Rondo Days Celebrates St. Paul History

The history of Saint Paul’s Rondo neighborhood comes to life during Rondo Days.

For 33 years, the annual Rondo Days festival has celebrated the legacy and continuing vitality of the Rondo neighborhood, a predominantly African-American community that was largely displaced by the construction of Interstate 94 in the late 1950s.

The event is a chance to strengthen community ties and encourage cross-cultural connections, says Ronald Charles Buford, president of Rondo Avenue Inc.

This year’s highlights include the third annual Dance Crew Competition, hosted by Vanguard Consortium, from 7–10 p.m. on July 15 and the Northern Lights Drum and Drill Team Invitational, 4–8 p.m. on July 16 at Roy Wilkins Auditorium, which features teams from Minnesota and across the country.

“We want to be up to date with today’s community, so we have these forms of entertainment that are throwbacks, but with a new luster,” Buford says.

Saturday’s festivities include the Frank Adams 5K walk/run at 8:30 a.m., followed by a parade with floats, vintage cars and live music at 10 a.m. Local businesses will also be featured. In addition, during Rondo Days there will be a ground breaking ceremony for the new Rondo Commemorative Plaza, a space that will incorporate digital technology to let visitors experience Rondo past, present and future. According to Buford, the plaza is designed to be a place where people can see artifacts and, from a cultural perspective, get a sense of the Rondo neighborhood.

Rondo Days
July 12–16. All ages. Free. Drum and Drill Team Invitational tickets $20, 5K walk/run registration $10–$25. See website for full schedule of events and locations.