The Little Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau (LFCVB) led the community through a great summer; while the entire city of Little Falls was under construction.

The LFCVB worked with businesses, residents and the city staff for one complete year. They stepped up and had summer “Big Dig” block parties weekly on Thursdays during the summer.

They coordinated with a few volunteers from the community and hosted 11 Big Dig events one each week with live music, art, food, and art vendors, bike giveaways, hot air balloon rides, attractions, military display vehicles, fire trucks, police cars, sidewalk chalk, and more. No two events were the same.

Creative, collaborative, and community focused were the fundamentals for the events.

The LFCVB was creative on funding and equipment for the events through requests, grants, and partnering with the Great River Arts, the city of Little Falls, Little Falls Business Association and various volunteers.

They worked with the city, art center, and an art education student; who was funded by a Sourcewell grant intern opportunity. She created youth art education programming for the art center by day and event staff for block parties through community art outside by night.

Long-term effects from the Big Dig are following:

• The Park and Recreation Board has discussed an amphitheater and splash park to 2020-2021 projects;

• The residents loved monthly block parties, so they have created an outdoor music series for 2020;

• Multiple organizations created community marketing efforts for free public events; which will save money on marketing and create another tool for tourism; and

• Great River Arts Center facilitated a 30-foot exterior mural for the art center.

This will increase the tourism and economic development as we grow Little Falls and the infrastructure continues to improve. This is an example of community development, tourism, art, and growth through partnerships.

Kris VonBerge is the executive director of the Little Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau.

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