Eat Street hosts food, music and arts festival Saturday

The Bad Waitress will serve pancakes on the street during the first-ever festival Sept. 15.
The Bad Waitress will serve pancakes on the street during the first-ever festival Sept. 15.

Glam Doll Donuts will install a celebrity dunk tank on Eat Street Sept. 15, dunking musician Mark Mallman and others as part of the inaugural Eat Street Food, Music & Arts Festival.

Nicollet Avenue will close to cars from 25th-27th streets, with a stage going up near 25th and kids’ activities near 27th.

“People are able to walk around and get an introduction to some restaurants they haven’t been into,” said Whittier Alliance Executive Director Kaley Brown, explaining that many shops will set up right outside their doors.

The Bad Waitress will flip pancakes on the street; The Copper Hen and Pimento Jamaican Kitchen will expand sidewalk service; and the Icehouse, Eat Street Social and Black Forest Inn will host beverage gardens.

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Onstage performances starting at 1 p.m. include salsa group Malamanya, McNasty Brass Band, Madison McFerrin and headliner HALEY. b. Resale will curate a fashion show featuring DJ Keezy. Additional performers include the CAAM Chinese Dance Theater, the Somali Museum of Minnesota’s Dance Troupe and the traditional Aztec dance group Elohuayotl Mitotiani.

The Eat Street brand marked a 20th anniversary last year, and the Hennepin History Museum will display a portion of its anniversary exhibit.

A fun zone for kids will showcase the Minneapolis Institute of Art’s mobile Mia art cart, which functions as an art studio on a bike trailer. Kids can also build with Snapology, try button and book-making with the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and participate in other activities organized by the City of Lakes Waldorf School.

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Staff at the Whittier Alliance said the event would help bring exposure to neighborhood businesses, many of which are owned by immigrants and people of color. The event comes at a key time, Brown said, as the 26th Street bridge is closed this summer during 35W construction.

“We know that a lot of people are hurting because of the construction closure,” Brown said. “Our hope is to remind people that we’re over here, and we have a lot to offer.”

A grant from the city’s Great Streets Program is covering about half the cost of the event, and organizers hope to make it an annual draw. Depending on weather, city officials estimate attendance at 6,000 people or more.

Additional vendors include Lu’s Sandwiches, Black Sheep Coal Fired Pizza, Caravelle Restaurant, Pancho Villa, GYST Fermentation Bar and SK Coffee, a business new to Whittier.

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The event runs from 1 p.m.- 9 p.m. Sponsors include Brave New Media, the Black Forest Inn, Icehouse MPLS, Zeus Jones, Green Garage, Lake Wine & Spirits, Electric Fetus, Marissa’s Bakery and The Bad Waitress Diner.

For more information, visit eatstreetfest.com.

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