How would like to get a second shot at celebrating Easter or St. Patrick’s Day out in public?
You’ll get the chance if you get to downtown St. Cloud Saturday for its “We Missed You St. Cloud – 2020 Rewind” event.
“Really, all it is, is to reconnect the community with the downtown businesses,” said Paula Stark, president of St. Cloud Main Street, which is organizing the event.
The day will start with a ribbon cutting at St. Cloud City Hall, signifying that downtown is back open for business. It’s basically a celebration of the commerce district returning to normalcy after COVID-19 caused such an economic lockdown.
“We knew everyone was going to be challenged,” Stark said.
She added that the city had to put the “oomph” back into downtown after some stores being closed for the duration. So, St. Cloud Main Street shifted some dollars and raised some extra money to spearhead the event.
9th to 12th streets will be closed across Pennsylvania and New York avenues for the event, which will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Business storefronts will be welcoming residents with discounts and giveaways. And as an added bonus, they have all chosen holiday themes. Because the coronavirus caused the shutdown of many holiday events, the business owners can put up tents in front of their shops, and dress them up to represent the missed celebrations. They include Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, Memorial Day, Mother’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, Earth Day, graduations, birthdays and anniversaries.
“It will be kind of fun,” Stark said. “Some of them will be decorating with the theme.”
Some businesses will have entertainment, as at least one shop will have a jazz band out front.
The city of St. Cloud and Main Street also will provide helium balloons that visitors could pop to get business discounts or prizes.
Stark said visitors should be put at ease that storeowners are mindful of the coronavirus. She knows that some have sanitizers in their stores. In addition, merchants have been known to sanitize their doors when patrons leave and wear facemasks.
“They are taking precautions,” Stark said.
While a few businesses have closed during the pandemic, most of the downtown storeowners, have survived. At that could be attributed to the tight knit community of St. Cloud, Stark noted. For example, some residents frequented restaurants for takeout to help feed the less fortunate residents who needed help.
“That was a little inspiring,” Stark said.
She is also urging people to bring food items for the St. Cloud Food Pantry that has seen its resources diminish because of the effects of COVID-19.
“The need in the community has gone up 73 percent, so they are really challenged,” Stark said.
In the end, she hoped everyone would come out and have a good time.
“The biggest this is just to bring everybody together,” said Stark.