With the Main Street project nearing completion, the downtown Blue Earth businesses are ready to celebrate finally having access to the fronts of their businesses after a summer of construction out front.
And, they plan on doing it up big with a day-long celebration on Saturday, Oct. 15. Not coincidentally, that is the exact date the work is supposed to be completed by.
“We hope it is done by then,” says one of the organizers, John Oswald of Oswald’s Brewery. “But even if it isn’t, it should at least be close.”
The event is being called Complete Street Fall Festival.
“We wanted to celebrate the end of all the construction work and the new look of downtown,” Oswald says. “And we want to thank all of our customers for their support all summer and still coming to our businesses, despite all the inconvenience.”
The day is going to start in the morning with a pancake breakfast and end at night with two band concerts and a whole lot of activity in between.
Some of the many events include:
Opening ceremony at the Senior Center at 7:45 a.m. with Chris’s Cakes Breakfast there from 8-11 a.m.
There will be plenty of games and things to do for children and adults both,
including: balloon art (11 a.m.-3 p.m.) face painting and crazy hair (12-2 p.m.), tug-o-war, bean bag tournament (12 noon signup), bean counting contest, hot dog eating contest (12:30 p.m.) and bouncy houses all day.
The new downtown mural will be dedicated at 2 p.m. by the Blue Earth Community Foundation.
There will be an official ribbon cutting ceremony at 3 p.m. near the Sixth and Main intersection, sponsored by the Blue Earth Chamber of Commerce.
The Blue Earth Area High School Choir will preform at 3:30 p.m.
Two bands will perform: “Beyond Blue” from 4-7 p.m. and “Power House” from 7-10 p.m.
Oswald says the whole idea was concocted over coffee at Ankeny’s Coffee Shop. He and Bruce Ankeny started talking about ways to celebrate the completion of the summer-long construction project.
“Bruce took the idea to the Business Improvement Committee (BIC),” Oswald explains. “And, they liked it, and then a sub-committee was formed to take care of all the details.”
Next was funding the project. The committee received $6,000 from the city, $1,000 from Holtmeier Construction (the company which did the work), a donation from Bolton & Menk Engineers and from the BIC group itself.
“We have also had a lot of businesses step up and are donating things to it, or sponsoring some of the events,” Oswald says.
The whole idea was to keep the event free, the committee members stressed.
“There will be a charge for the pancake breakfast and the Legion’s regular supper that evening, of course,” says Lissia Laehn, of Heartland Embroidery and one of the committee members. “But everything else is free all the games, the bands, all of it.”
It is their way of thanking the many people who have supported all of the businesses in Blue Earth all summer long, they explain.
“While the construction crews have worked hard to keep access open most of the time to our front doors, it will be great to have the street done and finally open again,” Laehn says. “It’s time to celebrate.”