RDA Blog

Category: Events

Startup Weekend Rochester

Posted on October 24,2017

Want to learn how to transform an idea into a viable business concept? Participate in Rochester’s inaugural Startup Weekend. This event will take place from Friday November 3rd through Sunday November 5th at Collider Coworking in downtown Rochester.

Startup Weekend is an opportunity to connect with like-minded entrepreneurs, create an idea, and build the beginnings of a viable startup in fifty-four hours. The event is powered by Techstars, a global network that supports and encourages entrepreneurship. Techstars’ Startup Weekends take place in over 150 countries; 2.9K Startup Weekends have occurred to date.

Tags: Events

"It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year...STYLE time!"

Posted on September 25,2017

This year we celebrate the 10th year of STYLE! The show is quickly approaching, but we wanted to do things a little different this year, we want to give you a backstage pass to the life of one of our STYLE Models, Melissa McNallan. Melissa McNallan is a writer, marketer, and actor based in Rochester, Minnesota. Her big obsessions are fashion, fitness, and delicious (healthy) food. She is the publisher, editor, and creator of 40fitnstylish.com and today is our guest blog writer for STYLE. Below is her story and why she models every year for this fashion forward event. 

Each time I do STYLE, it’s like a reunion. Unlike a class reunion there’s no anxiety about my accomplishments, my weight, or my relationship status. Instead, it’s about great clothes, accessories, and the best mirrors around - those involved with STYLE.

Tags: Events

Cheers to 10 years!

Posted on August 21,2017

Cheers to 10 years of STYLE! STYLE will be returning on Thursday, September 28 with slight changes from previous years. Instead of STYLE on the Plaza, the event name has now been shortened to STYLE. The change of name comes with a change of location. The event will now be in the Kahler ballroom – Heritage Hall. This move will ensure the event goes on no matter the weather. This year, STYLE will be featuring clothing, accessories, and styling from 11 downtown businesses. There will be fashion featured for adults, young adults, and children.

This annual fashion show shines a light on the retail community that resides within downtown Rochester and what they can offer to the residents of downtown.

Participating businesses include:

With the help of these great downtown businesses and Lauren Scott, STYLE’s Fashion Coordinator for the third year in a row, the collections will be spectacular and will prepare you for this fall’s fashion season. Make note of any styles you love during the show because these collections will be readily accessible at each business as soon as the show ends. 

Do you want your chance to see what’s up and coming in the fashion world this fall? Check out our STYLE webpage for information on ticketing, entertainment, and the experience of STYLE 2017.

Tags: Events

Clements Subaru Loves Pets

Posted on July 30,2017

Dogs Downtown is quickly approaching and we couldn't be more excited. The event is happening Sunday, August 6th from 11AM to 3PM in the Peace Plaza. Dogs Downtown is free and open to the public featuring an array of activities for you and your furry friend. From free dog caricature drawings to free dog massages, there will be something for everyone to enjoy. With that being said, we all know that behind every great event is a great partner and this event is no different. We have partnered up with Clements Subaru, as they stay true to the Subaru Love Promise. With their five tiered program, they believe in supporting the community they love and it shows, especially their love for four-legged friends. 

Clements Subaru Loves Pets

Whether they live in your homes or in the wild, Subaru is committed to keeping all animals safe and healthy. Since 2008, Subaru has donated close to $14 million to the ASPCA and helped support nearly 1,000 pet adoption events, resulting in more than 11,500 adoptions to date. In addition to what Subaru has done for pets nationally, Clements Subaru locally has partnered with us for Dogs Downtown and works closely with Paws and Claws Humane Society. 

The Peace Plaza is going to be barking! So be sure to join Clements Subaru and all of our other great partners on Sunday, August 6th from 11AM to 3PM in the Peace Place. It's sure to be a howlin' good time! 

Tags: Events

'SocialICE' Kicks Off This Week in Rochester

Posted on February 7,2017

Video Credit: WCCO CBS

Tags: Events

SocialICE Insider's Guide: Entertianment

Posted on February 1,2017

Entertainment comes in many different shapes, sizes, and sounds. At SocialICE, attendees are treated to live DJs spinning hits and classics all evening. DJs are perched atop an impressive ice DJ booth, which is great for a statement or for a selfie. So who's performing this year?

Tags: Events

Get FREE popcorn this Thursday and Winter Clearance Sale begins today

Posted on January 18,2017

National Popcorn Day locations announced

Get your free bag of Carroll's Corn popcorn at:

Location 1: Subway Level, outside Associate Bank (101 1st Ave SW)
Location 2: Shops at University Square (111 S Broadway), first floor, by escalator

Thursday, January 19 is National Popcorn Day and what better way to celebrate the day than giving away free popcorn?

