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Flooding won’t swamp Taste of Minnesota relaunch

Linda Maddox faced an uphill battle in relaunching Taste of Minnesota, the free festival her late husband, Ron, ran from 1983 to 2008. The folks who bought Taste from Maddox went bankrupt after two years and St. Paul’s Fourth of July weekend celebration disappeared for three summers.

Linda Maddox was poised to bring Taste back.

Then, less than two weeks before Taste was set to relaunch on its longtime home of Harriet Island in downtown St. Paul, flooding forced Maddox and her staff into a scramble to find a new location on short notice. They looked at more than a dozen possibilities and fielded a stream of suggestions from festival fans before Taste moved more than 40 miles west to the Carver County Fairgrounds in Waconia.

“I think we will lose some of our regulars, no doubt,” she said. “But I think we’ll gain a lot of people who’ve never been before.”

Beyond the change of address, Taste of Minnesota will offer pretty much everything planned for Harriet Island, including two stages of live music each day, the KidZone area and nightly fireworks. Three food vendors have pulled out due to the venue change, but 27 remain on board. Choices include St. Paul restaurants such as El Burrito Mercado and Bennett’s Chop and Railhouse, a stand featuring food options served at Target Field, local food trucks and numerous deep-fried options.

Parking is free on the streets around the fairgrounds, and the Taste crew has organized shuttles.

If you go What: The revived Taste of Minnesota

When: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. today-Sunday

Where: Carver County Fairgrounds, 501 Third St. W., Waconia

Admission: Free until 3 p.m., then $10 (which includes $5 in food/beverage tickets)

Information: (651) 224-3228 or

Live music schedule July 3: The Undergroove (2 p.m.), Owl featuring Chris Wyse (2:30), Corey Stevens (4:30), Tim Mahoney (4:30), Tina and the B-Sides (6:30) and Soul Asylum (8:30).

July 4: Backseat Boogie Band (11:30 a.m.), Vic Tedesco (noon), Electric Eye (2 p.m.), Cowboy Mouth (2:30), New Primitives (4:30), Badfinger featuring Joey Molland (4:30), Marshall Tucker Band (6:30) and Starship featuring Mickey Thomas (8:30).

July 5: Oddfathers (11:30 a.m.), Flamin’ Oh’s (2 p.m.), Crow (2:30), Ipso Facto (4:30), Gypsy (4:30), Cinderella’s Tom Keifer (6:30), Halestorm (8:30).

July 6: The Castaways (11:30 a.m.), Free Fallin’ (2 p.m.), Maiden Dixie (2:30), Arch Allies (4:30), Devon Worley Band (4:30), Tim Sigler Band (6:30), Joe Nichols (8:30).