ROCHESTER, Minnesota (WCCO) – This summer, we’re highlighting the many ways the Minnesotans are getting back together.
In Rochester, Thursdays Downtown are back.
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Rochester is a city known the world over for its advanced medical care. It has been a particularly busy year, and the people there are especially grateful to be together.
Downtown Thursdays are a 10-year tradition in Rochester, but this year is different.
Different for the 20,000 customers.
“It’s completely amazing to see people here, no one is wearing a mask,” said Rochester native Dwight Campbell. “There’s a lot of money flowing around the community, people come downtown and so, yeah, it’s a really nice feeling to go out and see the community coming back together after everything that’s happened. Last year.”
Different for the 80 sellers.
“Right now, the kick-off and the number of people who are here, who are close to each other is great. It’s fun, ”said Ben Ankeny of Little Thistle Brewing Company.
And it’s different for the thousands of health heroes working a few steps away.
“We were just saying how exciting and good it is to be back in somewhat of a normal state here,” said Kate Nelson, medical assistant at the Mayo Clinic.
For Mayo Clinic staff, the past year has been anything but normal, especially for those in the COVID unit, like nurse practitioner Michelle Myers.
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“It was scary then and coming to see everyone together, that’s what we worked towards, that’s what we wanted to do and it feels good to see how resilient we are. “she said. “It really, yes, seems more meaningful this year to see that and show how far we’ve come. “
“Getting up everyday and coming in and literally being zero, trying to help take care of these people, that was difficult,” Nelson said. “We are so lucky, we are so lucky to have found some normalcy.”
And they’re resilient, enjoying an old festival favorite with a new sense of gratitude.
“Being around hundreds of people, thousands of people, it’s a little shocking, but for me it’s really exciting,” said Seamus Kolb, owner of Carroll’s Corn. “I mean, it’s just kind of proof that we can get through this stuff.”
Like many small business owners, the head of Carroll’s Corn has been through tough times.
“We entered into a panic. Where are the sales going to come from? How are we going to keep our employees? How are we going to stay in business? Kolb said. “So getting it back this year is phenomenal.”
So after a year of keeping their distance, these Minnesotans are getting closer, and the more the merrier.
“So if you don’t have anything to do, come to Rochester, we’ll take care of you,” Campbell said.
About 26,000 people are expected to come out in Rochester on Thursday, and that number could rise as country artist Jared Niemann performs at 7pm.
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It’s the first Thursday of many, as these events will unfold for the next 10 weeks.