Ahhh…summer in Minnesota. It is such a heady time for us. Cabins are reopened, outdoor patios are setup, sandals come out and our feet are sandblasted and polished. Every week it seems there is a new or different festival, event or “day” to attend. Some of them are old stand-bys and attended by thousands, but maybe these events aren’t on your radar screen. Maybe the last thing you want to do this weekend is to drive around several city blocks with shark-like stealth, looking for that lone parking spot in which you will have to try to parallel park two or three different times without hitting the curb, or perhaps you can’t envision shelling out $9.50 for a warm, foamy beer with a chaser of cheese-curds. You, my friend, you want something different, off-the-beaten path, but where to go? What to choose?
For the week of June 20 – 26, let’s look at a few of our options, shall we?
Chmielewski’s International Polka Fest – shine up your dancing shoes and promenade over to Carlton, MN for a three-day celebration of this dance genre. The festival takes place at the Lost Isle Ballroom, from June 18 – 20. Tickets will run you $32.00 for a three-day pass, or $12.00 – $15.00 for day tickets. Camping and RV parking are allowed.
Fete de la St.-Jean-Baptiste – brush up on your history of Minnesota’s French-Canadian culture and explore a tucked-away area in the Twin Cites by attending this evening fete in honor of the Patron Saint of Quebec (St. John the Baptist). This free event takes place on June 23 from 6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. at the Sibley House Historic site in Mendota and will feature family-friendly activities, historic costume, song and dance.
Red Wing Plein Air Arts Festival – back for its fourth year, this art festival showcases painting “en plein air” or “in the outdoors”. Beginning June 21 and running through June 26, workshops offering techniques of various mediums for plein air painting will be held throughout the week. You can find detailed information and a registration form for the workshops at the Red Wing Arts Association website.
Of course, if you are in the mood for a festive atmosphere closer to home, want to show your support for the GLBT community and don’t mind mixing with the masses, Twin Cities Pride should provide you with what you are looking for. Taking place on June 26 – 27 at Loring Park, admission to the festival is free, however the Pride in Concert featuring the Village People and CeCe Peniston on Saturday night is $10.00. The parade will take place on Sunday, June 27 along Hennepin Avenue. Public estimates of the 2009 parade were at 125,000+, making it one of the largest in the Upper Midwest, so you may want to stake out your perfect viewing spot early.