Mayor Rybak, Downtown Hospitality Industry Announce ‘Purple Path’ for Vikings Fans
Minneapolis delivering on promise of enhanced game-day experience; rebranded Fifth Street South to be home of ‘railgating’ next Sunday
September 19, 2012 (MINNEAPOLIS) — Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak was joined by representatives of downtown Minneapolis’ hospitality industry and the Minnesota Vikings today in announcing the “Purple Path,” the rebranded stretch of Fifth Street South between the Warehouse District and the Metrodome that will be the site of an enhanced game-day experience for Minnesota Vikings fans and many others.
“We have promised an enhanced, urban, game-day experience for Vikings fans downtown, and today, we’re starting to deliver,” Mayor Rybak said. “With this first step of connecting the main game-day nodes along the new Purple Path, we’re highlighting the great entertainment options that Minneapolis offers fans, and taking the opportunity to add to them.”
Mayor Rybak unveiled the new Purple Path signage that will line each side of the blocks of Fifth Street South between the Metrodome and the Warehouse District on game days, which are designed to and will encourage traffic between the two hubs of activity.
Beginning at the next Vikings home game on Sunday, September 23, the first enhancement to the fan experience along the Purple Path will be “railgating” on the two blocks of Fifth Street South between Fifth Avenue South and Portland Avenue South, There, 16 mobile food trucks will be stationed for fans to sample from around 7:00 a.m. until around 1:00 p.m., or about an hour after kickoff of the Minnesota Vikings–San Francisco 49ers game.
“People who ride the train to the game should have as much fun as people who drive a car,” Mayor Rybak offered.
Cory Merrifield of SaveTheVikes.org, who serves on the City of Minneapolis’ Stadium Implementation Committee, praised the plan. “I applaud Mayor Rybak and the City of Minneapolis for going beyond landing the new stadium to including fans in planning the new fan experience,” he said. “Railgating is a great way for fans, especially ones from the suburbs, to be part of the urban game day and help build a new tradition.”
Mayor Rybak praised the cooperation among partners — including the Minnesota Vikings, Warehouse District businesses, the operators of mobile food trucks and the entire downtown hospitality industry — that has led to the creation of the Purple Path and railgating. “This is an experiment,” he said, “that requires all of us to think creatively about enhancing the new fan experience, particularly as we get ready for the new stadium. We’re trying to strike a balance between different interests, with the goal of making a bigger pie for everyone.”
Mayor Rybak added, “The great bars, restaurants, hotels and entertainment venues of the Warehouse District and downtown are the core of Minneapolis’ success as one of North America’s most vibrant entertainment cities, and we celebrate them. The Purple Path is a tool that they can all use to help build up the game-day experience in new and even more enjoyable ways, which will drive even more fans and business to their establishments.”
Joanne Kaufman, executive director of the Warehouse District Business Association, concurred. “The Purple Path starts in the Warehouse District, where our restaurants and bars are always excited to welcome fans before, during and after the game. Whether you’re going to the game or just want to join in the fun and excitement, we open early and offer some great brunch choices, as well as other food and drink specials — not to mention easy parking, direct access to light rail, game-day TV broadcasts and a fun-filled atmosphere all day long!”
Mayor Rybak added that next Sunday, after sampling the railgating options and the pre-game festivities on the Metrodome plaza, he will watch the Vikings–49ers game at Brothers Bar & Grill in the Warehouse District. He promised that while there, he will buy a beer for the Brothers patron wearing the most outlandish Vikings outfit.
Mayor Rybak and others were joined by representatives of two food trucks — Josh Thoma of the Smack Shack and Luke Derheim of Stanley’s, both of which operate out of bricks-and-mortar establishments — that will participate in Sunday’s railgating. Stanley’s has agreed to shoulder all trash and sanitation costs for railgating.
Mayor Rybak concluded, “We encourage everyone — ticket holders, fans and folks who just want to enjoy the festive atmosphere — to come downtown on Sunday and enjoy everything the Purple Path has to offer, from the Dome to the Warehouse District, including railgating and everything in between.
“Come early, stay late and paint the town purple!”
Published Sep. 19, 2012