Start-Up Event Grant

The Rochester Downtown Alliance (RDA) is seeking partners to bring fresh ideas, energy, and audiences to downtown as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and is now accepting applications for the Start-Up Event Grant. Applicants may apply for up to $3,000 in funds to host new, pandemic-appropriate events or passive activities, or programs in downtown Rochester through the remainder of 2022.

Additional funding from Destination Medical Center was made available to expand the program and support a larger number of events in 2022.

Receiving Start-Up Event Grant funds in 2022 are the following organizations and individuals:

  • $3,000: ICAM Utsav Color Run and Food Mela by Indian Cultural Association of Minnesota
    • This this is a fun event that incorporates the Indian festival Holi (Festival of Colors) and typical summer fun activities (food, music, 5K run). ICAM hopes to provide opportunity for the Rochester community to learn about the Festival of Colors as well as be a part of the energetic outdoor activities.
  • $3,000: Butterfly Festival by Listos Preschool and Childcare
    • The family-friendly event will be themed around Monarch butterflies and beautiful connection between Minnesota and Mexico, with the butterflies’ migration touching both places. The event would feature cultural displays and performances about the monarch's roots in Mexican culture and the Day of the Dead. There will also be children’s activities and art and food vendors.
  • $3,000: The Night market by Tiffany Alexandria
    • The Night Market was a hit in 2021, and this year, the event organizer will attempt to create an even more authentic experience. The Night Market is not just a community gathering event; it is also an incubator to support small and first-time BIPOC businesses. By creating a series of smaller events before the last big event, organizers hope to encourage and help first-time business owners and event vendors have more opportunities to learn whether the products they're selling are viable for the community.
  • $2,900: Heart of Our City Exhibit and Art Walk by Lisa Higgs
    • An exhibition at Threshold Arts and Art Walk locations throughout the downtown special service district to encourage exploration of the area.
  • $2,500: Ethiopian Heritage Day by the Ethiopian Community of Rochester
    • The main goal is to showcase our culture, to create a welcoming environment, and to connect with the community at large. Activities include hair braiding, dress up, coloring, dance, serving meals in custom Gursha (friendly meal sharing practice in Ethiopia), an Ethiopian coffee ceremony, music, and dance performance.
  • $2,375: Kidical Mass Family Bike Ride by We Bike Rochester
    • The event is a large group bicycle ride that focuses on a safe and fun event for all ages and abilities to enjoy biking in Rochester. If you’ve ever wanted to join a bike parade and ride self-paced, car-free loops around the river downtown, this is your chance!
  • $2,000: Med City Art Festivalby Ivete Martinez
    • Med City Art Festival is a free festival for the public with a mission is to expose and educate our attendees with a wide range of artistic experiences that engage, excite, and inspire them.
  • $1,100: Mixed Precipitation Pickup Truck Opera by the Rochester Art Center
    • A full operetta performance (about 90 minutes) performed in the back of a pickup truck. Mixed Precipitation brings a vibrant energy wherever they perform. Humor and wit, blended with the age-old sagas make their performances fun, approachable and uplifting.
  • $625: Burlesque on Broadway by Out Rochester
    • Burlesque on Broadway invites guests to enjoy a burlesque performance by Burly Bluffs, sip on hand-crafted cocktails, and support both an underrepresented artform and community of people at this 18+ event.
  • $500: Murder Mystery Party by the Rochester Public Library
    • There has been a murder at the library. Participants will be invited to visit the library after hours and explore the library while solving a fun murder mystery. They will come across puzzles and clues they can use to solve the mystery. Everyone who solves the mystery will get a small prize, with larger prizes available for fastest group and best costumes.
  • $500: That 70’s Halloween Celebration by LTN Music
    • This celebration will be hosted by local band The Soul Train. Participants are asked to dress in 70's costumes. There will be dancing, appetizers for general admission, and seated dinner for VIP ticket holders.
  • $500: Songwriters in the Round at Treedome by Patrick Egan
    • The event will have two sets of music, where three artists will share songs and tell stories behind them in what is called a round, sometimes called a Nashville Round, with each artist taking turns playing a song in rotation.

What is Start-Up Event Grant funding?

Up to $3,000 per event/activity/program is possible for new to downtown activities, programs, events, or event series. Individuals, businesses, community groups, and organizations may apply.

  • Due to the continued uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, RDA is expanding this grant application to include passive programs (pop-up parks, public art installations, small music series, etc.) in addition to events. Any activity that can demonstrate an ability to safely bring audiences downtown will be considered.

Grant requirements

Post-event documentation: 

  • Any remaining receipts and invoices relating to RDA’s funding for the event/activity/program.

  • Summary of event attendance and other key metrics.

Marketing requirements:

  • The Downtown Rochester logo must be incorporated in any print or digital promotions. Downtown Rochester logos amend usage guidelines are available here.
  • Websites, social media, or blogs must have a link directly to the website.
  • Promotions must also state that the event is funded in part by a Start-Up Event Grant from the Rochester Downtown Alliance.
  • For questions, please contact Katie Adelman, RDA director of content and communications, at


Contact Kanika Couchene
Director of events & strategic partnerships or 507-216-9884

New to Event Planning?

Click here to access our First-Time Event Planning Guide to help you plan your next event downtown.

Past Start-Up Grant Funded Event Photos