Tags: Entertainment | Shopping | Events

2017 SocialICE Ice Bars Announced

Posted on December 21,2016

2017 SocialICE participating ice bars and themes announced

SocialICE draws big crowds and one reason is the amazing uniquely themed ice bars that make up Rochester, MN's Ice Bar. Click here to see which bars will be at SocialICE 2017 and what theme to expect.

Tags: Events

Downtown Rochester events update for week of Nov 16 - Nov 23

Posted on November 16,2016

Next Week: 42nd Annual Here Comes Santa Claus

When: Friday, November 25, from 6 - 8:30 pm
Where: Old City Hall, Peace Plaza, Shops at University Square (111 S Broadway)

Here Comes Santa Claus,” downtown Rochester’s cherished holiday tradition, features appearances by Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, local celebrities, live entertainment, and Peace Plaza tree lighting ceremony.

Tags: Events

Halloween Fun, Women's Fall Expo & More

Posted on October 26,2016

Rochester Women's Fall Expo 2016

When: Saturday, Oct 29 from 9 am-4 pm
Where: Mayo Civic Center - 30 Civic Center Drive SE

Gather your girlfriends for a day of shopping, entertainment and FUN! The Rochester Women’s Fall Expo is back for its 20th year on Saturday, October 29th at the Mayo Civic Center. Enjoy over 100 exhibitors, a fashion show, cooking demonstration, guest speakers, and much more. Click here for more information.

Tags: Events

Fall Fest is this Saturday from 10 am - 2 pm

Posted on October 12,2016

Family-Friendly "Fall Fest" is this Saturday, and this is your guide

"Fall Fest," downtown Rochester's newest family-focused event, is this Saturday, October 15 from 10 am - 2 pm on the Peace Plaza.

Like getting instant Fall Fest updates? RSVP on our Facebook Event Page.

Tags: Events

Hello. We're Downtown Rochester

Posted on March 22,2016

© 2016 Rochester Downtown Alliance. All Rights Reserved

Downtown Rochester Stakeholder Celebration Highlights Downtown Stakeholders and Rochester Downtown Alliance History and Future.

What makes a downtown unique? Vibrant? Authentic? What makes it the place to be? It’s the people. The Community. It’s our heritage. It’s Our future. It’s our downtown.

People. Place. Experience. These are the focus of the Rochester Downtown Alliance (RDA) during our stakeholder celebration held on March 22. 

Tags: Events

Downtown Update with KROC Am: Monday, March 14

Posted on March 15,2016

Get the scoop on Rochester's hottest events with our monthly radio show thanks to KROC AM. Click to listen.

In this month's episode, we recap the first ever Ladies Night Out, summer events season, and the stART-up Fund.

Tags: Events

WCCO CBS: "Outdoor Ice Bar Coming to Downtown Rochester"

Posted on February 15,2016

©2016 CBS Local ©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved.

Tags: Events

2016 SocialICE Ice Bar Lineup

Posted on January 19,2016

Photo: "Candyland Ice Bar" by Chester's Kitchen & Bar

Have you ever wanted to sit on an ice throne? What about seeing a life-size ice sculpture of the Hulk or Willy Wonka? You can at SocialICE. SocialICE brings thousands to downtown Rochester to enjoy seven 12-foot uniquely designed and themed ice bars -- each with hand-crafted signature drinks, special-effects lighting, and life-size ice sculptures. 

We are excited to announce the seven participating bars for 2016:


#SocialICE Photo Contest

With such a variety of participating bars and themes, SocialICE makes for the best one of a kind photos. That's why we've included the #SocialICE Photo Contest. We’re giving away a $25 gift card from each of the seven ice bar establishments (listed above). That’s seven chances to win! To enter, post photos from SocialICE on Instagram and/or Twitter using #SocialICE. Click here for more info.

So what are the themes this year? You'll have to attend SocialICE - Rochester Minnesota's Ice Bar, on Feb 18 - 20 to find out! More information at DowntownRochesterMN.com/SocialICE.

Tags: Events

Downtown Update with KROC am: Monday, November 9

Posted on November 10,2015

Get the scoop on Rochester's hottest events with our monthly radio show thanks to KROC AM. Click to listen.

In this month's episode, we try to figure our how Santa keeps getting stuck on top of Old City Hall, and we encourage everyone to Shop Small for a big impact this holiday season.

Tune-in to KROCam's Rochester's Good Morning on the second Monday of every month to catch the live show.

Click here to listen.

Tags: Events

Rochester Fashion Blog: Five colors to shop this autumn season

Posted on September 16,2015

As the seasons change, so do the trending colors in clothing. This season you’ll see a mix of bright and daring. Here are five colors bound to make an appearance this autumn:

Head-To-Toe BLACK. The color will NEVER go out of style. It’s a staple that belongs in everyone’s closet and always adds a slimming effect. Mix textures or add sparkle to break up the monochromatic look.

