In the 1980s, they used to:
- close the streets
- set up vendors
- and the stores would drag their crap out into the road
- a bunch of people would show up
- there would be live music
And that's pretty much what you have here. So the "idea" has always sort of been there, but claiming that it originated in Rochester is a great way to cover up downtown Albert Lea's sordid retail past.
Why would you have this on Wednesdays? Nobody has any money on Wednesday. That's why you need to do this over the weekend and catch the people who go to the bank to cash their paycheck. And, in any case, nobody has any money. If you're going to have an outdoor market, you might as well make it a flea market and hope people will buy used clothes and stolen tools and pirated DVDs.
Man, it gets harder and harder to explain to people that Albert Lea does not suck. In all seriousness, just pave over downtown Albert Lea. Knock the buildings down, put up apartments and a nice park, maybe put a Sirloin Stockade down by the lake, and give up.