Big doings in the West End Saturday
Free festival from noon to 6 p.m. for everyone
September 24, 2021
They're closing down the streets in Cloquet's West End business district Saturday, and everyone is invited for a trip into an idealistic version of the future. It will be a place where children play, people enjoy yoga and dance, musicians jam, artists do their thing, businesses thrive and vendors sell their wares: think block party mixed with art fair, farmers market and business district.
Welcome to West End Flourish, a free community gathering. Avenues C and B and Vine Street will be closed from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday for this celebration of the West End and the arts, and many other things that make Cloquet unique. Vendors will line the streets, Wentworth Park will be a hub of activity, and the VFW parking lot will be transformed into an outdoor food court, featuring Carlton County food trucks. Many West End businesses are participating, including the Rock Place, the Pine Knot News and its art gallery - last chance for the "Art is of the Birds" show - and Common Ground and Wood City Nutrition, among others.
Bear in mind that parking could be tricky Saturday. There are parking lots down the road on Dunlap Island and at Veterans Park, along with on-street parking, but come knowing that you will be doing some walking.
As part of the festivities, Krista Gardner will debut her West End Flourish "Ivory Garden" project. The Ivory Garden provides a space for citizens of Cloquet to perform and share music in a spontaneous fashion. The piano will be outside of Wood City Nutrition until the first snow.
"We're throwing a party to showcase the West End Flourish efforts and encouraging people to imagine what Cloquet's Historic West End could be," said organizer Ivan Hohnstadt, Pine Knot News advertising director. "This is the Pine Knot's neighborhood. Why wouldn't we champion it and encourage others to help us revitalize the area?"
Any activities that require green space will be located in Wentworth Park, at the corner of Avenue B and Arch Street. Nest Yoga studio owner and teacher Caroline Ripp will hold two free "yoga for everyone" classes, 1-1:30 p.m. and 2-2:30 p.m. Bring a yoga mat or a beach towel. All ages welcome. Music Together of Cloquet plans to have 20-minute sample sessions of their music classes at 12:30, 1:30, 2:30, 3:30 and 4:30 in Wentworth Park. Cloquet's Boy Scouts of America Troop 171 will be set up adjacent to the park and plans to offer archery and Dutch oven cooking demonstrations, games for kids and to sell popcorn and pea soup supper tickets.
While dozens of vendors and food trucks will be there all day, musical acts and activities are more fleeting. There will also be organizations offering services, information and demonstrations.
Many of the food trucks will be parked in the parking lot behind the VFW, with tables and chairs for diners. Holy Smokes will be parked on Avenue C near Common Ground.
Here's the list of food trucks:
-Winky Dinky Donuts serves up fresh mini donuts, shaved ice, and soda.
-Julie's Egg Rolls: The Podvin family will be serving Julie's famous egg rolls and other authentic Filipino food from their iconic big green food truck.
-Room at the Table: Simple. Good. Food. That is what you'll find at the Room at the Table mobile food truck. Smashburgers are at the core of their ever changing menu. Stop by and see what's new!
-Holy Smokes Catering is a 28-ft mobile food trailer with an NSF-certified woodfired smoker. All their meat is smoked over aged oak. Their menu features smoked turkey, pork and beef brisket open-faced sandwiches, breakfast sandwiches, Cubanos, nachos and smoked Gouda mac and cheese.
Rather than a central stage, music will be scattered throughout the five-block area, at the following times:
Noon-1:30 p.m .: Brooke & Caleb Anderson bring tight vocal harmonies, super cute banter, and toe-tapping music rooted in Americana. Near Wood City Nutrition.
1-4 p.m .: Jerry & Joyce. Senior dance inside the VFW.
1-3 p.m .: Dylanesque performer James Wiita will be bringing his guitar and harmonica and performing a wide variety of styles. Near Pine Knot News.
2:45-3:15 p.m .: Dan & Jeanne Doty on guitar and fiddle at the Agate Encores booth. Near Wood City Nutrition.
2-4 p.m .: Maintenance Free members Mark Levings and Hewitt Station describe their style as acoustic Americana folk rock. Near Pine Knot News
3:45-4:15 p.m .: Dan & Jeanne Doty on guitar and fiddle at the Agate Encores booth. Near Wood City Nutrition.
4-6 p.m .: The Ted Eastman Trio. Ted Eastman on accordion, Terry Cibulka on drums and Rose Kuhlman on clarinet play a wide range of styles including big band, jazz, rock country and, of course, polkas. Near the Pine Knot News or the VFW food court.
Much much more
-Bridges Customs will host a car show on Avenue B and Vine Street. Pending approval from the city, Bridges will put on a car "drifting" demonstration at 4 p.m.
-Meet the new owners of the former Roberts Furniture building and learn about their plans for the space. The set of the YouTube channel "Rise of the Podcast" (a weekly Star Wars and pop culture live streaming podcast) will be on display. You're invited to be an audience member for the live podcast at 7 p.m. The plans for the building include providing space for enterprising media creators and being a local resource for these creators.
-All Hallow's Eve game creator Darrell Davey will set up a game demo table at the former Roberts Furniture building owned by the Rise of the Podcast people. Show up and stay spooky!
-Sarah VanderMeiden's Paper birch creations - home décor, birch poles and branches, custom pom-poms in local school colors.
-Color Street is a new innovative dry nail polish. No tools or heat required and there's no waiting for your nails to dry. Come try a sample and see our 100+ colors.
-Crafts by Cnicole: Custom crafts, homemade items, digital art. Shirts, cups, key chains, wall art, stickers, and digital art.
