This weekend, Minneapolis is all set to host over 500,000 visitors for an array of high-profile events. The city has planned meticulously for “Operation Swift Summer,” featuring two sold-out concerts by global pop icon Taylor Swift, the 51st Annual Twin Cities Pride Festival, and a Kiwanis convention.
A Collaborative Effort to Ensure Safety
Commissioner Cedric Alexander is leading the collaboration between multiple agencies to guarantee a secure and seamless experience for visitors. Law enforcement plays just one part in this effort – the city’s 911 operators will be fully staffed, fire and EMT teams on standby to tackle any health-related issues, and mobile units will be prepared to respond to emergencies. Mayor Jacob Frey promises an amazing time in Minneapolis with multi-jurisdictional involvement from different departments focused on safety. “We have a history of doing large-scale events like the NCAA Final Four and the Super Bowl and doing them well,” said Frey.
The Main Attractions
Pop music sensation Taylor Swift is scheduled for two performances at U.S. Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis on Friday and Saturday, starting at 6:30 p.m. each night. Her concerts alone have caused ticket prices and hotel room rates around the stadium area to soar. Meanwhile, the Twin Cities Pride Festival runs from Friday through Sunday at Loring Park and Parade Park, while The Saloon hosts a block party, closing off an adjacent street throughout the weekend. On Sunday, Hennepin Avenue will see a march plus a 5K race taking place. Alongside these events, there’s also a Kiwanis convention drawing massive crowds into the city center. To mark these happenings, Mayor Jacob Frey has symbolically renamed Minneapolis as “Swiftie-apolis” in honor of Taylor Swift.
Transportation and Parking Arrangements
To handle the influx of visitors, Metro Transit is ramping up both bus and light rail services before and after the concerts. Metropolitan Council Chairman Charlie Zelle has announced that 90 buses will depart from downtown between midnight and 1 a.m. on concert nights, while Blue and Green Line light rail trains are expected to leave every 15 minutes. There are also other transportation options being offered by external agencies catering to concert-goers from various suburban areas. Additionally, shuttle services to the concerts are available at an extra fee.
In downtown Minneapolis, there’ll be a mix of public and private parking spaces available. Heather Johnston, the city’s interim operations officer, mentioned that the city manages 18,000 off-street and 5,000 on-street parking spaces, complemented by an added 35,000 private parking spots downtown. Ample parking should be obtainable at A-B-C ramps near Target Field and Target Center, plus park-and-ride lots in Bloomington as well as Fort Snelling.
Revitalizing Post-Pandemic Minneapolis
The weekend’s line-up isn’t just about entertainment; city leaders see these large-scale events as a chance for post-pandemic rejuvenation of downtown Minneapolis which could turn around its fortunes following civil unrest too. Mayor Frey remarked on this opportunity forming part of a changing narrative with crime rates dropping significantly. Cedric Alexander from the city’s Office of Community Safety shares similar sentiments and hopes for a warm welcome back to Minneapolis.
Public Safety Presence
To ensure the safety of all attendees, some 50 public safety agencies met to coordinate their response on Wednesday morning. However, Alexander promised that the uniformed officers would maintain a muted presence. “You won’t see an overwhelming amount” of officers, Alexander said. “But you’ll feel a sense of safety. They will be there. We have kind of struck that balance.”
While Operation Swift Summer progresses, there is much to learn from the showbiz industry where prominent figures like Arnold Schwarzenegger are extending their support to retiring colleagues like Bruce Willis.