Cream. Even though black is having a moment, the opposite color, cream, is competing as well. Intricate patterns and embroidery (think lace) help bring an elegant feel.

Blood Orange and Tangerine. Orange is making a statement in many unique ways. This dramatic color will pop up where it’s least expected: jacket linings, accents on scarves, and trims on sporty vest.

Wine Red. Bold and sophisticated, Wine Red’s richness is perfect for an upscale look. As the leaves change, this color brings warmth and excitement.

Olive Green. A strong, earthy tone that’s dependable as the weather cools. Enough to stand on its own or compliment another color, Olive Green creates an inviting, comfortable look.

While many other colors will be emerging this season, these five colors are having a major moment. Style on the Plaza is a perfect way to see how these colors can be worn. The event will be held on September 17, 2015 in the Peace Plaza. You can buy your tickets on the Rochester Downtown Alliance website. 

- Lauren

Lauren Smith is the Fashion Coordinator of STYLE on the Plaza – Downtown Rochester's Premier Fall Fashion Show, and author of the fashion blog Outfit a Day. Follow her on Twitter (@smithlrn) or Instagram (@outfitaday365) for your daily dose of fashion happiness.

Tags: Events

Rochester Fashion Blog: Autumn trends you'll be seeing on the Streets

Posted on September 15,2015

As the weather begins to transition from hot and humid to breezy and cool, new clothing trends emerge on the streets of downtown Rochester. Layers of clothing will pile up as the cool air moves in and the leaves begin to fall. There are ways to take any outfit suited for colder weather  to the next level; making it fashionable yet functional.

From t-shirts to duffel coats, and every layer in-between, you can add a little texture and pizazz with the upcoming trends for autumn:

Statement Sparkle. Take any outfit and step it up with layers of sparkle. From earrings to bracelets and rings, sparkle and shine will help draw major attention to a simple outfit.

Velvet. A sultry fabric that doesn’t get much credit for it’s unique look and texture. You’ll be seeing it pop up in interesting places: crop tops, flowing skirts, and accents on purses.

Fur. Whether you prefer the faux or real, there will be fur EVERYWHERE. A piece to invest in this season is the fur stole, which will add a vintage, lady-like feel to a modern outfit.

Puffer Coats. Not you typical ski slope coat either. This season’s puffer coats will include interesting cuts, fur trim, and bold colors. Stay warm and stylish as autumn transitions into winter.

Turtlenecks. Layered under a shift dress, paired with a high-waisted skirt, or worn with a fur vest, turtlenecks are the HOT item for the cooler weather.

Style on the Plaza is an excellent event to see how these trends, and many more, can be worn this season. The event will be held on September 17, 2015 in the Peace Plaza. You can buy your tickets on the Rochester Downtown Alliance website. Which trend are you most excited to try?

- Lauren

Lauren Smith is the Fashion Coordinator of STYLE on the Plaza – Downtown Rochester's Premier Fall Fashion Show, and author of the fashion blog Outfit a Day. Follow her on Twitter (@smithlrn) or Instagram (@outfitaday365) for your daily dose of fashion happiness.

Rochester Fashion Blog is a two part blog series featuring the latest locally-made fashion tips.


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Tags: Events

Downtown Update with KROC am: Monday, September 14, 2015

Posted on September 14,2015

Get the scoop on Rochester's hottest events with our monthly radio show thanks to KROC AMClick to listen. This week we recap Thursdays on First & 3rd, talk fashion with STYLE on the Plaza - downtown Rochester's premier fall fashion show, and upcoming holiday activities.

Click here to listen.

Tags: Events

2015 Calendar of Events

Posted on March 19,2015

Download a copy

Download a copy

Tags: Events

2015 #SocialICE Photo Contest Winners!

Posted on February 25,2015

Congratulations to our Winners!

First Place: @regullerud

Second Place: @amandasuecrawley

Third Place: @emily.groth

With over 880 contest entries, voting was tough. We would like to thank everyone for participating in this year's #SocialICE photo contest. Be on the look out for more online contests in the future.

Tags: Events

SocialICE Survival Guide issue 4: Best SocialICE Ever

Posted on February 18,2015

By now, we've given you some of the best tips and tricks to navigating your way to the best SocialICE ever. Now it's time to pull it all together into one neat little package.

