Every year, an unusual event draws folks to Minneapolis: the annual Wedge Cat Tour. The tour is advertised as a walking tour of the neighborhood to see cats, mainly in the windows of apartments and homes.
John Edwards created this odd gathering six years ago to mixed reactions. The most surprising fact? Edwards himself doesn’t own a cat.
Each summer, Edwards takes cat enthusiasts on a tour of his neighborhood, stopping to observe the local felines perched on windowsills and brought out to welcome the public.
The participants can snap pictures of the kittens and stroke some with the owner’s approval.
Once a small get-together, the Wedge Cat Tour has evolved into a commercial event. Thus, there is now celebratory merchandise, including tote bags, T-shirts, and even limited-edition buttons.
Generally, significant crowds gather for the tour. Besides, some partakers come from neighboring cities. For the participants’ safety, the organizers distribute caution handheld signs for the tour guides.
The excursion’s popularity was further confirmed when people still took part in a virtual Cat Wedge Tour in 2020 at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
A hobby and a protest
Before being the cat tour guy, John Edwards was a graphic designer working part-time on Wedge Live, a platform for news and commentary about the Wedge, a Minneapolis neighborhood.
During this time, Edwards developed a new pastime: spotting window cats while walking around the neighborhood. In addition, he began to share photographs of his subjects on social media under the hashtag #CatsoftheWedge.
Soon, his cat-related content became as popular as his other publications and advocacy work on housing and zoning. He said to the Star Tribune:
“If you walk around here, you’ll see cats all the time. It feels like something that is unique to the Wedge neighborhood.”
The cat circuit was inspired by a walking tour of the neighborhood’s majestic Colonial Revivals and Queen Annes.
“It kind of came about as making fun of the idea that they’re celebrating 100-year-old single-family homes, and asking, ‘How do I celebrate the idea of lots of people living in apartments?’ ”
If Edwards considers his project harmless fun, he enjoys that his tour attracts more people to see cats than historic homes.
The Wedge Cat Tour has garnered diverse reactions. Many have found the idea sweet; others have branded the gathering stupid. Likewise, a humor site has mocked the tour online.
Still, one thing is sure; the event got people interested. And, based on its popularity, we expect this tour to last for many more years.