It’s hard to believe that another year has drawn to a close! But as we look back on 2021 and how far we’ve come as an organization despite the numerous challenges that have been thrown to the tourism and event industry, we’re so proud of our staff, community members, and partners for an amazing year. We hosted in-person events, we saw many new businesses come to town, and we embraced the “live music hotspot” moniker with pride. Let’s take a look back at the impressive achievements of the past 12 months, and then look forward to an even better 2022 to come!
Just one year ago, events were still a giant question mark in terms of if and how. But thanks to the resilience of our communities and the safety measures taken by attendees, events in 2021 saw positivity and success!
Booked through Visit Greater St. Cloud
As you may or may not know, our office works to bring events of all kinds to the Greater St. Cloud area. We partner with facilities, vendors, planners and more to help make the event planning process as easy as possible. Our sales team helped book 45 events that took place this year, and here are a few of the big and fun ones!
- American Legion Baseball: In the end of July, St. Cloud hosted the 2021 MN American Legion State Baseball Tournament at various fields across the St. Cloud area. The event brought 16 teams and their fans from all over the state for a full weekend of baseball action. It filled 185 hotel rooms, included a successful banquet at the River’s Edge Convention Center, and was a great gathering for baseball fans of all ages.
- IDSA Longboarding: In July of 2021, the International Distance Skateboarding Association came to town for the Skate Central Lakes Endurance Festival. Participants from all over the the US took part in three days and 200+ miles of longboard racing between Fergus Falls, West Union, and back to St. Cloud. The event ended with a party at Bad Habit Brewing in St. Joseph, where the 120 participants were able to celebrate together.
- MN School Nutrition Association: In late July/early August, the 2021 MN School Nutrition Association safely hosted their in-person conference with over 800 attendees and 655 hotel rooms requested.
- MN Chiefs of Police Association: Held in October, over 700 people attended in person safely at the River’s Edge Convention Center, with 900 hotel rooms requested.
- Wissota Promoters: Bringing together auto racing track managers and other stakeholders, Wissota had 600 attendees in-person here in St. Cloud in November, with 575 hotel rooms.
- Allied Charities: We hosted the Allie Charities annual conference and expo in St. Cloud in person with 700 people in attendance, and 900 room nights requested.
Throughout 2021, one thing became clear: Greater St. Cloud is a live music hot spot! While events like Summertime by George and Woodfired Wednesdays have been rocking and rolling for a few years now, several new events and entertainment venues hopped on to the scene as well to make this year one to remember!
- The Ledge Amphitheater: Opened in summer of 2021, The Ledge is an all new entertainment venue situated outdoors between two former granite mining quarries in Waite Park. The amphitheater is a stunning work of architecture and a beautiful tie to the natural world around it. With seating for up to 6,000 attendees, The Ledge is equipped to host everything from small community events to large-scale national acts. In 2021, they brought The Beach Boys, Dropkick Murphys and 311 to town and they’re looking forwards to hosting even more big names in 2022!
- Rock the Riverside: This new weekly music festival took place all summer long in Sauk Rapids at the newly constructed Clearing on the banks of the Mississippi River. This event brought free concerts to the stage every Thursday evening from July – September along with food and drink vendors and all kinds of family fun.
- Millstream Night Market: Another weekly series, the Millstream Night Market took over downtown St. Joseph every Monday evening in the summer for a night of live music, food and treats, and a bunch of local artists and vendors with amazing items to shop. It was reminiscent of a New Orleans market with a lively, quirky atmosphere and plenty of fun for all ages!
New to Town
Even as the pandemic continued to affect small businesses, many new places opened in 2021, including:
Restaurants & Bars
- Sthil Wolf Bar in Downtown St. Cloud
- Gilibertos downtown rebranded as the Patagonia with a new menu
- Back Shed Brewing opened near Crafts Direct and became an event hotspot
- Ultimate Sports Bar opened after a fire with a complete remodel
- Korppi Coffee & Bakeshop opened in the former Dunn Brothers Coffee location between St. Cloud and Sartell
- Raising Canes was welcomed to the St. Cloud dining scene this year.
- Taco Chon opened their St. Cloud location, serving up authentic Mexican cuisine.
- Copper Pony opened their location in Munsinger Clemens Gardens as well as their new main storefront in Sauk Rapids
- Hudson & Co. boutique opened in St. Joseph
- Sweet Stop located Downtown St. Cloud
- Green Thumb Etc. moved locations down West St. Germain a few blocks
- Sierra opened in St. Cloud in August, stocked full with apparel and outdoor adventure gear.
- Bella Vita Salt Caves opened late 2021 in downtown St. Cloud
- Holiday Inn & Suites continues to remodel the entire hotel to make it an even better experience for travelers.
- Bullseye Action Target opens in Crossroads Center
- Nice Axe technically opened at the end of 2020, but was forced to close due to COVID regulations and fully opened in 2021.
- The Whit Gallery opened downtown St. Cloud.
The website traffic here at visitstcloud.com is always fun to watch for trends, and this year it was very telling. You’re all excited about outdoor fun and music venues, great local restaurants and events, and especially motivated by kids activities and – who could blame you – ice cream!
- MN American Legion State Baseball Tournament
- Liberty Block Party
- Granite City Days
It has been a fun year online, from captivating videos to exciting visuals and more!
Here are the top 3 posts (by engagement)
Top 3 Posts (by engagement)
View this post on Instagram
View this post on Instagram
View this post on Instagram
Top 3 videos (by views)
@visitgreaterstcloudGolfing in December… in Minnesota?! You betcha! ##visitstcloud ##minnesota ##golftok ##MakeABunchHappen ##albanymn♬ Money (That’s What I Want) – Barrett Strong
@visitgreaterstcloudAs they say, it’s okay to be a little salty! Who’s stoked to give this a try?? ##visitstcloud ##stcloudmn ##minnesota ##onlyinmn ##traveltok♬ Aglow (Intro) – Karamel Kel
@visitgreaterstcloudSorry (but not really) Great River Bowl in Sartell has the goods. ##minnesota ##bloodymary ##tiktoktravel ##visitstcloud ##onlyinmn♬ In This House – Marcus Vinicius Alfaro Nascimento