St. Paul Canceled $100K Fireworks Display, But Will Pay $225K to Bring Red Bull Event to Town

The City of St. Paul has agreed to bring Red Bull’s Flugtag event back to town at a cost of $225,000, raising questions about why the city canceled its $100,000 Fourth of July fireworks display last year.

Flugtag, which means “flying day” in German, is a “human-powered gliding” competition that was last in St. Paul in 2010. Red Bull is bringing the event back to town on September 7, and has already started promoting the festivities.

But according to The Pioneer Press, the city is on the hook for $225,000 in public sponsorship, which Visit St. Paul Chief Executive Terry Mattson said he has searched for “under every seat cushion.”

“We’ve looked under every seat cushion and came back with $85,000 for the city,” he said. “We haven’t signed a contract or anything like that, but that’s what we deemed available. There’s a finite amount of resources.”

The mayor’s office said it already budgeted $50,000 for an event such as the Flugtag in its 2019 budget.

“St. Paul has been teaming up with Red Bull, our tourism bureau and partners in the private sector for nearly a decade and the 2019 Red Bull Flugtag will continue to place St. Paul on an international stage, providing tens of thousands of people with an incredible, one-of-a-kind event that is free and family-friendly,” said Peter Leggett, a communications director for Mayor Melvin Carter.

He also noted that Red Bull pays for “100 percent of the city services it receives just as it has done in previous years.”

It’s unclear where the remainder of the $225,000 in funding will come from, but Carter’s office apparently asked Visit St. Paul, the city’s tourism arm, to figure it out.

“I’m not aware of an expectation that we’d be able to sponsor it. But they’re definitely asking. As far as I know, the city says they’ve got this. That’s good. It’s a cool event. It’s just there’s a finite amount of resources,” Mattson told The Pioneer Press.

In 2018, Carter canceled the city’s annual Fourth of July fireworks display, which comes with a $100,000 price tag. Carter said at the time that he couldn’t “in good conscience support spending tax dollars on a fireworks display.”

As The Minnesota Sun reported, emails later obtained by The Star Tribune showed that Carter received multiple offers to privately fund the event, but he declined.

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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to anthony.gockowski@gmail.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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