed food and an eclectic mix of music. It was free until 2010, when new owners decided to charge an entry free of $20, or $30 after 4 p.m. Big name headliners graced the main stage, but crowds did not come; Organizers declared bankruptcy and the fest remained dormant until now.
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