  1. Getting around the city during SocialICE: Get from the Peace Plaza to other downtown bars and restaurants with FREE trolley service thanks to our friends at the Rochester Trolley Tour & Co. Service runs every 15 minutes, every night during SocialICE from 7pm - 10:30pm. Click for detailed schedule and stops.
  2. #SocialICE Photo Contest: Tag your photos taken at SocialICE on Instagram or Twitter with #SocialICE for a chance to win some huge prizes. First place prize is two airline tickets compliments of Rochester International Airport. Runner up and third place prizes are available too!
  3. Get to know the Ice Bars: There will be seven ice bars at SocialICE and each will be serving up signature SocialICE drinks. We also put together this nifty video for a sneak peak at some of the bars, their themes, and of course, their signature drinks!
  4. And finally...Download the official SocialICE 2015 Brochure: Click here to view the brochure.


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Tags: Entertainment | Events

Social Ice Survival Guide Issue 3: Ice Bars and Staying Warm

Posted on February 11,2015

SocialICE is just as much about the ice bars as it is about the activities! So we thought we'd put together this handy ice bar guide, so you can easily find your way to some of your favorite bars and restaurants that will be hosting them. (Skyway runs North and South)

Vote for Your Favorite Ice Bar

And while you're at it, vote for your favorite theme! This year marks the beginning of the first ever SocialICE Ice Bar Champions Cup! The ice bar with the best theme as chosen by the crowed will take home the SocialICE Ice Bar Champions Cup traveling trophy. Voting will take place at the information kiosk located at the east end of the Peace Plaza (east of the 1st Ave pedestrian crossing) near the Walk of Ice ice-sculpture garden.

Tips for Staying Warm

What’s the best way to stay warm at SocialICE? Keep moving and walk your way to all 7 bars, of course! But here's a few other tips and pointers to help you stay warm during Rochester Minnesota's Ice Bar.

  1. Layering – wear several layers of clothing. This will help to create air between the layers which will insulate and help ventilate your core.
  2. AVOID COTTON - cotton binds moisture and then has a chilling effect. Wool is your best friend during a MN winter.
  3. Bigger shoes – choose footwear that is a little roomier to allow for those cozy wool socks.
  4. Wind protection – a waterproof outer shell is key to guarding against any wind when amongst downtown buildings.
  5. Top it off – A good hat and is crucial. It should protect not only your head, but your ears, and neck. Gloves come in a variety of styles, but our favorites are the kind that you can use with your smart phone. #SocialICE

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Tags: Entertainment | Events

Downtown Update with KROC AM: SocialICE is Feb 19 - 21 and Thursdays on First Vendor Applications Available today!

Posted on February 9,2015

Downtown Update with KROC AM radio show:

Get the scoop on Rochester's hottest and (coldest!) events with our monthly radio show thanks to KROC AM. Click to listen.

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Tags: Entertainment | Thursdays on first & 3rd | Events

Social Ice Survival Guide Issue 2: Ice Bars, Selfie sticks, and FREE airline tickets—Need we say more?

Posted on February 4,2015

Your vacation dreams are one snapshot away! 

Tag #SocialICE on Instagram & Twitter when you post pictures from the event, and be entered to win TWO AIRLINE TICKETS* from the Rochester International Airport! Don’t be worried about finding that perfect lighting or backdrop; there are seven unique bar themes to create that ideal photo opp. Need some photo assistance? We’ve got you covered—selfie sticks will be available for your use! Find them at the information kiosk. 

Enter in 4 easy steps!

  1. Go to SocialICE on Feb. 19, 20, or 21.
  2. Snap a photo at the event. 
  3. Post your photo on Instagram or Twitter using #SocialICE.
  4. Visit SocialICE.SeenMoments.com and click "Register" to enter—Registration opens Feb. 19

Double your chances- Find the Rochester International Airport ice-sculpture (located on the west side of 1st Ave.) and snap a photo or selfie with it to double your chances to win! Follow the same steps above to enter. 

Even if you don’t take home the grand prize, you can dream of a shopping spree with the runner up getting a $50 Downtown gift card, and third place taking home a $25 gift card.

*Tickets in the form of one airline voucher valued at $600 or two airline vouchers valued at $300 each. **Certain restrictions apply.
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Tags: Events

SocialICE Survival Guide Issue 1: Getting around the city - Trolley style

Posted on January 27,2015

SocialICE is a can’t miss event for Minnesotan’s and visitors alike. But let’s be honest – we’re all explorers at heart, and we love to venture when we get the chance.

That’s why we want everyone at SocialICE to have the opportunity to enjoy all of Downtown every night! The Rochester Trolley and Tours Co. will be offering FREE trolley service to and from SocialICE to various downtown bars and restaurants from 7pm – 10:30pm each night! You can take in all the sights, sounds, contests, and cold temps of SocialICE knowing a welcoming (and heated!) bar or restaurant is less than a 15 minute trolley ride away!