-Wild Fern Soaps. All Wild Fern Soaps are naturally antibacterial and contain glycerin to keep your hands soft - even with frequent hand washing.
-The Rock Place is having a huge sale with 50% off Brazilian agates, petrified wood, crystals, minerals, and all jewelry priced over $10. Their jewelry includes necklaces, bolos and belt buckles.
-Christopher Henagin is a Thrivent financial professional who provides personalized financial guidance to people at all stages of life. Visit with Christopher to find out more about the financial advice, investments, insurance, banking, and generosity programs to help you make the most of what you've been given.
-Skutevik's Floral is extending their Saturday hours and will have free flowers for the first 150 guests. You're invited to visit the store to register for door prizes from CrystalsMNCreations, Dälarinia Woodworks and Skutevik's Floral. Save 40% on houseplants and shop their fall décor items.
-Handmade Mama is a children's clothing boutique located in the Holiday Center, Downtown Duluth. All clothing products are manufactured locally.
-218 Brand fishing lures features custom-made fishing lures. Shop their selection of soft plastics, custom-made bass fishing jigs and 218 Brand hard fishing lures.
-Iris Keller is an artist who has worked on many projects in town, the schools and with CHS theater. She loves to work with materials from nature.
-Pine Knot News: Visit the Pine Knot Gallery, meet staff and contributing writers. Register for door prizes. There will be free old newspapers for the taking if you need them for packing material, wrapping fish or a papier mâché art project.
-Blacksmith Demonstration: Local blacksmiths will be demonstrating how to make a wrought iron hook, and they're willing to teach you how to make one of your own. They will have a variety of handcrafted ironwork for sale.
-Lisa Montminy Agency - Farmers Insurance. Lisa recently purchased the Farmers Insurance Agency on Avenue C and is excited to be a part of the September Celebration. Stop by and meet one of the West End's newest business owners.
-MN Assistance Council for Veterans: The mission of the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV) is to end veteran homelessness in Minnesota. They provide services to veterans, including housing, employment and legal aid, that address the reasons for veterans' homelessness in creating sustainable housing opportunities.
-Cloquet Library: Visit with friends of the Cloquet Library and learn what's new. Complete a brief survey, and they'll give you a bag of chips for your trouble. You can also register to win a door prize drawing.
-Chairs by Kris: Artist Kris Nelson will have several of her chairs on display. Many of the chairs are available for purchase and greeting cards featuring her work will also be available. She recently completed "Psycho Reflections" – featuring Alfred Hitchcock and painted on two century-old theater seats. You're invited to share your Hitchcock "Psycho" memories. There will also be an activity table for children. Children are invited to visit and play a chair-related game.
-Reliable Insurance Agency is a locally owned independent insurance agency representing many different companies and has been in the community since 1974. We can offer coverage for all lines of insurance. Please stop by our booth to visit with one of our agents and register for our door prize.
-United Way of Carlton County: Learn about the United Way of Carlton County's upcoming Operation Community Connect event or register for their Mud & Mutts virtual 5K walk/hike or 10K run event taking place the week of October 3. They'll have activities for kids too. United Way of Carlton County fights for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in every community.
-Legal Aid Service of Northeastern Minnesota: Learn about the legal resources available to families at Legal Aid Service of Northeastern Minnesota, which provides free civil legal assistance for all eligible clients in its service area. They will have legal information, referral cards, and resources. They can answer questions about the housing moratorium, unemployment assistance, child support, and expungement. Kids, come visit the "Justice Bus" and have fun with chalk art, coloring pages, and justice-themed fun.
-Andi Design Shop seeks to create handmade toys and gifts that invoke imagination and can be a cherished part of your little one's playtime adventures. Shop an assortment of gifts and toys. http://www.andi-design.com.
-Frank's Crafts: Frank Nelson will have a wide variety of creative and practical handcrafted birdhouses for sale.
-Pineknol Tree Farm are local producers who specialize in maple sap collecting, beekeeping and gardening. They will have a variety of products for sale including raw honey, beeswax products, jams, fresh vegetables, delicious fudge and lollipops too.
-Community Memorial Hospital: Visit with a representative from Community Memorial Hospital (CMH) and learn about the vast array of healthcare services available to the Cloquet community and beyond.
-Swells & Flutter. Handcrafted jewelry, art prints, and metal wall art.
-Sara Zacher will have a wide variety of beadwork, agates, and jewelry for sale.
-Statue of Responsibility and Superior Stone. Learn about the effort to erect a monument to "Responsibility" on America's West Coast and shop Tom Antus' collection of Lake Superior Agates.
-The Oldenburg Arts & Cultural Community (OACC) is one of the lead organizations of the West End Flourish program in Cloquet. Visit with them to learn more about this ongoing initiative. Visit their "Imagination Station" and share your ideas of what you'd like to see in Cloquet's Historic West End.
-Veterans of Foreign Wars: The VFW will have an information table and answer questions about membership.
This West End Flourish event is part of an Artists on Main Street grant program that aims to kickstart revitalizing the West End. Grant coordinator Emily Fuerste Swanson of the Oldenburg Arts and Cultural Community shared her own long-range vision for the West End.
"We imagine pedestrians, hikers, bikers, canoeists and kayakers enjoying the district," said Swanson. "We see all kinds of events taking place in this restored area, with new and expanded businesses, galleries, eateries, performance spaces and a craft brewery. We envision murals, sculpture, exhibits, and recreational amenities throughout the district."
Come down and decide what you think the future holds for the West End, and share your ideas at the Oldenburg . See you Saturday!