The other day someone was talking disparagingly about Bob Dylan's singing voice in relation to a recent concert. This is not a unique comment as I know it's been echoed (and continues to be) in many conversations around the world. I did respond to this one though, with a good-natured, "Now, really, don't be hating. . .especially this close to his birthday!"
Of course this became a window to talk about Hibbing and one of my favorite community events that begins today, the annual Dylan Days celebration. If you've never been to any of the Dylan Days events, you really should go. Allow me to particularly recommend the singer/songwriter contest, which has grown so popular it's bloomed into two nights and one afternoon. I went one year when my brother was participating and Zimmy's was never so packed and filled with great music and people. I've also heard a lot of great things about the bus tour, although I've never experienced it myself.
But this blog post, isn't about all of the fabulous events of Dylan Days or even about Bob Dylan himself--although I really do enjoy a lot of his music and think he is a fabulous songwriter.
What I'd like this blog post to be about is how a local, independent business and a few people started something with a simple birthday celebration. As it says on the Dylan Days website, "Dylan Days began informally in 1991 at Zimmy's Bar and Restaurant in
Hibbing, Minnesota (Bob Dylan's hometown). The Dylan-themed
establishment hosted a small birthday gathering in Bob's honor that
included some impromptu musical performances." In 2001 the city got involved (along with the chamber and educational partners) and eventually Dylan Days grew into the event and non-profit arts organization organization it is today.
I like Bob Dylan, but I love how this event serves as a spotlight and source of support for "emerging writers, musicians, and artists in Northeastern Minnesota, especially Hibbing." Through celebrating the amazing accomplishments and talent of one native son, Hibbing can seize the opportunity to recognize and support the grow of artists of all kinds that call this place home. That's pretty powerful.
And to think it all started with a little birthday party. Inspiration, anyone? Today, I tip my proverbial hat to all of the fabulous people who started and sustain Dylan Days and I ask those of you who "heart" Hibbing out there on the interwebs--what (or perhaps who) else is out there that deserves a little cake and celebration? It could be the start of something great.
I encourage you to comment here or continue the conversation at the I Heart Hibbing Facebook page.