Stops and Schedule:

Starting at 7pm: Board on 1st Ave SW outside Marriott & U.S. Bank Building. Service runs every 15 minutes. Last service boards at 10:15pm

 Pick Up  1st Ave SW outside Marriott & U.S. Bank Building
 Stop 1  Dooley’s Pub (Boards/Drop off at front door) 
 Stop 2    The Loop (Boards/Drop off at the corner of 1st Ave SW and 3rd St SW crosswalk)
 Stop 3  Kathy’s Pub (Board/Drop off at corner of Historic 3rd and Broadway)
 Stop 4  The Tap House/The Doggery/The Half Barrel (Board/Drop off in front of The Tap House)
 Return  1st Ave SW outside Marriott & U.S. Bank Building (Repeat route)

Need a ride to SocialICE from one of these locations? No problem. The Trolley runs every 15 minutes. Just hop on / hop off.

The SocialICE Survival Guide is a four part series offering tips, tricks, contests updates,and more -- helping you navigate your way to the best-SocialICE-ever! A new issue will be released each Wednesday leading up to SocialICE.


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Tags: Entertainment | Events

Downtown Update with KROC AM: New year brings the hottest ( and coldest!) Rochester events

Posted on January 13,2015

Downtown Update with KROC AM radio show:

Get the scoop on Rochester's hottest and (coldest!) events with our monthly radio show thanks to KROC AM. Click to listen.

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Tags: Entertainment | Thursdays on first & 3rd | Events

New Years Eve 2014

Posted on December 30,2014

Here we go #RochMN. Time to Ring It In! New Year's Eve is upon us, and that means celebration, laughter, and of course, the countdown! This is your guide to a flawless NYE complete with tips for a healthier 2015. Where will you be counting down this NYE? 



The Night is Young

With many bars and restaurants featuring live music and entertainment, Downtown Rochester is the place to be this New Year's Eve 2014.


After the Ball Drops

The party doesn't end when the clock strikes midnight. Downtown nightlife scene. Check out our great selection of bars and pubs.


Get Healthier in 2015

With the new year comes New Year's resolutions. And it's no surprise that one of the most popular has to do with getting healthier. So here's a tip-of-the-hat to a few places that could help you stay fit for 2015.


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Tags: Entertainment | Food | Events

December 12, 2014 - Downtown Rochester TOP 5

Posted on December 12,2014

We've grouped a few of our favorite live performances and art & culture events -- even with a chance to participate!

Music & Performance

Little Big Town 
When: Friday, December 12, 2014 • 7:30 pm
Where: Mayo Civic Center 

Alex Rossi and Root City (Free) 
When: Saturday, December 13th at 8:00pm
Where: Kathy's Pub

When: Saturday, Dec 13 at 3PM and 7PM, Sunday, Dec 14 at 2PM
Where: Mayo Civic Center 

Art & Culture

Dedicated: 30 Days of Art part II 
When: Saturday, December 13, 2014 • 5PM -10 PM
Where: C4 the Salon  


Artist In Residence - Jennifer Jesseph 
When: Sunday, December 14, 2014 • 1:30 PM - 4:30 PM
Where: Rochester Public Library 

See a full list of events on our calendar.

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Tags: Entertainment | Events | Art & Culture

Thanksgiving in Rochester

Posted on November 26,2014

Here for the Holiday? 5 Things To-Do Downtown Over the Thanksgiving Day Weekend.


Tags: Entertainment | Events

City Officially Proclaims Saturday after Thanksgiving "Small Business Saturday"

Posted on November 14,2014

The staff at the RDA is excited to announce that the City of Rochester has officially announce the Saturday after Thanksgiving as "Small Business Saturday."

Signed by Mayor Ardell F. Brede, the proclamation comes just as the RDA prepares for its first official Small Business Saturday event taking place Downtown Rochester!

The proclamation states the importance of small business on our community and the local economy.
It reads, “…according to the United States Small Business Administration, there are currently 23 million small businesses in the US, they represent more than 99 percent of American employer firms…and employ over 55 percent of the working population…”

About Small Business Saturday in Downtown Rochester, Nov 29:

We will also have some awesome family friendly activities like the city's tradition of saving Santa off the roof of Old City Hall, free trolley rides, and special book reading with Santa! Click here for a comprehensive schedule of events.

Click here for the official press release.

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Tags: Entertainment | Shopping | Events


Posted on October 8,2014

Explore MN Features Rochester in Commercial

Check out this commercial created by Explore Minnesota. Can you spot where Downtown Rochester is featured? Have you been to that spot?



Video compliments of Explore Minnesota.

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Tags: Entertainment | Events | Lifestyle

Downtown Farmers Market is BACK!

Posted on May 2,2014

As we retire our winter jackets and boots in exchange for tank tops and sandals, one thing comes to mind: the farmers market. Nothing signifies the arrival of warmer months more than that!

The first market of the season will be on Saturday, May 3 from 7:30 a.m. – noon in the parking lot located at 4th St & 4th Ave SE (and every subsequent Saturday through October).

