Taste of Minnesota still owes big money

How to run a beloved festival into the ground.
How to run a beloved festival into the ground.

Those $30 tickets are looking like a worse and worse idea all the time.

There was plenty of skepticism when entrance fees were jacked up for the Taste of Minnesota festival in St. Paul, which had been free for 26 years before the new organizers started charging admission last year.

It now appears that skepticism was well founded: Attendance for the July event was so low at  that six weeks later, the organizers still owe vendors more than $135,000. Gass Lemonade and the 5-8 Grill are among the vendors owed upward of $10,000 each.

The festival also owes the city of St. Paul more than $110,000, mostly for police staffing. That bill won't be overdue until early next month, so it's still up in the air whether the city will be left holding the bag.

Organizer Andy Faris told KSTP he's got some potential investors interested, but he "can't predict what the outcome will be."

Here's an outcome prediction: Taste of Minnesota will change its preposterous business model or it will die a lonesome and poorly attended death.

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