In 1859, just one year after achieving statehood, Minnesota held its first state fair. Its original purpose was to encourage farming in the state, so the early decades were dominated by agricultural exhibits, demonstrations and competitions to appeal to farmers.
Although the scope of the fair has broadened since then, the continued focus on agriculture draws large crowds from greater Minnesota – including a lot of cooperative members.
Because the values and priorities of the Minnesota State Fair and electric cooperatives align so closely, Great River Energy has long been a sponsor and exhibitor at the “Great Minnesota Get-Together.”
In fact, as part of its effort to uphold the “Concern for Community” cooperative principle, we sponsor events across Minnesota and North Dakota.
“Our sponsorships are focused in the areas where we have member cooperatives and where Great River Energy has facilities,” said Great River Energy’s Amanda Williams. “All of our efforts ultimately benefit our membership and the communities where we work and serve.” For instance, Great River Energy was the presenting sponsor of the Minnesota Twins Play Ball! Youth Clinics, which offered baseball training in more than 40 Minnesota communities. The clinics use baseball as a way to teach children about sportsmanship and the importance of making good decisions.
In northern Minnesota, our 2013 sponsorships included the Mesabi Trail Bike Tour and Two Harbors Kayak Festivals, events that bring together communities and co-op members in the great outdoors. In many cases, we will team up with the local member cooperative on a sponsorship. For instance, Great River Energy and Dakota Electric Association of Farmington, Minn., worked together to sponsor the Ramble Jam Country Music Festival in Farmington, Minn.
In Maple Grove, Minn., where we are headquartered, our sponsorships include the Maple Grove Days summer celebration and the Maple Grove Half Marathon.
By sponsoring events near our facilities, our employees become active members of the community. The same is true in North Dakota, where we have hundreds of employees but no member cooperatives.
Are you going to the Minnesota State Fair? Stop by our booth in the lower-level of the Grandstand to say “HI” – we’d love to see you!