The Minneapolis Greek Festival, Taste of Greece, canceled their 2021 festival because of recent unrest in Uptown. Organizers cited the safety and security of festival-goers as a primary reason for cancellation. A statement from the festival’s website reads that they felt they would be “unable to find a successful solution to ensure the safety and security” of all those participating in the festival. The festival was supposed to take place September 9 through September 11.

The festival is an annual event, hosted by St. Mary’s Greek Orthodox Church. In previous years, the festival has boasted support from businesses such as Ziegler Cat, Liberty Financial Consulting, and the Spell Family Foundation. Past festivals have included food, cultural events, and a 5K race that helps raise money for children’s medical research.

This cancellation of the festival follows the cancellation of the Uptown Art Fair for similar reasons. As reported by The Minnesota Sun, a statement from the executive director of the Uptown Association said that having the 2021 fair was “not something that we can feel comfortable with, for safety reasons and for our artists.” The director cited dumpster fires and an increase in drag racing as some of the safety concerns.

Minneapolis has seen an astronomical spike in violent crimes in the last year. After the 50th homicide occurred in the city of Minneapolis in mid-July, residents voiced their concerns. As reported by The Sun, “while the Twin Cities are not alone in their massive growths of violence, Minneapolis is quickly approaching the previous record of homicides. The record was from back in 1995 when the city had 97 murders and was coined ‘Murderapolis.’” In fact, a study discovered that Minneapolis “experienced the fifth-highest increase in homicides in the nation between 2019 to 2021.”

According to a poll conducted by The Center for the American Experiment, Minnesotans are growing increasingly concerned and have a deepening mistrust of Governor Tim Walz’s handling of the crime. The poll found, “Crime is driving the wrong track sentiment with 81 percent of Minnesotans personally concerned about the level of crime in Minnesota and 80 percent agreeing that crime has gotten worse over the past year.”

The rising crime rates have also driven some businesses to close their doors for good. As reported by The Sun, the owner and founder of a local Aveda salon, Juut, announced in a Facebook post that they “decided to close due to the continued escalation of crime and violence in our neighborhood.”

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Hayley Tschetter is a reporter with The Minnesota Sun | Star News Network. She graduated with a degree in Communications from the University of Northwestern-St. Paul. Send news tips to [email protected]
Photo “Minneapolis Greek Festival” by Minneapolis Greek Festival – Taste of Greece.