Unless you have been living under a rock, you were aware that 'Celebrate MN,' a concert/entertainment festival, was coming to St. Cloud last week. Between the yard signs, advertisements and billboards, it was hard to forget when and where the show was.

Despite the Liberty Block Party happening at Whitney since the beginning of time, I had never had a chance to check out a concert at the park I play slow pitch softball at every week.

While we were playing on Tuesday night we could see and hear all of the tents and stages being set up for that weekend's event. We were pretty far away so it was hard to see the scale and quality of the production while it was being built.

I was actually kind of dreading going to the concert Friday. I was concerned about the parking/traffic situation, the lines for food and about just how 'squeezed in' the whole situation would feel once we were inside the event area.

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When we got to Celebrate MN around 5 p.m. on Friday, there was really no traffic to speak of and we were able to find plenty of parking in one of the (closed) business' lots across the street.

Getting into the festival was seamless (it helped that it was free and there were no security delays or tickets to scan) and the lines for everything were more than reasonable.

What really stood out to me, though, was just how many people Whitney was able to fit comfortably into the area. I saw estimates that crowds were over 10,000 people each night but there was still plenty of room to put down a blanket or some lawn chairs to enjoy the shows.

The food trucks were spread out far enough to reduce congestion in that area to nearly zero, and the entertainment areas/kids area also had plenty of breathing room. Overall, I was surprised how well Whitney functioned as a concert venue.

Here is the lineup of The 2023 Minnesota State Fair Grandstand Concert Series

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