Rochester’s downtown farmers market boasts a variety of vendors, all of whom are local growers who live and farm/garden within 50 miles of Rochester.

In early spring, market attendees can expect to find a selection of in-season produce including asparagus, spinach, watercress, lettuce, arugula, rhubarb, morel and shitake mushrooms, salad mixes, sprouts, ramps (wild leeks), green onions, mustard greens, radishes, edible flowers, and shallots.

In addition to produce, the market also offers an assortment of other locally-sourced items such as flower & herb starters, meat, eggs, various dairy products, jams & jellies, maple syrup, pasta, goat milk soap, and baked goods.

Shopping at the farmers market is a great way to get a variety of fresh and organic foods and helps to support our local farmers.

Make sure to ‘like’ the Rochester Downtown Farmers Market Facebook page for weekly updates and healthy recipe ideas!

Written by: Jeanette Caban

Jeanette is on the RDFM advisory board – a committee that strives to improve and promote the market. Jeanette works as a Communications Coordinator at the Post-Bulletin by day and spends her free time DIYing, urban gardening, running and crafting up new vegetarian recipes. Check out some of her projects on her blog, SimplyChic.

Tags: Food | Shopping | Events

Studs, Struts and Stilettos, a Construction Fashion Show Exposé

Posted on April 24,2014

This Thursday night a fusion of fashion and construction will come together in the first ever ‘Studs, Struts and Stilettos’ construction fashion exposé taking place at the DoubleTree Hilton in downtown. This unique event will showcase the creativity and resourcefulness of Rochester’s building industry while raising funds for Rochester Area Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to build simple, decent, affordable housing for people in our community who are economically challenged.  

The catwalk will encompass a variety of distinct designs, all featuring at least one element made exclusively with building materials. The judges will present awards for the following:

  • Best Use of Recycled Materials
  • Best Use of Construction Materials
  • Most Wearable
  • Bling Factor
  • Best of Show
  • People's Choice

Come on out to this one-of-a-kind community event and show your support for local builders, designers and the Rochester Habitat for Humanity!

The details…

Where? DoubleTree by Hilton ● When? Thursday, April 24 @ 7 p.m. ● Cost? $25 advance, $30 at door, $50 VIP.

Learn more about this event, here

Written by: Jeanette Caban

Bio: Meet Jeanette Caban, the RDA’s newest guest blogger! Jeanette lives in Rochester and works at the Post-Bulletin as a Communications Coordinator. In her spare time she enjoys tackling home improvement projects, thrifting, gardening, and cooking – all of which she shares on personal lifestyle blog, SimplyChic. Welcome, Jeanette!​


Tags: Entertainment | Events

Celebrate Earth Month: 'A Litter Bit Better'

Posted on April 22,2014

April is Earth Month and I’m eager to do my part in making our community a little “greener.” Interested in joining me?

The last week of April marks the 8th annual ‘A Litter Bit Better’ event. This city-wide litter clean-up effort serves as a great opportunity to get involved in working toward making our downtown community more attractive. From April 19-26, volunteers from Rochester neighborhoods, businesses, groups, and individuals are invited to take part in this popular event.

Aside from cleaning up our city, volunteers can feel good knowing they are helping the environment and making a positive impact overall.

Is there an area of downtown that you are particularly fond of? You can cater your clean-up to that specific spot! Simply complete the registration form online and contact Mike Kraszewski, Rochester Public Works Department, with any questions at 507.328.2431 or mkraszewski@rochestermn.gov.

Fun fact: Earth day (April 22) marks the anniversary of what many consider the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. It was founded by Gaylord Nelson, a preceding U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after he witnessed the devastation caused by the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, CA.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up today and let’s make Rochester ‘a litter bit better’!

Written by: Jeanette Caban

Bio: Meet Jeanette Caban, the RDA’s newest guest blogger! Jeanette lives in Rochester and works at the Post-Bulletin as a Communications Coordinator. In her spare time she enjoys tackling home improvement projects, thrifting, gardening, and cooking – all of which she shares on personal lifestyle blog, SimplyChic. Welcome, Jeanette!​


Tags: Events

Downtown's 12 Favorite Things: Glow with the Show

Posted on December 5,2013

Written by: Gabriel Yeager

"Glow with the show" this Saturday, December 7th at the official City of Rochester tree lighting ceremony. New to "Here Comes Santa Claus"  this year, event attendees can enjoy live entertainment on the Peace Plaza beginning at 1:30 pm. The heart-warming entertainment features dance performances, Christmas caroling, youth singers, and theater acts. The holiday cheer continues at 5:00 pm with the lighting of the beautifully decorated two-story City tree. Join the magic and light your complimentary tea light when the countdown strikes zero. Take an evening stroll in the Peace Plaza winter wonderland with complimentary hot chocolate and cookies served from the Information Kiosk.

