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  • Wednesday, November 11, 2020 2:05 PM | Alyssa Olson (Administrator)

    Hennepin County is offering a new business resource platform named Elevate Business HC. Elevate Business HC is a public-private initiative that will offer pro bono services to businesses located in Hennepin County including technical assistance, peer roundtables, and webinars. The goal of Elevate Business HC is to provide resources to help re-build, re-establish and re-ignite business.  These services are provided at no cost to Hennepin County Businesses. For more information go to:

    COVID-19 winter strategies toolkit
    This toolkit aims to provide strategies for business owners and city staff to support small businesses, and help keep community members engaged, comfortable and safe throughout COVID-19 during the winter months. Hennepin County’s website provides additional toolkits on their website at:

  • Monday, October 26, 2020 1:37 PM | Alyssa Olson (Administrator)

    The Minnesota State Arts Board is offering a new grant program this year—Creative Support for Organizations—to help arts organizations adapt to the changing environment caused by the global pandemic.  Recognizing that many Minnesotans engage with the arts through community organizations and public entities that are not specifically arts organizations, the board will offer an additional Creative Support for Organizations application deadline in December that will be open to a wider spectrum of applicants.

    For the next deadline, the following additional kinds of entities will be welcome to apply: 

    • Arts affiliates of nonprofit or public institutions;
    • Nonprofit organizations whose primary mission or focus is not the arts but have an ongoing commitment to arts programming and have received an Arts Board or regional arts council grant in fiscal years 2017, 2018, 2019, or 2020.
    • Public entities with an ongoing commitment to arts programming that have received an Arts Board or regional arts council grant in fiscal years 2017, 2018, 2019, or 2020.

    Organizations that were eligible to apply in August and September, but didn’t, will still be eligible to apply.  Organizations that have been awarded a FY 2021 Creative Support for Organizations grant will not be eligible to apply for another grant.  Organizations that submitted an application in August or September, that is being reviewed by the Arts Board, will not be eligible to submit another application.  More detailed eligibility information will be available in the application materials.

    Creative Support for Organizations funds can be used to support people and activities that will be needed to keep audiences, participants, students, or communities engaged with the arts during the pandemic and beyond. This grant program aims to help Minnesota arts organizations and programs maintain their financial sustainability and long-term viability by leveraging creativity and connections to community, to ensure that the arts remain available to Minnesota residents and communities.

    Application materials will be available by early November; an announcement will be distributed when materials are available and the board will begin accepting applications.
  • Tuesday, September 15, 2020 10:46 AM | Alyssa Olson (Administrator)

    Cultural STAR Applications
    Now Open

    In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cultural STAR is providing general operations grants to Saint Paul-based arts or cultural organizations. This is intended to be a one-time emergency relief program and does not reflect a permanent change to Cultural STAR.

    Please note: 2020 Round One has been canceled, and filed applications will not be considered for capital or special project funding. 2020 Round One applicants will need to fill out a 2020 General Operating application to be considered.

    Two virtual information sessions will be held:

    If you would like any assistance or modifications to aid your participation in this activity, please contact Nora Riemenschneider at or 651-266-6638.

    2020 Cultural STAR General Operating applications are due Friday, October 2 at 4 p.m.

    New eligibility and guidelines apply. Learn more at

    Cultural STAR Board Openings

    The Cultural STAR Board reviews all applications and makes funding recommendations to the Mayor and City Council. Board members are also asked to help promote the program to arts and cultural organizations, neighborhood and business groups, and others that may be interested.

    The Cultural STAR board has three openings to fill from the following categories (one person may represent more than one category)

    • Large cultural organization representative (annual budget of over $1 million)
    • Small cultural organization representative (annual budget of $250,000 or less)
    • Saint Paul neighborhood organization representative
    • Saint Paul resident
    • At large representative

    Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis beginning September 30 until all seats are filled.

    To learn more, visit
  • Wednesday, July 29, 2020 2:17 PM | Alyssa Olson (Administrator)

    FY 2021 (July 1, 2020 - June 30, 2021)

    The coronavirus pandemic is having a profound impact on our state and on our arts community. Creative individuals and organizations can no longer make and share their work in the ways they could in the past. Minnesotans can no longer participate in many of the arts experiences they value.

    Because the environment for our work has changed, the Arts Board will redirect its grant making in FY 2021 – offering one existing program and three new pilot programs – that will help provide support for the arts community during this extremely challenging time. The programs include:


    The changes in Arts Board grant programs for this year do not represent a permanent shift in Arts Board funding. Instead, these new pilot programs are a response to COVID-19. The Arts Board is redirecting its grant making activities to offer more flexible, general support for creative individuals and organizations across the state as they work to adapt their activities and sustain their practices during the pandemic and beyond.
    The State of Minnesota is the Arts Board's primary source of revenue. The State is facing a projected deficit, so we anticipate that our funding for the year will decrease. At this point, we have not received final confirmation of our State appropriations levels for FY 2021. When we have confirmation, we will be able to determine how much money will be available in the Operating Support program and the two Creative Support programs.

