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Airing of grievances – St. Paul celebrates Festivus

Looking for a place to air your grievances? Lowertown Arts District in St. Paul is celebrating Festivus.

ST PAUL, Minn. — “Got a lot of problems with you people and now you’re going to hear about them,” said a laughing Tara Weatherly, “that’s what Festivus is all about!”

Weatherly is one of the organizers of the Lowertown Arts District’s community run Festivus celebration complete with a pole for airing of grievances.

Festivus is a fictitious holiday from an iconic Seinfeld episode in which Frank Costanza creates the festival to take a stand against commercialization. “The tradition of Festivus begins with the airing of grievances,” said the character played by the late Jerry Stiller.

Lowertown’s observance of Festivus began in 2020, when the COVID-weary neighborhood was looking for an outlet.

“So, we’re like people got stuff to say,” said Weatherly who runs a dance studio just up the street from where the Festivus pole stands at the corner of Prince and Broadway.

Now in its second year, people are encouraged to stop by, write down their grievance and hang it on the pole. Organizers will read – air – them aloud on Lowertown Arts District’s Facebook and Instagram pages Thursday, Dec. 23 at 8 p.m.

After the airing of the grievances, they’ll be destroyed.

For those who can’t make it in person to the pole, an online grievance form has been set up.

“I stopped because I was feeling vaguely aggrieved,” said Emily Scott whose grievance reads, “This COVID situation.”

“I found a Festivus pole where I could leave my grievance,” she said, “I left the grievance, I’m feeling slightly less aggrieved – only slightly.”

Many of the grievances already hanging from the Festivus pole deal with COVID frustrations, while others range from unrequited love to cats with bladders that won’t wait for the alarm.

“It’s cathartic letting it go,” said Weatherly, “just like this is something that is bothering me.”

KARE 11 investigative reporter A.J. Lagoe joined in, with grievances such as long delays in responding to public records requests – here’s looking at you MPD – and public officials who dodge questions on important topics.

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