MINNEAPOLIS - It has been a year since the passing of Minnesota music icon Prince. Much has changed since then, but the emotion surrounding places like Paisley Park and First Avenue are still very real and very raw.
Paisley Park, the Chanhassen recording complex where Prince lived, is the epicenter of events celebrating his life, his legacy, his music. The compound opened as a museum last October. "Celebration 2017" is a four-day event featuring performances by former Prince bandmates and panel discussions.
"I wouldn't want to be anywhere else but here today," said Diana Rivera of Chicago. "I couldn't be anywhere else. This is where our family is," added Peggy Myers of Detroit.
Both are among the thousands of Prince fans are donning purple and making the pilgrimage to Paisley Park and other Prince landmarks in the Twin Cities.
"We're celebrating the life and the love he gave us. It's the best way to put it," Myers said.
A time for reflection. A time for celebration.
"I never met him. But I did dance with him on stage," Rivera recalled. "There were a thousand people all around us, but it was just him and I. He held my hand, he bowed me to the crowd, he provided a connection and honored the audience -- sort of using me as a vessel, saying thank you. It's a moment I could never forget."
Prince left a new impression for others like Jennifer Umolac of Minneapolis.
"I wasn't part of the 'Purple Family' but since his passing, I have really come to appreciate and understand the impact he had on the city I grew up in and the city love," Umolac said.
A steady stream of Prince fans passed First Avenue on Friday, the downtown Minneapolis nightclub featured in Prince's hit 1984 movie "Purple Rain." Many fans pictures with his gold star while laughing, crying and singing tunes with other faithful purple followers.
Nigel Hart is one of a group of Prince fans from Europe. April 21st is his birthday.
"Because I was so emotional last year I said I must be here on the anniversary," he said. "We have spent the last 30 years following Prince. This, sadly, is closure."
First Avenue is hosting dance parties all weekend long, including a sold-out block party Saturday night. Many Twin Cities landmarks will be lit in purple on this, the 21st day of April, also known as "Prince Day" in Minnesota.
Prince was found dead at Paisley Park of an accidental painkiller overdose on April 21, 2016.
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