Taste of Minnesota returns after 7-year hiatus

A 7-year hiatus came to an end this weekend as Minnesota brought back a summer staple.

The Taste of Minnesota drew big crowds on Sunday, its first day. There were long lines to get into Nicollet Mall, but attendees said the lines moved smoothly and were worth it.

"The atmosphere is great. I like the music, live music. I like the people. The food is great, as well," said Martin Mendez from Minneapolis.

The two-day event hasn’t happened since 2015, and this is its first time in Minneapolis. The main highlights included professional wrestlers, bands and a variety of options for even the biggest foodies, courtesy of food trucks.

"We listened to a couple of bands. They've been great. Just great to actually be out again on a Minnesota summer day," said Amber Bergson from St. Louis Park.

Organizers said the menu options may even remind guests of the Minnesota State Fair. They expect more than 100,000 guests over two days.

"My wife and I thought it would be a nice way to get out, bring our kid out. So we were like, ‘Let's do it.’ I know they haven't had the Taste in a while. My old roommates and I used to go to that, so we were like ‘Let's go back, check it out,’" said Christian Muvundamina from St. Paul.

Third Eye Blind was Sunday’s headliner, and on Monday, guests can watch Big Boi from Outkast. City officials see the free festival as an opportunity to bring people back downtown.

"I'm so glad they brought it back," Mendez said. "We don't see a lot of events like this all the time, so it's good that we bring events like this back."

City officials say a robust safety plan is in place, including screening everyone with metal detectors at the two entry points.