Each year thousands of people from all around descend on the small northern Minnesota town of Nisswa to participate in Nisswa Crazy Days. This annual two-day event (this year August 14th and 15th) is a major boost to the area’s economy and the local people provide a great atmosphere to enjoy all the activities. The area is normally known through the country as a top boating, fishing and golfing location but during Nisswa Crazy Days things change. Retailers spill out from their storefronts and line streets with tables and booths filled with great deals on almost anything you can imagine. There is plenty of food and entertainment to keep you excited so bring your family and friends and enjoy the deals and hospitality that northern Minnesota is known for. I got the opportunity to sit down with Shawn Hansen, the President/CEO of the Nisswa Chamber of Commerce, to discuss the event.
TS: How long has the event existed? What’s the usual attendance and what makes it unique?
SH: Over 25 years. Thousands of shoppers throughout the two days. What makes it unique? We have over 50 specialty shops in a 3-4 block radius. One time a year, they all put this sale event on.
TS: What types of items are for sale at the event?
SH: Whether you are looking for candles, shoes, specialty foods, toys, artwork, purses, clothing, jewelry, etc. or you want to start your Christmas shopping early, visit downtown Nisswa during Crazy Days.
TS: Tell me about local lodging, do you have any specials tied to the event?
SH: We are in prime tourism season during July and August – our resorts are full, people plan their vacations around shopping at Crazy Days.
TS: What does the event mean for the community, does the event support any causes, how much does it drive local business?
SH: This is a big boost for the retailers, it allows them to discount some merchandise later into the summer tourist season and brings a lot of awareness to the many great things that our shops have to offer. We are not a trinket type shopping experience, we have amazing, quality retailers in our community.
TS: Tell me about the sights, sounds, fun and food?
SH: Streets are lined with tents, parking spaces are lined with tables, tents and merchandise. A lot of the shop owners dress up in costume, some have “gimmicks” like Cowboy Bob at Zaiser’s. The Nisswa Lions Club has Pork on a Stick.
TS: Why should people come to the event, what makes it memorable?
SH: There are so many great ways to enjoy Nisswa; turtle races, events, great fishing, great golf, great boating and great shopping. We have a sign in our community that says “Pretty Good Shopping.” That sign is located in the Nisswa Square shopping area and we giggle about that sign sometimes. It’s not just “pretty good,” it is “really good,” it is “quality, specialty shopping.” It’s “enjoy a day in the quaint resort community of Nisswa, Minnesota.”
TS: Last but not least, tell me when the activity begins?
SH: Stores open around 8am so come early and give yourself plenty of time to check out the deals from one end of Main Street to the other. Crazy Days is a long standing tradition for Nisswa merchants and a “must do” for shoppers, both local and visitors alike.