Minneapolis hosts Black Entrepreneurial State Fair to support local businesses

The weeklong fair should serve to uplift a community devastated by both coronavirus and the killing of George Floyd

Signs in a shop window announce that the business is black owned during a protest against police brutality. (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)

After initially being canceled, Minneapolis made way for the first annual Black Entrepreneurial State Fair to take place this week as originally planned.

The fair was previously axed due to the coronavirus pandemic and state-imposed gathering limits, but organizers managed to gain approval for the event as long as safety guidelines were followed, NBC Kare 11 reports.

Destinee Shelby, an organizer for the Black Entrepreneurial State Fair, told the outlet that the fair will feature Black food and fashion vendors, and that it will serve to assist Black businesses that have been hit hard by the coronavirus lockdown earlier this year and the ongoing health response.

“Black businesses that were impacted during the pandemic to have a chance to make some money, have a chance to network and just kind of grow their businesses,” Shelby stated.

READ MORE: Minneapolis comes together to bring food to community devastated by protests

The event will be scaled down from what was previously planned.

“We can’t exceed 250 people within our perimeter, masks will be required, we will have sanitation stations, social distancing markers at each vendor line,” she added.

In addition, Shelby stated that she and other event organizers received some harsh words online about the all Black fair idea.

“A lot of people that were claiming that we’re racists, we are bringing back segregation, ridiculous comments even mocking us like we’ll bring the kool aid just very nasty things,” she said.

READ MORE: Coronavirus pandemic has eliminated almost half of Black small businesses

However, Shelby said that the fair isn’t racially motivated, but community motivated.

“I am actually biracial. I’m black and I’m white,” Shelby explained. “I have both sides in my family. It’s not about race to me.”

The Black Entrepreneurial State Fair is free to the public and will run from Sunday, Aug. 23 until Saturday, Aug. 29. The fair should uplift the Minneapolis community, which is one that has been devastated in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd at the hands of police in March.

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