Uptown chaos and crime force cancellation of another popular festival

There goes another one. The organizers of the Minneapolis Greek Festival scheduled for September 9-11 in Uptown Minneapolis have cancelled the popular celebration due to the continuing violent crime and anarchy plaguing the area.

The event’s sponsor, St. Mary’s Greek Orthodox Church, said in a statement on its website the threat to the safety of visitors and staff could not be guaranteed due to the dangerous situation on the streets.

Due to the recent unrest in the Uptown district and the realization that we would be unable to find a successful solution to ensure the safety and security of our Festival guests, volunteers, and grounds, we have made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s Festival. We have every intent of holding our Festival next year.

The announcement follows the scrapping of the much larger Uptown Art Fair that was originally scheduled for last weekend, but also cancelled due to the threat to public safety posed by unrest in the neighborhood. The sponsors made a plea for residents to hang in there somehow.

The sadness and destruction we have experienced in our beautiful city and the Uptown area has been devastating but the resilience of our community is overwhelming in response. The Uptown Association, the business association and producers of the Uptown Art Fair, are asking for your support to help our community rebuild.

The Star Tribune’s notice of the festival’s demise curtly noted:

Minneapolis police and their community allies have sought to minimize disruptions in the area, but unrest and violence remain problems.

The paper did not allow readers to comment on the shut down of the Taste of Greece, as often appears to be the case with selective controversial issues. But there was a sense of despondency among the residents sounding off on the South Minneapolis Crime Watch FB page, even about whether things will turn around by next year.

So sad about this. I have gone often, but this year I would have skipped it due to safety concerns. Poor Minneapolis. Something has to be done to stop crime. (Cyndi Nygaard)

Next year, unless we vote away the police department. (Rebecca Ridgeway)

Now you say every intent on having it next year? Come on. Those are just words to pacify the public. Things will be even worse then. Statistics show a mess like this will take years to clean up. I hope all you cop haters are happy. Now you have nothing fun to do either. Congratulations on your big win! (April Mazandarani)

The cancellation of both the art fair and Greek festival underscores the stakes in the November citywide election with a measure to defund and replace the police department on the ballot, along with the entire city council and mayor.