Meet the Planners Who Work Behind the Scenes for Some of Edina’s Signature Events

Shelly Loberg, director of Explore Edina, is part of a team behind the scenes for some of Edina's big events.

Throughout the year, Edina event planners are hard at work preparing for some of Edina’s favorite summer events. From the Edina Art Fair to the Chamber of Commerce’s Taste of Edina, its annual gala and golf tournament, to the city’s Fourth of July parade, Edina residents come out to support their community year after year. And active members in the community have had a front seat to all the action.

One of the top art fairs in the country, the Edina Art Fair takes place annually at the beginning of June. Rachel Theleman, executive director of the 50th & France Business Association, is one of the people tasked with planning this three-day event. Now in its 52nd year, they’ve added a timely theme. “This was the first time we’ve done a theme, empowering female artists,” Theleman says. “It gets me really excited for the female business owners at 50th and France, female artists and food vendors.”

This was Theleman’s 11th year involved in planning the fair, but she doesn’t think it’s hard to find something new to spotlight. “When I first started, the art fair wasn’t what it was today. It doesn’t necessarily get bigger, it gets better and we really value our artists,” Theleman says. More than half of the artists featured at the fair are local, just more of a reason to explore a slice of the art world on a beautiful June day.

Overseeing the Edina Chamber of Commerce’s annual events are a team of people including Shelly Loberg. The chamber hosts an annual gala, golf tournament and its signature Taste of Edina. The Taste of Edina brings commerce and food together in an event planned a year in advance. Partnering with a number of local businesses, including Edina liquor and craft breweries, the event has added distilleries to the mix this year. “It’s always really fun to be a part of,” says former director of operations Erica Hollom. In past years, they’ve been a great venue for local restaurants like Coconut Thai. “They’re a small, family-owned restaurant that had a line wrapped around their table three times. It’s a great venue if you want to be introduced to the community,” Hollom says.

In May, the event featured a live chef showcase with a handful of chefs teaching new recipes. “I think there’s a real sense of community. We are recognized as well as some of the Minneapolis and St. Paul events for Taste of Edina,” she says.

Tom Gump has been the committee co-chair of Edina’s Fourth of July parade for the past five years after getting involved through the Edina Rotary Club. Gump estimates an attendance of about 25,000 people a year. “We have a joke in the community that it never rains in Edina on the Fourth of July. We have very good support from the city of Edina,” Gump says, crediting the committee, city and police that offer support to the parade.

Often the most popular spectacle is the rollerblader following the horses and picking up their droppings, Gump says. “We have a surprise that’s playing on that,” he says.

Whether the parade or a gala is more your scene, Edina has planners who create events for the whole city to enjoy throughout the year.