Whether it’s for a wedding, business or event, 50th anniversaries are a cause for celebration. One Plymouth event is celebrating such a milestone this summer thanks to the hard work of volunteers and the community.
Initially started as an event to give the small but growing suburb of Plymouth a sense of identity, Music in Plymouth has since grown over its lifespan to an event that hosts nearly 15,000 people. This year, it’s celebrating its golden anniversary.
Al Hilde Jr., the mayor of Plymouth when the event started, created a committee along with Curtis Carlson, founder and CEO of Carlson Companies, to bring the Minnesota Orchestra into the city for a free concert. The committee, now known as the Plymouth Civic League, has continued to put the event
on every year since.
As attendance has grown, so have the venues. The event was first held in vacant parking lots in Plymouth’s Minneapolis Industrial Park. After a few years bouncing around different lots, it eventually moved to the Hilde Performance Center, which was constructed in 2002 after Hilde Jr. and his wife, Jayne, donated the money for its creation.
It takes a lot to put on an event like this for so long. Every member of the Plymouth Civic League is a volunteer, and they work hard to make the event work. It’s a year-round commitment to make sure the concert goes off without a hitch. “That group of people just makes it their labor of love,” says Mele Willis, the head of public relations for Music in Plymouth. “It’s a tremendous amount of work, and they do it with enthusiasm.”
Willis also credits the Plymouth community for the success of the event. The league relies on donations from the public and local businesses to support the event financially. If community members didn’t contribute, the event wouldn’t exist. “There’s a lovely cross-section of grassroot support for the event,” Willis says. “We don’t take that for granted.”
This year’s concert is on July 6th and has a big lineup. The Grammy-winning Okee Dokee Brothers kick things off in the evening, followed up by Charles Lazarus and the Steeles. Following their performance, the Minnesota Orchestra will once again take the stage for their typical primetime spot. Fireworks will follow the concert lineup.
Even if the music doesn’t peak someone’s interest, Willis still encourages people to come check out the event. There will be food trucks, activities for kids and it’s a great way to spend time with other community members. “There’s something for everyone,” Willis says. “Plus, it’s a summer evening in Minnesota. What’s not to love?”
People can find more information on the Music in Plymouth website, along with its Facebook page. There they can also donate to the event if they so desire. “It’s really kind of phenomenal being the 50th anniversary,” Willis says. “We’re looking forward to a full evening of celebration with the community.”