What’s what at Grand Old Day

A&E has the scoop on the bands and activities you should check out.

by Raghav Mehta

Dubbing St. PaulâÄôs annual Grand Old Day celebration a block party may be a bit of an understatement. The event, taking place Sunday, is a garish three-mile-long sprawl packing more than twenty local artists on seven stages along with sporting activities and even its own art district. For nearly four decades, the Grand Avenue Business AssociationâÄôs ever-growing Grand Old Day block party has been operating as a sort of communal philanthropy event, drawing diverse crowds while raising money for various causes and non-profit organizations within the state. This year, Grand Old Day partnered with nine local non-profits that include Free Arts Minnesota , the Minnesota AIDS Project and Veterans Initiative Centers . According to David Regan , executive director of the Grand Avenue Business Association, Grand Old Day has re-focused and returned to its roots, acting more as a fundraising event than as a drunken gathering. âÄúWe wanted to bring people back to what it was about, so we really wanted to focus on the impact weâÄôre having in the community and the great partners we have,âÄù Regan said. With music on seven different stages, Grand Old DayâÄôs entertainment district aims to hit all the right notes by drawing respected acts across the board. Green Mill Stage: Zoo Animal In light of their recently released self-titled album, Zoo Animal has gone from being a noteworthy up-and-coming act to one of MinneapolisâÄôs most promising crews of musicians. In the vein of Cat Power , singer Holly NewsomâÄôs wispy voice and lo-fi production provides a satisfying dose of serene indie-pop. City Pages Stage: Red Pens Red Pens were pretty much everyoneâÄôs favorite local act last year, but thatâÄôs not to say their blend of raucous surf rock has gotten stale. Howard Hamilton III and Laura Bennett make up this loveable duo that will surely win over unsuspecting newcomers. Rock the Cause Stage: Ari Herstand Ari HerstandâÄôs acoustic rock and beatboxing chops sound like something you might have heard on the âÄú7th HeavenâÄù soundtrack back in the day. Locally heâÄôs made it in the prettyâÄônâÄôpalatable scene that includes American Idol alumna Casey Carlson . Herstand came under the national spotlight when his music was featured on âÄúThe Real WorldâÄù and his popularity has only been growing since. Art District Hosted by Café Latte and the Walker Art Center , Grand Old DayâÄôs art district features work by local and regional artists that will be open all day. For a more engaging experience, Walker Art CenterâÄôs Open Field drawing experiment invites the public to freely collaborate with local artists. Supplies are provided and experience is not required. Sports District For the athletically inclined, the sports district provides attendees with an opportunity to participate in pick-up games with appearances by local sports teams. There will also be an early-morning yoga class and dance competition. For those looking for a little more of a rigorous Sunday morning work-out, The Sporting Life will be hosting a series of long-distance events. HereâÄôs the schedule, but make sure to register online. 7:45 a.m.: 8K inline skate 7:50 a.m.: 8K run 9:05 a.m.: ¼- and ½-mile youth run 9:15 a.m.: 5K walk/jog