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West End celebration returns Sept. 16

For the first 50 years or so of Cloquet’s existence, the West End of Cloquet was the beating heart of the city, particularly in terms of government. Spanning avenues B, C and D from Broadway Avenue to the other side of Arch Street, it was packed. City Hall and the jail were here, the Pine Knot newspaper and lots of different stores were all located in the West End, including banking and commerce, Odd Fellows and the Masonic Temple and the train depot.

Traffic flowed from Dunlap Island up Arch Street to Pinehurst Park, and things were busy, busy, busy.

The construction of Highway 33 through Cloquet in the 1960s changed the traffic flow, and suddenly people didn’t have to drive through that part of town anymore. Government moved to downtown Cloquet and many other businesses followed.

A walk through the West End of Cloquet these days is usually a quiet one. Anchored at one end by Common Ground Coffee Bar & Deli and the Lakeshore Tobacco Vapor store on the other, it’s the end of downtown that time forgot.

It will be anything but quiet on Saturday, Sept. 16.

Weather permitting, the West End Flourish street fair and car show will turn the historic part of town into a bustling, pedestrian-friendly festival with plenty to see and buy. There will be art and artisans, live music all day, things to buy, demonstrations, food trucks, informational booths and fun ranging from face painting to bouncies and a tiny train.

Pine Knot advertising director Ivan Hohnstadt dreamed up the first event after the pandemic, and aims to make this year even better.

“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,” Hohnstadt said. “This is the Pine Knot’s neighborhood. Why wouldn’t we champion it and encourage others to help us revitalize the area?”

The West End Flourish September Celebration will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16. Vendors will line Avenue C while classic cars park along there will be a hub of kids’ activities too and the VFW parking lot will be transformed into an outdoor food court.

“Let’s wake up the West End,” Hohnstadt said. Everyone is invited to the party.

Questions? Call Hohnstadt at 218-391-3696 or email [email protected].