Family Festival is a great reason to go to St. Paul

Geoff Glasrud

As a parent of two, I know the challenge of finding an activity the whole family can enjoy. Thankfully even as our kids get older and their interests change, my family has always been able to count on the Flint Hills Family Festival for a fun outing.

The 19th annual Flint Hills Family Festival runs May 31-June 1 this year and is one of the largest and longest-standing events of its kind. Presented by the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts with support from Flint Hills Resources, the festival transforms downtown St. Paul into a colorful, art-filled wonderland for families. Art, music and dancing takes over the Ordway theater and spills out into Rice Park and the surrounding area.

A special thing about the festival is that the majority of it is completely free. That includes outdoor performances from world-class international and local artists, singers and dancers, as well as activities like art-making, face-painting, games and henna tattoos. Families can spend a whole day at the festival without spending money beyond transportation and food. The only optional cost is tickets to indoor performances (which this year include everything from Chinese acrobats to puppet shows), which are priced at just $8.

When Flint Hills first met with the Ordway nearly 20 years ago to explore the idea of creating this festival, affordability and quality were our two top priories. I’m proud to say those priorities have persisted through the years.

The festival is one of Flint Hills’ longest-running charitable commitments. For nearly two decades, we’ve partnered with the Ordway to present this one-of-a-kind event. I can’t believe that next year will be the 20th year!

Why is Flint Hills Resources involved in this performing arts event?

Because we believe it’s important to not just operate in the community but be active in it. You’ve probably seen us in the community, supporting student field trips to the Minnesota Zoo or programs at the Science Museum of Minnesota. The Flint Hills Family Festival is an integral part of our community involvement. Each year, tens of thousands of children and families attend the festival and have access to world-class performances, arts and activities for free.

In addition to families, the festival also welcomes more than 21,000 students and teachers each year for field trips leading up to the Festival Family Weekend. Many students from the east metro visit during School Days, including more than 1,000 students from Rosemount Elementary, Diamond Path Elementary in Apple Valley and Cherry View Elementary in Lakeville.

I hope that you and your family will be a part of the festival experience this year as well. We invite you to join us during the Festival Family Weekend on May 31 and June 1. When you do, make sure to stop by our Flint Hills Resources tent outside the Ordway, where our Pine Bend refinery employees volunteer each year and lead fun activities with kids.

We hope to see you at the Flint Hills Family Festival!

Geoff Glasrud is vice president and manufacturing manager at the Flint Hills Resources Pine Bend refinery in Rosemount.Columns reflect the opinion of the author.

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