The St. Paul Rivercentre was filled with celebrities last night as they walked the red carpet prior to the Starkey Hearing Foundation's annual So the World May Hear gala. Whether celebs were Minnesota natives or just visiting for the weekend, they all had plenty of love for the land of 10,000 lakes.
Actress Katie Leclerc visited Minnesota for the first time over the weekend, and loved the Mall of America.
"It's my first time here and I love it," she says. "We went for a run this morning in the city and went to see the Mall of America. I've wanted to see the Mall of America since I was seven years old, so it was literally a dream come true. It's enormous. It's awesome."
Jerome Felton of the Minnesota Vikings likes Stella's Fish Café & Prestige Oyster Bar.
"I do like going to Stella's in Uptown -- they have the best calamari," he says.
For Minnesota Timberwolves player Ronny Turiaf, Minneapolis is the place to go for great food.
"Bar La Grassa is probably the best restaurant for me," Turiaf says. "Smack Shack if I want to get a little seafood, and Uptown Tavern for breakfast."
Actors and brothers Kyle and Chris Massey don't typically have time to enjoy all the great things Minnesota has to offer, but Chris had a chance to eat out during his most recent trip to the Twin Cities.
"A few of us went to CRAVE last night. I liked it. I love Minneapolis. That was really my first time going out so it was cool," he says.
"I stayed at the Saint Paul Hotel," Kyle adds. "The hotel is awesome. I love St. Paul. The city is really relaxed. I actually did some research; we were trying to pull into the hotel, and there was this train blocking the entrance. So we Googled where the longest train is, and obviously it's St. Paul, Minnesota: 11.6 miles of train."
Jack Brewer, former safety for the Minnesota Vikings, says there is a lot to love about Minnesota.
"I went to the University of Minnesota so I'm a little biased. I think Minnesota has the best steakhouse in the world. I think Manny's Steakhouse is the most incredible place to eat," he says. "I also think we have some of the nicest hotels here -- the Grand Hotel, and I also like the Graves. There's a lot of great things to do in Minnesota, but you can't come to Minnesota without enjoying the lakes -- boating, fishing, the clean lake water of Minnesota -- all those things I really enjoy so I try to spend a lot of my summers here. "
During summer months, actor James Denton can be found at Valleyfair with his family.
"Our daughter loves Valleyfair so we spend a lot of time there -- that's local flavor. You can tell we're parents," he laughs.
Former Vikings player Robert Griffith loves getting outside during the winter months.
"I love snowmobiling. I go up to Mille Lacs and snowmobile with Steve Jordan, Darrin Nelson, and Carl Lee. Those are my guys. Every year we go up and do that so that's what I miss," he says. "I love to ski and I love the snow."
Olympic swimmer Ed Moses's favorite memory in Minnesota was ice fishing with Adrian Peterson.
"Probably the coolest thing I've done in Minnesota was Adrian Peterson's Blizzard Blitz Event. We went ice fishing and that was pretty cool," he says. "I never realized that the ice is like 24 inches thick and they have cars and trucks and houses on the ice. I'm like, 'Are you guys sure this is going hold up? There are huge trucks coming out.' I wasn't any good at ice fishing, not a lot of fish were biting. I was able to drill the hole though. I went snow tubing too and that was pretty cool."
Actor Patrick Warburton says his favorite memory in Minnesota was shooting a film a while back.
"I was here years ago. I shot a film called Joe Somebody with Tim Allen where I had to smack him around. I felt bad about that. I had to hit him in a parking lot in front of his child. What a mean guy. I might have enjoyed it a little bit," he says.
Musician Sammy Hagar, formerly of Van Halen and currently of Chickenfoot, has a favorite memory from a show in St. Paul.
"I've played here many times," he says. "I remember one time Van Halen played here, and the Buddhist monks were in town, and we had that song 'The Seventh Seal' that had the Buddhist monks in the front of it. We got them to come onstage and they did it and when we came they didn't want to leave. They were having the time of their lives."
While attendees shared loved for Minnesota, they also showed their support for the Starkey Hearing Foundation's mission.
"Tonight is so important to the Starkey Hearing Foundation because it brings a lot of good people together with the same hearts who want to respect life and have a better future for our world. We can work on that together," Bill Austin, founder of Starkey Hearing Foundation and CEO and founder of Starkey Hearing Technologies, says.
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