Super Bowl LII is set to transform Minneapolis; Northside is no exception

Photo courtesy of Lane Pelovsky.

Photo courtesy of Lane Pelovsky.

By Cirien Saadeh and Kenzie O’Keefe | Staff

Downtown may be the epicenter of February’s Super Bowl celebrations, but without North Minneapolis, the festivities would be lacking fashion shows, food pop-ups, and other opportunities to see how our city really lives and celebrates.

Juxtaposition Arts receives their $50K grant from the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee Legacy Fund.  Photo courtesy of Steffenhagen Photography

Juxtaposition Arts receives their $50K grant from the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee Legacy Fund. Photo courtesy of Steffenhagen Photography

Legacy Fund gives game-changing grants: Juxtaposition Arts, Appetite for Change, the Minneapolis Public Schools Culinary and Wellness Services Center, North Market, and Anwatin Middle School were all awarded grants of $50K+ as part of the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee Legacy Fund’s 52 weeks of statewide giving for Super Bowl 52. Both their first and last grants were given in North Minneapolis. “It was a happy accident that we’ve come full circle,” said Dana Nelson, Vice President of Legacy and Community Partnerships at the MNSBHC.

Business agreements draw from North: 268 businesses, from food vendors, to entertainers, to marketing and media firms, have agreements with the NFL for the Super Bowl.  Many of those are North Minneapolis businesses. Some, like Avenue Eatery and Breaking Bread, have been repeatedly hired by the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee for work during the two and a half years leading up to the Super Bowl, said VP of Business Connect and Corporate Affairs, Alex Tittle. Others have top secret agreements – meant to preserve the “wow factor” – that will be made public during the festivities. Long term, Tittle says the diverse business database he has developed will offer connections for others to make with veteran, minority, women, and LGBTQ-owned businesses. “We’re eliminating excuses,” he said.  “We do appreciate the support from the Super Bowl business connect and resource guide as it has garnered interest from a number of companies and have gotten contracts from those resources,” said Sheltonn Johnson of Avenue Eatery.

North High will be on the field: To recognize their accomplishments as a team in the past couple years, the North High football team has been invited to US Bank Stadium the Friday before the Super Bowl. “This is a tremendous honor,” said Dana Nelson, Vice President of Legacy and Community Partnerships at the MNSBHC. The team’s coach, Charles Adams III, also received two tickets to the game. “To be the first Minneapolis team to win a state title in, what was it, 40 years? They’re just such a great Cinderella story,” said Nelson. 

Photo courtesy of Andres Perez.

Photo courtesy of Andres Perez.

Black Excellence: Designer, culture maker, and barber shop owner Houston White hopes the Super Bowl will bring his locally beloved brand, Black Excellence, national recognition. “The world is coming to Minnesota and they’re going to be looking for authenticity,” White said a few weeks before the big game. He plans to do a pop-up clothing shop at a celebrity bowling event being held at Pinstripes in Edina. “We want prominent individuals to take pictures with the brand, learn about it, and [we hope to] gain as much traction from that as possible,” White said. The pop-up will highlight two of White’s collections - “1905” and “BE the Change.”  1905 pays homage to Bobby Marshall, a Minnesota Gopher from 1904-1906 and one of the first black NFL players. With “BE the Change” White hopes to inspire a collective conversation about creating societal change.


Tito Wilson's Jazz Brunch: Kick-off Super Bowl week with a mimosa jazz brunch, hosted at Wilson's Image Barber's and Stylists (2124 W Broadway Ave.) on Jan. 28, 11am-2:30pm.

The Super Boil: The Loppet Foundation will put on a public party on Jan. 29 from 5-8pm, featuring Cajun food, DJ Chuck Chizzle, free tubing, ski rentals, and dancing at the future home of The Trailhead, 1221 Theodore Wirth Parkway. The foundation is a Super Bowl Legacy Fund grant recipient and has worked with the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee to “integrate winter activities into the downtown Super Bowl Live festivities, including on-snow events that will showcase the skills of Northside youth who are part of our school-based programs,” said Marin Byrne, the foundation’s development director.

Pop-up soul food: Breaking Bread Cafe will be home to a Soul Food pop-up restaurant from Jan. 31 through Feb. 2, 5-10pm each day. The pop-up will be hosted by the Onyx Culinary Collective, a Twin Cities-based cooperative of Black chefs and food enthusiasts. For more information, check out WhereTheSoulFoodATMPLS on Facebook.

Northside Spectacular Bus Tour: Super Bowl fans have an opportunity to see North Minneapolis by bus and learn about its storied history. The tour will be operated Feb. 2 and Feb 3, every day, 10am-5pm. Buses will depart every hour. Ticket Price:  $30, include designated hotel pick up/drop off, all Bus Stop events, and unlimited hop in/out options. More info can be found at

Arctic Bold Fashion Show: On Feb. 1, Northside community members - Noir Elite Fitness and Richard Moody - will put on Super Bowl LII’s biggest fashion show. The Minneapolis Event Center will be transformed into a one-of-a-kind party hosted by actor Idris Elba to celebrate several local clothing lines. There will be food, multiple DJs, and a cigar room. $5 raffle tickets will be sold with the grand prize being a weekend-long Mazerati rental. “We started out small and then we said forget it, let’s do it big,” said organizer Chaz Sandifer, of Noir Elite Fitness. Tickets and sponsorship opportunities are available online:

Detox and do yoga: Wirth Co-op is planning a detox and yoga event on Feb. 3, 11am-1pm. Event details have yet to be finalized. For more information, contact Kristel Porter at

Watch party in the neighborhood: Wilson’s Image Barbers and Stylists (2124 W Broadway Ave.) will be hosting a Super Bowl Sunday watch party from 2:30pm-8:30pm on Feb. 4. The BYOB party will have food and snacks, two 50-inch TVs, as well as original halftime performances. More information and updates can be found on the shop’s Facebook page.

Kenzie O'Keefe