    For more details about the programs and to apply, visit the Arts Board website.

  • Wednesday, June 10, 2020 12:39 PM | Alyssa Olson (Administrator)

    On November 19, 2019, Dakota County Board of Commissioners approved amendments to Dakota County Ordinance 110, Solid Waste Management, with new trash management and recycling requirements for waste industry, businesses, events, and residents. 

    County staff appreciate event representative engagement during the 2019 stakeholder engagement process.  Obtaining input and feedback allowed us to incorporate practical conditions and phased approaches. 

    This notice notifies events and event venues of the new recycling requirements that affect them.  Please share this information with your Association members that operate in the County.  For reference, here is a list of cities and townships in the county.


    Recycling Requirements.  Many events already recycle, but as event planners start to update procedures to address COVID 19, they may also need to update protocols to incorporate new recycling requirements. Owners, managers and sponsors of events, festivals and event venues (i.e., inside buildings and on grounds) will be required to:

    1. Recycle a designated list of materials following best practices. Best practices include:
    • Co-locate trash and recycling containers (within 10 feet of one another) 
    • Ensure containers are large enough and emptied frequently enough to capture all the recyclables.
    • Properly label all trash and recycling containers using standardized colors, images, and terminology according to county labeling standards.
    • Provide recycling education to event employees, housekeeping, and volunteers on proper recycling following county education requirements.
    • Submit an annual report for recycling compliance. The County will notify owners and managers when the reporting requirement goes into effect and provide a report form.
    1. In 2024, certain large events are required to collect back-of-house (from non-public areas only) food scraps.


    More information including effective dates and resources to help with compliance can be found on the County’s website (, search event recycling). 

    Please contact Jon Buck, Waste Regulation, with any questions about the new recycling requirements at or 952-891-7092.

  • Wednesday, May 27, 2020 11:00 AM | Steve Madson (Administrator)

    COVID-19 has been the largest and most severe situation that we, as festivals folks, have ever faced.   While we all try to understand how to produce an event safely in this new reality, equally important to our future is the funding.   Please join us Wednesday May 27th at 11AM for an update from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Minnesota Regional Arts Council.   While not all the answers will be known, and keeping in mind things are changing rapidly,  it's important to understand the process and plans both organizations have, and also to share our concerns as well. 

    WHAT:  Presentation by Rina Rossi, MSAB and Scott Artley, MRAC - Updates 

    WHEN:  Wednesday May 27th 11AM 

    WHERE - ZOOM -   Join Zoom Meeting

    Meeting ID: 843 7835 4121
    Password: 645236

  • Thursday, April 09, 2020 2:00 PM | Steve Madson (Administrator)

    Explore Minnesota invites you to participate in an industry-wide call about the COVID-19 crisis and the impact on tourism marketing in Minnesota.

    This call will be held Thursday, April 9, 2 p.m.

    Phone: 1-415-655-0003
    Meeting number: 969-340-876

    This call will provide you with the latest on what we have heard from the industry, how EMT is rethinking strategies and making plans for an unknown recovery, and share some ideas on how we can overcome.

    As the horizon for recovery seems to constantly change, we plan to do a series of these types of calls. This is the first one to touch base with all of you on our strategies. We will schedule another call in a few weeks from that to offer additional insights and plans to help all of you.

    It goes without saying that we are in unprecedented times. COVID-19 has impacted all of our lives and the travel and tourism industry severely.

    Like all of you, Explore Minnesota Tourism is dealing with this crisis by looking at things in a whole new way. From marketing programs, to social media, public relations messaging and events, we’re refining and reexamining every aspect of our organization to meet the crisis at hand. And we know you are, as well. But you’re not alone. By working together, sharing ideas and collaboratively rethinking our approach to tourism marketing, we will overcome this crisis facing our industry.

  • Sunday, March 29, 2020 5:33 PM | Alyssa Olson (Administrator)

    Irish Fair Logo - Color

    Press Release 

    Cindy Lerick Joins Irish Fair of Minnesota 

    Veteran Event Management Executive Sets Anchor to Minnesota to Lead Irish Fair

    St. Paul – March 19, 2020 – Irish Fair of Minnesota (IFM) announces Cindy Lerick, past board president of the International Festival and Events and executive director of several local and nationally-noted festivals and events, has joined IFM as Executive Director.  Cindy will be replacing Erin Cooper who was Executive Director for the past five Irish Fairs and announced her resignation earlier this year.  Erin and Cindy will be working together on transition through the end of March.

    Lerick’s impressive resume includes experience as executive director at Saint Louis Art Fair, Sausalito (CA) Art FaIr and the Uptown Art Fair, here in Minneapolis.  She returned to St. Paul last year to run her event consulting business.  Cindy joins IFM as several local fairs and festivals have hit the pause button in 2020 due to rising costs, market changes, and most recently with the coronavirus. 

