|Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.|
|Explore Minnesota Events Update – May 1, 2019|
Festival of Nations at St. Paul RiverCentre, May 2-5; photo by Lucy Hawthorne
Event highlights this week include:
May 2-5, Winona
May 4, St. Paul
May 4, Nisswa
April 25 – May 18, Moorhead
April 5 – May 25, Lanesboro
May 2-5, Winona
May 3-4, Winona
May 4, Faribault
May 10-12, Rochester
May 10-12, Lake City
May 17-19, Spring Grove
March 1 – Sept. 28, Chanhassen
May 2-5, St. Paul
May 2-4 & 9-11, Isanti/Cambridge
May 3-5, Stillwater
May 4, St. Paul
May 4-5, St. Paul
May 4-5, Excelsior
May 5, Minneapolis
May 10-12, Lake Elmo
May 10-12, Harris
May 11, Minneapolis
May 11, Waconia
May 11-12, Minneapolis
May 17, Minneapolis
May 18, Chaska
Upcoming Twin Cities’ concerts and performances include:
May 3, St. Cloud
May 4, Nisswa
May 4, Onamia
May 11, Brainerd
May 11, Waite Park
May 11-12, Brainerd
May 19, Sunburg
April 12 – June 9, Moorhead
April 25 – May 18, Moorhead
May 3, Detroit Lakes
May 11, Bemidji
May 11-18, Thief River Falls
May 15-18, Detroit Lakes
April 26 – May 4, Duluth
May 3-5, Sandstone
May 3-5, Sandstone
May 11, Grand Rapids
May 11, Two Harbors
May 11-26, Duluth
May 18, Ely
May 19-26, Duluth
Be sure to visit the Deals section of ExploreMinnesota.com to learn of the latest discounts and specials!
Have something else in mind?
Winter in Minnesota is the perfect time of year to get together with loved ones, embrace old traditions, or even start some new ones. Here are just five of the many ways to make the most of this special season.
GET IN THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT
A hallmark of the holiday season in Germany and Austria, holiday markets—called Christkindlmarkts—have made their way to Minnesota. Holidazzle will take place in Loring Park again this year and will feature more than 40 vendors selling ornaments, candles and other handcrafted gifts, as well as mulled wine and brats. Other highlights include fireworks, Santa visits, holiday movie screenings and free ice skating. The destination is open Thursdays-Sundays from Nov. 25 through Dec. 23 and is free to attend.
Holiday plays and performances are a tradition for many families this time of year. Festive favorites include “A Christmas Carol” at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis and the Rochester Civic Theatre, a dozen iterations of “The Nutcracker,” from classic to hip-hop, and Christmas concerts by artists including Kat Perkins, Blind Boys of Alabama, Lorie Line and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
For light shows worth a drive, don’t miss Duluth’s Bentleyville Tour of Lights, the Kiwanis Holiday Lights in Mankato and the Trester Trolley Light Tours in Winona. New in 2016, “Bruce Munro: Winter Light at the Arboretum” is the first large-scale outdoor light display at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chanhassen.
EXPLORE A NATURE CENTER
Many of Minnesota’s nature centers are open year-round, offering opportunities to interact with wildlife and the winter landscape. Owls are a big draw at the Agassiz Audubon Center near Thief River Falls, which documented dozens of snowy owl sightings last year in the surrounding Red River Valley.
At the International Owl Center in southeastern Minnesota, Alice the resident great horned owl is so popular that the International Festival of Owls in early March is held in conjunction with her hatch day.
Since nature centers are often surrounded by trails, they make a great starting point for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing or snowmobiling. Options include the River Bend Nature Center in Faribault (skiing and snowmobiling), Maplewood Nature Center (snowshoeing) and Hartley Nature Center in Duluth (skiing).
CHECK OUT A MUSEUM
At the Science Museum of Minnesota in downtown St. Paul, “Mindbender Mansion” makes critical thinking and problem solving fun, and “A Beautiful Planet” is featured in the Omnitheater. Open until mid-January, the “Gridiron Glory” exhibit at the Minnesota History Center features the Vince Lombardi trophy and other artifacts from the Pro Football Hall of Fame. While you’re downtown, be sure to stop by Rice Park to see the ice sculptures and live entertainment as part of the Saint Paul Winter Carnival.
Other museums worth a winter visit include the Minnesota Marine Art Museum in Winona, the recently reopened Spam Museum in Austin, and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, which recently debuted a new entrance and restaurant as part of its major renovation project.
WARM UP AT A WATER PARK
Waterslides, lazy rivers and splash pads aren’t just for the summer months. Several Minnesota water parks can be found indoors, offering a tropical escape no matter the weather.