Saturday's entertainment features Rochester Dance Company's The Nutcracker from 1:30 pm - 1:50 pm. Pure Rock Studios features young talented musicians from 2:00 pm - 2:20 pm. The Otherwise Actors features a theater troupe from 2:30 pm - 2:50 pm. The Rochester Symphony Orchestra & Chorale will be performing your favorite a cappella holiday carols from 3:00 pm - 3:20 pm. Join Rochester International Dance and "shimmy" your way into the holidays from 3:30 pm - 3:50 pm. Sam Butterfass, a local high school student and talented singer performs from 4:00 pm - 4:20 pm. The Words Players Theatre performs selections from "The Spirit of Christmas Past: A Christmas Carol" from 4:30 pm - 5:00 pm. Then, don't miss Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, and the Mayor flip the switch and illuminate the holiday season!

For complete event details, visit:

Here Comes Santa Claus

Next week on the RDA Blog: Looking for the perfect gift? The Downtown Rochester Gift Card debuts this holiday season!

Tags: Events

Downtown's 12 Favorite Things: Here Comes Santa

Posted on December 3,2013


Written by: Gabriel Yeager

Run, run Rudolph, Santa's got to make it downtown! The Rochester Downtown Alliance celebrates the holiday season and proudly presents "Here Comes Santa Claus" this Saturday, December 7th. The festivities kickoff at 1:00 pm with Santa Claus's magical roof-top landing on Old City Hall (224 1st Ave SW). Join the Rochester Fire Department and Mrs. Claus as we rescue Santa and welcome him to downtown Rochester. Following Santa's arrival, join Southern Touch Photography inside Barnes & Noble for free enchanting pictures with Santa under the castle's archway. Don't forget to stop by the store's children section for stories read by Mrs. Claus. No need to haul that stroller throughout the day. Take advantage of our new stroller valet located on the Peace Plaza. Leave your stroller with us and pick it up at the end of the night.

Climb aboard the Rochester Trolley, loading outside the Marriott hotel for a free 15 minute ride around downtown, compliments of the Rochester Trolley & Tour Company. Complimentary hot chocolate and cookies will also be served from the Information Kiosk on the Peace Plaza.

New to the event this year, you and your family can enjoy live stage entertainment between 1:30 and 5:00 pm in the Peace Plaza winter wonderland!  Then, join Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, and the Mayor at 4:45 pm for the official City tree lighting ceremony!

Check out the RDA Blog this Thursday for your opportunity to "glow with the show," as we feature Saturday's heart-warming entertainment and tree lighting ceremony!

For complete event details, please visit:

Here Comes Santa Claus

Tags: Entertainment | Events

Downtown’s 12 Favorite Things: Festival of Trees

Posted on November 29,2013


Written by: Gabriel Yeager

Contributing Source: Post Bulletin

After enjoying your Thanksgiving Day turkey, carve out time for all the holiday entertainment downtown has to offer now through New Year's Eve. Kick off your holiday season with the 28th annual Hiawatha Homes Foundation's Festival of Trees. The magic unfolded Tuesday, November 26th and transformed the Mayo Civic Center's Exhibit Hall into a beautifully decorated forest of Christmas trees. Week-long activities include senior citizen luncheons and style shows, children activities, including a visit from Santa Claus, gingerbread house decorating, dance parties, and a holiday gift boutique open now through Sunday, December 1st.

The holiday festivities at the Mayo Civic Center continue throughout the month of December with an array of concerts and dance performances. Riverside Live! presents Canadian Brass on December 1st and Yule Fest on December 7th. Country star Trace Adkins takes the stage on December 13th and Lorie Line wraps up the holiday season with her annual concert on December 23rd. Throughout December, dance performances include: Allegro's "Marushka and the Four Seasons"Janet Lang/Goodman Production's "Holiday Magic"; Rochester Dance Company's "The Nutcracker"; and Minnesota Ballet Theater's "Joy".

For complete event details, visit:

Mayo Civic Center

Next on the RDA Blog: Here Comes Santa Claus!

Tags: Entertainment | Events

Downtown’s 12 Favorite Things: White Hot Deals

Posted on November 26,2013

Written by: Gabriel Yeager

'Twas the night before Whiteout Wednesday and all through downtown, merchants were busy the clock around! This Wednesday, November 27th marks the fourth annual Whiteout Wednesday holiday shopping extravaganza in downtown Rochester. Caitlin Stephenson of the Rochester Downtown Alliance says "the event is a one day shopping event designed to bring shoppers downtown and expose them to the great businesses we have to offer. We have so many unique stores; therefore we dedicate one of our signature events to downtown shopping." This year, there are more doorbuster deals than ever before. 47 businesses will be participating this year, which is up from 35 in 2012.

