Prince music rang out in the Minnesota House chamber Friday after lawmakers voted unanimously to name a seven-mile stretch of highway in the late musician’s honor – on the seventh anniversary of his death.
The bill designates a portion of Highway 5 from Eden Prairie to Chanhassen as “Prince Rogers Nelson Memorial Highway.” It covers a stretch near his home, studio and now museum, Paisley Park.
Rep. Lucy Rehm, DFL-Chanhassen, celebrated the passage by riffing on Prince lyrics.
“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get signs on Highway 5. Memorial signs in law forever – and that’s a mighty long time,” she said to giggles in the room. “But I’m here to tell you, there’s something else. There’ll be purple, a seven-mile highway of remembrance. You can always see the signs, day or night.”
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Rep. María Isa Pérez-Vega, DFL-St. Paul, paid tribute to a person she looked up to as an aspiring musician herself.
“Seven years today since his passing on to the afterlife. Seven was a remarkable number for Prince if you are a Prince fan,” she said. “The real kids of the Purple Rain of Minnesota who aspired to be musicians and activists and make sure that Black and brown children had equity in our education system. He used to provide us a lot of funding – and secretly because he wasn’t about himself. He was about the momentum of movement for all children to be great in this great state.”
Republicans also got into the act, and not just with their votes.
Rep. Shane Hudella, R-Hastings, described himself as a Prince super fan.
“I had the good fortune of being at the Super Bowl when it was about Prince. I mean that is global impact,” Hudella told his colleagues. “And even if I wasn’t a fan, this would be the right thing to do to honor that individual, rename the stretch. Somebody that came from our roots came from Minnesota that was able to aspire to that level of global impact was really cool.”
A companion Senate bill awaits a final vote. If the bill goes the distance, highway signs would go up this summer.
Celebration of life at Paisley Park
Paisley Park is hosting an event Friday “honoring Prince’s life and legacy by offering time for reflection, community and celebration,” reads the event’s official website.
“A Day of Reflection” from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. includes special tours with details honoring Prince’s memories, a dedication where fans can bring memorial items, a moment of reflection in the NPG Music Club and candle lighting at 4:21 p.m. All the activities are free and open to the public.
“A Night to Remember” will run 7:30 to 11 p.m. The gathering will allow fans to dedicate words to Prince, then highlight Prince’s “words of wisdom” throughout the years and finish with a music and dance celebration at NPG Music Club in the hands of DJ Lenka Paris. Tickets are $158.