Paul Bunyan Water Park, inside Arrowwood Lodge in Baxter, features tube and body slides, a treehouse equipped with water cannons and an indoor/outdoor hot tub. At the Edgewater Hotel & Waterpark in Duluth, a vortex pool allows guests to swim with or against a fast-moving current.
There’s even a waterpark right by Mall of America, so you can take a dip after completing all your holiday shopping. Find more options, from Bloomington to Alexandria to Thief River Falls, on the water parks page.
GO MAPLE SYRUPING
A sure sign that spring is coming, maple syrup demonstrations and festivals start cropping up in March. On Maple Syrup Day, the Audubon Center of the North Woods in Sandstone hosts a pancake brunch as part of its syrup celebration. Or see how the sap is gathered and turned into syrup, and get a taste of the end result, at the Wargo Nature Center in Lino Lakes.
Many Minnesota state parks, including Fort Snelling in St. Paul, Whitewater near St. Charles and Lake Maria near Monticello, offer maple syrup programs. Nature centers and other parks, like the Three Rivers Park District in the metro area, also get in on the fun.
November 30, 2017
With daytime temperatures still climbing above freezing even in the northern parts of the state, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is reminding outdoor enthusiasts to stay clear of early ice and use extreme caution when recreating on dangerously cold water.
Although some locations in the northern and western regions of the state were reporting ice formation at the end of November, the recent fluctuations in weather have led to degraded ice conditions and warnings from public safety officials to stay off the ice until at least 4 inches of new, clear ice is present.
“No fish is worth the risk of going through thin ice,” said DNR conservation officer Lt. Adam Block. “At this point, it is going to take several consecutive days of below-freezing temperatures before enough solid ice has formed to support foot traffic, and even longer before ATVs and snowmobiles should be on the ice.”
A recent tragedy occurred in northern Minnesota when two anglers lost their lives after breaking through thin ice on their ATV. Several emergency ice rescues have also taken place over the last few weeks. Last winter, two people died after breaking through the ice.
Block stressed that once ice formation picks up again, it will be important to stay vigilant about safety on the ice, since conditions can be unpredictable and vary greatly even on the same body of water.
“In addition to checking conditions locally and being prepared with an ice safety kit, anyone recreating on hard water should be wearing a life jacket,” Block said. “A life jacket is the one piece of equipment that exponentially increases your odds of not drowning from cold water shock, hypothermia or exhaustion should you fall through the ice.”
General ice safety guidelines:
No ice can ever be considered “safe ice,” but following these guidelines can help minimize the risk:
- Carry ice picks, rope, an ice chisel and tape measure
- Check ice thickness at regular intervals – conditions can change quickly.
- Bring a cell phone or personal locator beacon.
- Don’t go out alone; let someone know the plan and expected return time.
- Always wear a life jacket on the ice (except when in a vehicle).
- Before heading out, inquire about conditions and known hazards with local experts.
The minimum ice thickness guidelines for new, clear ice are:
- 4 inches for ice fishing or other activities on foot.
- 5-7 inches for a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle.
- 8-12 inches for a car or small pickup.
- 12-15 inches for a medium truck.
- Double these minimums for white or snow-covered ice.
Open water danger
The lack of ice cover means many bodies of water in the state still have open water accessible to boaters. However, late season anglers, boaters and paddlers are cautioned that a life jacket is an absolute must on cold water.
“A fall into extremely cold water can incapacitate you within seconds,” said Lisa Dugan, DNR recreation safety outreach coordinator. “Air temperatures have been relatively mild, but don’t let that deceive you. Water temperatures are dangerously cold across the entire state, which means it’s more important than ever to wear that life jacket.”
State statistics show that one-third of boating fatalities typically occur during the “cold water season,” and that in the vast majority of cases the cause of death is drowning due to not wearing a life jacket.
So far in 2017, three boaters have died on cold water, and 12 total boating fatalities have been reported.
“The last three years boaters have enjoyed extended seasons with mild fall temperatures and early ice out in the spring,” Dugan said. “With increased days on the water came higher fatality numbers and a dangerous trend, which should not be ignored. Ten of the 12 deaths involved male boaters who sadly drowned while not wearing a life jacket. This is a continuing and troubling trend that will only plateau or reverse if boaters in that high-risk demographic choose to put safety first by putting on their life jacket.”
|Photo by Angelica King|
After hitting the slopes, riding the trails or attending an outdoor festival in Minnesota this winter, sipping something warm will taste twice as delicious. Minnesotans are no strangers to creative hot beverages, and there are generally some tempting options to wrap your hands around no matter what part of the state you’re in. Here are five hot drinks to keep you warm this winter:
BOMBAY COCOA FROM GOLDEN FIG FINE FOODS, ST. PAUL
There’s nothing quite like a mug of hot cocoa when the mercury dips below freezing. And while the old-fashioned standard is a comforting favorite, there are shops around Minnesota playing with the beverage, updating it and tricking it out with some new features. Take, for example, St. Paul’s Golden Fig local foods store, where one of the house blends includes cinnamon, ginger, cardamom,and a host of other spices; it’s known as “Bombay Cocoa,” and it evokes chai tea with a chocolatey kick. A percentage of every bag sold goes to organizations that support women coffee growers in their country of origin, and the company sources its beans from female growers whenever possible.
