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Grand Old Day just might be back for good.

After a three-year hiatus that had many believing St. Paul's unofficial start of summer might never return, the festival will be back for a second year in a row in 2024. Thanks in part to the tutelage of the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce and a new crop of sponsors and volunteer leaders, Grand Old Day will commence on Sunday, June 2.

"Yes, we had a successful event last year and we built off of that for this year," said Chris Jensen, president of the Grand Avenue Business Association (GABA) and co-chair of Grand Old Day. "We were fortunate to hire the chamber's Workstream team, and they have been essential as kind of our back of house, and make sure we're keeping everything on track, and you know, meeting our timelines for everything."

Also for the second year in a row, radio station 89.3 the Current will be curating the festival's musical offerings on six stages. Jensen said officials are "hoping to add one or two more" stages before the event. Yam Haus will be the main musical act, Jensen said.

New this year: pro wrestling at the U.S. Bank Stage near Lexington Parkway.

Started in 1973 to breathe life and excitement into what had become a sleepy and by some accounts seedy stretch of Grand Avenue, Grand Old Day over the decades may have been taken for granted by St. Paulites. Hundreds of thousands of eventgoers will do that, officials said.

Then suddenly, Grand Old Day was seemingly killed off. In 2019 the festival was dogged by budget and organizational woes, followed by rising security costs following the civil unrest after the 2020 murder of George Floyd. Organizers who hoped to resurrect the event were frustrated by continual obstacles.

Then a crew from the chamber jumped in to help recruit sponsors, and GABA decided to give it another go in 2023. A committee of about a dozen enthusiasts met for months to rebuild the festival's infrastructure. Jensen said an estimated 200,000 people attended Grand Old Day last year.

Officials said they are on solid enough footing this year to ensure the event will be held. However, they're still seeking interested sponsors willing to join their efforts. Potential sponsors should contact the Grand Avenue Business Association via email at info@grandave.com, or go to the event website at grandave.com.

Because of construction, the festival footprint will be a half-mile shorter, running from Dale Street to Snelling Avenue.

Megan Ryan, vice president of marketing and communications for the chamber, said officials there stepped in because the event has become synonymous with St. Paul.

"People love Grand Old Day. And we — I — have been a part of it as long as I can remember," she said. "We're proud to be a part of helping it come back and our Workstream team aims to help build capacity at organizations. I think this is a great example of helping GABA do what its mission is designed for and bring back attention to Grand Avenue."

Peter Kenefick, the longtime owner of Dixie's On Grand who redeveloped the restaurant's space into the Kenton House on Grand, a massive new luxury apartment complex at Grand and St. Albans, said he's encouraged by the event's new energy.

"I think the leadership that's there, between the Grand Avenue Business Association and the Summit Hill Association, is very, very strong. And I think they're committed," said Kenefick, who will be grand marshal for this year's Grand Old Day parade. "We are way ahead of where we were a year ago. Sponsorship seems good. We've worked very closely with the city and the police and they are on board. And so I think it is going to be back to great."