ALBERT LEA, Minn. (KTTC) -- Cities are always looking for ways to get more people to visit, and Albert Lea is taking cues from another southeast Minnesota event to draw more people in. The city is putting on its first ever Wind Down Wednesday and the early reviews are very positive.
With the exception of a thunderstorm interruption, Wednesday was considered a huge success for everyone involved with Wind Down Wednesdays.
One step onto Broadway Avenue in Albert Lea and you would think you were at Thursdays on First in Rochester. That is exactly what they want you to think when you take in the first ever Wind Down Wednesday.
"I remember John Eckhoff from Rochester saying in their first (Thursdays on First) event, they had 15 vendors," explains Susie Pedersen with the Albert Lea Convention and Visitors Bureau. "And so we've got to thank them for putting this together."
Tourism peaks in Albert Lea at the Fourth of July with their ever popular fireworks display on Fountain Lake. Wind Down Wednesdays is a chance for the city to extend their tourist season.
"Yes, it's to boost tourism, to show off our beautiful community," says Pedersen, "so we're pretty proud of it."
The vendors are mostly local, which provides some previously unknown talents to show off their stuff.
"I think every one of us was interested in getting our art out in the community eventually," says Robin Brown with Three T Creations, a glassware business featuring three Albert Lea teachers. "And as teachers we're working all the time and haven't had a big opportunity to do that and this gave us a chance to get together and show some of our stuff, and have some real good comradery, too."
It is a chance for the entire community to come together and enjoy what Albert Lea has to offer and to make it more entertaining for those paying a visit.
"I think it really supports the arts community, and I think it gives people an opportunity to see that it's not just the places on main street that have stuff to sell," says Brown. "But there are artists all around the community and in their own neighborhoods. And it's just fun to get out in the summer and visit with each other and listen to the good music."
The event took over downtown Albert Lea from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. with music, art and food. The city will be holding Wind Down Wednesdays one more day this summer on August 15.
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