29 January 2018

Note from Norm: Warm Minnesota Hearts Welcome Your Cold Hands to Super Bowl LII

On Sunday, February 4th, the eyes of the world will be on Minnesota as we host Super Bowl LII.

In true Minnesota Nice style, we are going to roll out the red carpet for the tens of thousands of guests who will converge on the Twin Cities, our hotels, bars, restaurants, stores and shops.

Fair warning to all:  The temperatures are expected to be in the single digits.  In Minnesota, we bottom our top button when it gets to zero.  Feel free to join us!

From zip lining across the Mississippi River in Minneapolis to a magnificent Ice Castle standing proudly in our Capitol City of St. Paul, you will find no shortage of fun and excitement in Minnesota.

As former Mayor of St. Paul I encourage those of you staying in Minneapolis and elsewhere to take a ride on the huge slide at the home of the Saint Paul Saints at CHS Field, visit Rice Park and see amazing ice sculptures and experience neighborhood landmarks like Mancinis, Skinners, the Nook, the Lexington, the St. Paul Grill and hundreds of other great places to eat, drink and celebrate.

Remember Peanuts on Parade?

Yeah, we did that in Saint Paul!  Look around and you will find some of the Charles Schulze Peanut’s magic throughout our City, including O’Gara’s where the famed cartoonist lived for a time perfecting his craft – and you can get a great burger and beer there, too.

There is, of course, one of my favorite downtown restaurants, Meritage – a chef-driven, independent, award-winning French Brasserie that rivals anything you will find anywhere in the country.

We are going to make your visit to our state safe, too.

There will be  hundreds of officers from 60 police departments across the state, 40 federal agencies and related offices, 400 members of the Minnesota National Guard, and private contractors whose entire responsibility will be to keep everyone coming to Super Bowl LII safe and secure.

We have been told that our communities will see nearly $220 to $340 million in economic impact.

We love that number!

But we also love the fact that there are more than 10,000 volunteers who will be located throughout the Twin Cities, including the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and skyways systems helping you and others find your way around during your stay.

You should know that this spirit of volunteerism isn’t something that just happens during the Super Bowl, either.

According to the Corporation for National and Community Service:

  • 35.4%  of all Minnesota residents volunteer, ranking us 2nd among the 50 states and Washington, D.C.

  • In 2015 there were a total of 1,560,667 volunteers in Minnesota

  • Minnesotans volunteer 33 volunteer hours per capita for a total of 155.41 million hours of volunteer service

  • 64% of Minnesotans donate $25 or more to charity

  • Cumulatively, Minnesotans donate $3.3 billion of services

Yes, Minnesota is an amazing place.  While our Minnesota Vikings will not be playing in the Super Bowl that doesn’t mean we aren’t proud of our Vikings.

We got close this year when nobody expected much of our team.

Besides the Vikings we have the NBA Minnesota Timberwolves which are right in the hunt for a conference title.

The NHL’s Minnesota Wild plays in the heart of Saint Paul, and there is the MLB Minnesota Twins – lead by Saint Paul Native and 2017 American League Manager of the Year Paul Molitor.

Of course, there is also the WNBA Minnesota Lynx.

With four championships, the Lynx are tied with the Houston Comets for the most titles in WNBA history, and they have won more Western Conference championships than any other franchise.

Minnesota has been at the forefront of arts, culture, science, education, governance, business for as long as we became a state.

For every Prince, Bob Dylan and Jimmy Jam there is a Gordon Parks, Evelyn Raymond and Maude Kegg.

Did somebody say theater? We have the Guthrie, the Ordway, the Chanhassen, the Old Log Theater, the Fitzgerald, the Pantages, the Orpheum, the State and the Mixed Blood Theater – I have to take a breath here and share a link to more:  www.minnesotatheateralliance.org/content/mntheater_list

And, ahem, we also have the Grammy Award Winning Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra!

From powerful civic leaders like Marilyn Carlson Nelson, the Chair of the Minnesota Super Bowl LII Host Committee to former Supreme Court Justice and Minnesota Vikings great Alan Page, Minnesota is and remains home to some of our nation, and worlds, most prestigious and impactful leaders.

While I wasn’t born in Minnesota, I am, through and through, a Minnesotan.  Proud of every one of the 87 counties I have been to, the hundreds of cities I have visited and the hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans I have meet in my life.

I have been honored to serve as Mayor of Saint Paul, and as Minnesota’s United States Senator and now as one of millions of Minnesotans who will be on hand to welcome thousands to the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

For the record, we really have over 11,840 lakes of 10 acres or more!

So, for those coming to Minnesota, be ready for a trip and experience of a lifetime.  We are opening our state and our cities and all the things we love the most to you.

For those of you watching the Super Bowl on t.v. please, know that behind all of the glitz and the glamour are 5.52 million Minnesotans who are proud of this state, its history and its heritage.

We welcome your cold hands with warm Minnesota hearts!