    “We were fortunate to find Cindy here in our backyard,” said Tom Whelan, IFM’s board chair. “Someone with her experience who also already understands our market only comes around once in a blue moon, I mean once in a Guinness! We look forward to her helping take IFM to new levels.”

    The 41st Irish Fair, already St. Paul’s largest ethnic event, will take place on St. Paul’s Harriet Island beginning Friday, August 7 through Sunday, August 9.  A preview party on Thursday, August 6 kicks off the weekend.


    About Irish Fair of Minnesota
    Irish Fair of Minnesota is a 501 (c) (3) charitable nonprofit founded in 1980 to link the past, present and future of Irish culture in Minnesota. Its mission is to promote and cultivate Irish culture through music, dance and family activities to anyone who is curious about it and to preserve a rich heritage of traditions for future generations. Festival proceeds are reinvested in Minnesota’s Irish cultural community or shared with new immigrant groups through the organization’s Legacy Fund.  

  • Monday, March 09, 2020 3:21 PM | Alyssa Olson (Administrator)

    Dear MNFEA Members and MNFEA 2020 Conference Attendees,

    Ahead of this week's conference, several attendees have inquired as to whether the 2020 Conference will proceed, and after much discussion, we will be proceeding as planned.

    As of today, there are two confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Minnesota, both in the metro area. Currently, the MDH is not issuing a recommendation at this time to cancel community events such as concerts, parties, or church gatherings.

    The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) advises everyone to take the same precautions recommended for avoiding colds and flu: 

    • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. 

    • Stay home when you are sick.

    • Cover your cough.

    What is COVID-19?
    According to the MDH, coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are estimated to cause about a third of all cases of the common cold.  COVID-19 is a strand of the coronavirus causing respiratory illnesses that have not been found in people before.  Because COVID-19 is so new, there is much unknown about the virus, and currently no vaccination to prevent or cure it.

    The minute-by-minute updates can raise awareness, but can also cause anxiety and fear- not just about the virus, but about who may have it and is spreading the disease.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the most vulnerable populations are the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.

    What we know about COVID-19 in Minnesota
    As I mentioned earlier, there are two confirmed cases of the COVID-19 in Minnesota. According to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), both cases are travel-related. The first case was confirmed to have, “no community exposure concerns” meaning the person self-quarantined to prevent any spread of the virus. They were reported to be “stable, at home, and doing well.” The second case is still under investigation for any potential spread.

    What is MNFEA advising? 

    1. We are asking attendees, panelists and others that have registered for the Conference to stay home if you feel even the most minor imbalance in your health. Regardless of any potential exposure to COVID-19, the best way not to spread any illnesses including the flu and cold, is to stay home, cover your coughs, and wash your hands.

    2. The Holiday Inn will be keeping the hotel and conference surfaces clean. COVID-19 can survive on surfaces for up to 9 days, so it is extremely important to disinfect all surfaces often.

    3. We have hand sanitizer available and you’re welcome to bring your own.

    Please continue to take care of yourselves and each other. Thanks again for registering for Conference and we’ll see you later this week.

    Best Regards,

    Steve Madson, MNFEA President

  • Thursday, March 05, 2020 11:37 PM | Alyssa Olson (Administrator)

    minnesota department of health

    The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) are beginning a rulemaking process to amend the Minnesota Food Code (Code) Minnesota Rules, Chapter 4626, revisor’s ID Number R-4601. We are considering rule amendments that will correct errors, omissions and unclear language in the current Code, bring the Code up to date and in substantial compliance with the 2017 United States Food and Drug Administration Code and time permitting, address other related items that may surface during the rulemaking process.

    Your comments wanted

    Licensed retail food establishment owners, operators and workers, certified food protection managers and trainers, local units of government delegated to administer the state food safety program, and food scientists may be affected by these amendments.

    The departments have not yet drafted any proposed rule amendments. There will be several opportunities for public comment and input on this rule project. At this stage, we do not have a complete draft rule; we want your feedback to inform us about the ideas you have about the Code. If you have ideas or data related to this rulemaking that we need to consider, please submit them in writing. Submitting your ideas and information at this early stage in rulemaking allows us more time to address issues that may come up, and helps to ensure informed decision-making on our part.

    How to comment

    Anyone may submit comments or information on the current Code or possible rule amendments in writing or orally until further notice is published in the State Register that the departments intend to adopt or to withdraw the rules. The departments will not publish a notice of intent to adopt the rules until more than 60 days have elapsed from the date of this request for comments.

    We plan to appoint an advisory committee to review and comment on the possible rules. If you are interested in serving on the committee or would like to suggest a possible member, please contact the department contact person listed below.

    Written or oral comments, questions, requests to receive a draft of the rule amendments when it has been prepared, and requests for more information on these possible rule amendments should be directed to:

    Linda D. Prail, FPLS Rulemaking Coordinator

    Food, Pools, and Lodging Services Section

    Environmental Health Division

    P.O. 64975

    St. Paul, MN 55164-0975

    Office: 651-201-5792


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