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City gives go ahead for first ever Black Entrepreneurial State Fair after the event was cancelled

Organizers say it’s somewhat of a pick me up for business owners.

MINNEAPOLIS — In less than 24 hours, Father Hennepin Bluff Park will become home to dozens of black owned businesses from all over the state of Minnesota for the first annual Black Entrepreneurial State Fair.

From food vendors to local boutiques. 

"Yes all black," said event organizer, Destinee Shelby. 

Organizers say it’s somewhat of a pick me up for business owners.  

"Black businesses that were impacted during the pandemic to have a chance to make some money, have a chance to network and just kind of grow their businesses," said Shelby. 

Just over a month ago the event was cancelled and the city of Minneapolis released a statement saying in part, "The City has been following the recommendations and guidelines set forth by Governor’s executive orders which recommend limiting social interactions. Accordingly, permits may be written for gatherings up to 25 people.

Taking into consideration that the Minnesota State Fair was cancelled, organizers received a lot of backlash over the event online. 

"A lot of people that were claiming that we’re racists, we are bringing back segregation, ridiculous comments even mocking us like we’ll bring the kool aid just very nasty things," said Shelby. 

Orgnaizers say after conversations with the city, the park board and the Attorney General's Office, they got the go ahead to move forward with a more scaled down event than what was originally envisioned, and of course that involved a detailed COVID-19 plan. 

"We cant exceed 250 people within our perimeter, masks will be required, we will have sanitation stations, social distancing markers at each vendor line," said Shelby. 

For Shelby, who’s put her own businesses on hold to make this dream a reality says this isn’t about what people think. 

"I am actually biracial. I'm black and I'm white. I have both sides in my family. It's not about race to me.”

Not about race or a state fair, as she says the focus is on community.

"Why cant we have something like that for our community, obviously not as big," asked Shelby. 

The event kicks off August 23 and will run through August 29th from 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, and from 4 p.m. - 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. The event is free to the public, but you must reserve a ticket online as the event is limited to 250 people each day. 

Security will be provided by W&W Protection. 


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