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Minnesotans get on their Super Bowl side hustle

Elizabeth "Z" Townsend is paying someone $30 an hour to hand out flyers at the Super Bowl promoting her cat's Instagram account. Max Nesterak / MPR News

There's lots of money to be made in Minneapolis this weekend even if you can't catch a football.

One listing on Craigslist advertises $40 an hour to impersonate Christian Grey, the protagonist from "Fifty Shades of Grey," on Nicollet Mall. You do have to be shirtless (forecast predicts a high of 10 degrees on game day) and you have to be able to throw and catch a football. Another offers $13 an hour to walk "back and forth between two points unraveling a skein of yarn" for an art project.

Then there's Elizabeth "Z" Townsend, who's hiring one lucky individual to hand out flyers promoting her cat's Instagram account for $30 an hour.

"I had no idea I was going to get so many replies when I posted this because I was like, 'no one is going to want to do this, it's so weird,' " Townsend said. "But I've gotten 20 to 25 replies now."

She loves her massive nearly 20-pound ragamuffin, and hopes to capitalize on the Super Bowl crowds to make him Instagram-famous.

"I've always wanted to gain recognition in a way and when I got Dumpling, he's just the most beautiful cat and I knew that other people would like him as well. It brings people joy. It brings me joy to follow other cats and animals on Instagram," Townsend said

The Super Bowl could be a big break for 22-year-old Jackie Santrelle, too. She's cast as Diana Ross for a show, "Tribute to Motown," at the Minnesota Music Cafe. She replied to a Craigslist ad looking for a Tina Turner impersonator. They already had a Tina, but they asked her to audition to be a backup singer.

"It was amazing how the universe moves because I went in to do backgrounds and I came home Diana Ross," Santrelle said.

There's so much side hustle at the Super Bowl there's even a guy making a documentary about side hustles at the Super Bowl. It's going to be called the "Hustler's Holiday." Its creator, Dave Leach, got the idea last year when he was at the Super Bowl in Houston.

"I was thinking, man, somebody has got to capture this. I mean, there are so many different personalities that go to the host city just because of the amount of money that's on the street," he said. "I've never been to a place in my life where there's more business transactions happening at every level."

Leach is coming from New York City. He's never made a feature-length documentary before. And he's never been to Minneapolis, either, which is why he hired two Minnesotans to help him make his movie.

"They're just helping us to navigate the city a little bit and they're also helping us to figure out stories because of the fact that they're locals they're able to just know and decipher different things that are going on throughout the city," Leach said.

There's debate about how much money the Super Bowl actually brings to the host city. Estimates range from $30 million to $500 million, but Leach says it's a great time no matter what.

"It's really an amazing time just for anybody that's working in almost any capacity, whether it be a chef or a hotel manager or an Uber driver or a DJ or a person trying to promote their cat," Leach said.

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