The RDA also encourages the community to "Shop Small" on Saturday, November 30th. Small Business Saturday is a nation-wide day dedicated to supporting small businesses. The event is designed to support small businesses that stimulate the economy and keep the downtown community prospering. The event was founded by American Express in 2010.

Whiteout Wednesday's "deals so good they can't wait 'til Black Friday" and Small Business Saturday are two reasons why you can start checking off your holiday shopping list early this year.

For complete event details, visit the RDA website:

Whiteout Wednesday

Small Business Saturday

Next on the RDA Blog: Festival of Trees and a holiday concert preview!

Tags: Shopping | Events

Life of an Intern - A Change in the Weather

Posted on June 19,2013

It’s amazing how the simplest of things can have an absolutely astounding impact.  We have had two Thursdays on First so far, and these two events have been more opposite than I can adequately describe.  Fire and ice? Honey and vinegar? Harry Potter and Twilight? All similes fall short of the magnitude of contrast needed to bring this point home.  Although our first week had a better turnout than what was expected, the second week (June 13) blew away all expectations with what was sure to be a record breaking crowd.  At the end of the day, I find myself wondering, what factors contributed to this stark change from one week to the next?

Now, the easy answer would be the weather on the 13th of June was beautiful (Sunny with a light breeze and temperatures in the mid-70s) and people were simply itching to get outside.  But I can’t help but believe that there is more to this than meets the eye. 

I have come to gather that Rochester Downtown Alliance is not small potatoes in the garden of nonprofits.  They operate like a serious business, with unique motivations focused on serving the downtown area and Rochester community.  I fully believe that the multitudes at Thursdays on First did not end up there by happenstance, or simply because the weather was agreeable, but instead because of a well-planned out strategy that is continually unfolding year after year.  It would not surprise me if Thursdays like the 13th of June become the norm, instead of just an exceptional day.

Tags: Thursdays on first & 3rd | Life of an Intern | Events

Life of an Intern - The First of First and 3rd

Posted on June 12,2013

Last week was the first official Thursdays on First and 3rd and my first official experience working behind the scenes of this enormous event.  Although the festival doesn’t start until 11am, our day began at 6:30am, an hour I haven’t had to pay attention to for a long time… 

As I was walking up to the Peace Plaza to meet the other Rochester Downtown Alliance staff members at the information kiosk, I can remember three key emotions overwhelming me; anxiety, terror and excitement.  Anxiety because I had never done most of the tasks I had been assigned, and I didn’t want to mess up royally on the first go around.  Terror because I knew I would be without the aid and advice of the RDA staff for a majority of the morning load-in process.  Lastly, excitement because despite the fear and nerves, I knew this was exactly where I wanted to be.

Growing up, I was never the girl who had her wedding day all planned out by age 10, nor was I ever on the prom committee, or even fundraising for student counsel, but somehow I often found myself organizing and coordinating nonetheless.  Although I always enjoyed bringing people together through events and activities, I never thought of it as a career option.  College, thankfully, changed that.  After a year of attempting to convince myself that clinical lab science was my calling, I finally dropped that illusion once intro to chemistry kicked my butt… for the second time.  I quickly switched to Communications and never looked back.

Tags: Entertainment | Thursdays on first & 3rd | Life of an Intern | Events

Life of an Intern - Gearing Up

Posted on June 5,2013

Hello, my name is Raquel Grad and I am the RDA intern for the summer of 2013.  I have had some interaction with RDA events over the past year, but I am excited to begin learning what happens behind the curtain.  I have been coming to the offices of RDA now for almost 3 weeks and already I have learned and experienced so much.  What I find most fascinating so far is how hands-on the staff is with every event they host and assist with.  All the staff members I work with have gone out on several occasions to walk events spaces, monitor events and gather necessary supplies for events.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a weekend, during office hours or late in the evening, the staff is dedicated to making sure things run smooth. 

It’s no surprise that event planning is a hands-on occupation, but the dedication of the RDA members goes above and beyond expectations.  One of my first personal experiences with this happened on Friday, May 31st.  Beginning at 8am, RDA staff and volunteers began work on stuffing 5,000 bags to hand out during Thursdays on First and 3rd.  The morning began with transporting box after box of sponsor materials from the basement storage room to an offsite location, then, of course, unloading them all in our work space.  All of this was done exclusively by staff personnel.  Then the real fun began.  After staff finished setting up four assembly lines, the volunteers began showing up for their assigned shifts and things really got rolling.  Staff and volunteers walked back and forth, stuffing bags, dropping them off and beginning again in an efficient, flowing loop. 

Tags: Entertainment | Thursdays on first & 3rd | Life of an Intern | Events


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Rochester, MN 55902



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