CITY GIRL COFFEE FROM ALAKEF, DULUTH
Coffee is not merely coffee. Good coffees are often the product of great stories, like the one behind City Girl Coffee from Alakef. After taking over her family’s 25-year-old Duluth-based roasting company, Alakef owner Alyza Bohbot created City Girl as a sustainable coffee company dedicated to empowering women in the coffee industry. A percentage of every bag sold goes to organizations that support women coffee growers in their country of origin, and the company sources its beans from female growers whenever possible.
TOM AND JERRY, STATEWIDE
If you grew up drinking the hot cocktail known as a Tom and Jerry, you have some sense of why it’s a such a good friend to those of us living in northern states. And if you didn’t, it’s time to get acquainted with this slice of Upper Midwestern beverage culture. According to the Dictionary of International Food and Cooking Terms (Myra Waldo, 1967), a Tom and Jerry is “a hot frothy alcoholic drink made with beaten egg yolks, stiffly beaten egg whites, rum, sugar, boiling water, bourbon and spices, served in mugs with a sprinkling of nutmeg.” As per an authoritative story about the cocktail, “most modern aficionados replace the water with milk and the bourbon with brandy.”
You can buy Tom and Jerry mix at stores, but if you can’t find it, there’s a great recipe for the cocktail online.
CARDAMOM LATTE FROM ANELACE COFFEE, MINNEAPOLIS
|Photo by Becca Dilley|
There’s nothing like a finely crafted coffee drink, particularly when the weather goes polar on you. Anelace Coffee, on Central Avenue in Minneapolis, makes some of the most beautifully balanced and smooth coffee drinks in the state. The use of a bit of cardamom syrup gives this latte a Nordic-inspired wintry flavor that is incomparable when the snow starts to fly.
HOT CIDER, STATEWIDE
Minnesota is a great state for apples: The climate and soil are friendly to the fruit, and the University of Minnesota has done a great deal to ensure new and delicious varietals keep popping up in markets around the country. Most cafes will offer hot cider of some sort, particularly in the autumn through early winter months. And if you’re interested in something a bit stronger that still packs an apple punch, you can find ambitious artisan hard ciders from makers all over the state, including Milk and Honey Ciders (Cold Spring), Keepsake Cidery (Dundas) and Four Daughters Vineyard and Winery (Spring Valley).
Each winter, the Bentleyville Tour of Lights transforms the Bayfront Festival Park in Duluth into an illuminated winter wonderland with colorful displays and holiday music. Dubbed “America’s Largest Free Walk-Through Lighting Display,” Bentleyville’s festive display features more than 4 million lights. The 2017 event will also feature the #OnlyinMN monument. http://whitebirchresort.net
Bentleyville’s 12-story Christmas tree is more than twice the height of the one in Rockefeller Center and is covered with 100,000 LED lights that dance to holiday music. Using more than 5.5 miles of rope light, festive displays include Sesame Street, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Island of Misfit Toys, Minnesota icons such as Split Rock Lighthouse, Duluth’s Aerial Lift Bridge, Paul Bunyan, Babe the Blue Ox and more.
As you stroll through the festive display, visitors can sip on hot cocoa, munch on popcorn or roast marshmallows over a campfire. Children have the opportunity to visit Santa and Mrs. Claus every night.
The spectacle runs from Nov. 18 through Dec. 26, 2017. The show is free, but monetary donations are appreciated. Guests are also encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy or non-perishable food items for the Salvation Army.
Parking is available in front of Bayfront Festival Park. Visitors are encouraged to use the free Jingle Bus shuttle service that is available at multiple locations throughout the city or board the festive Bentleyville Train that arrives from the Edgewater Hotel & Water Park.
There’s no escape from winter, but a winter escape is fun and easy. From skiing to snowmobiling and urban adventures, options for snowy recreation are practically endless in Minnesota. So, take advantage of nature’s gift to the north. The snow will be gone before you know it. For more information contact us at http://whitebirchresort.net
Minnesota is known for its great cross-country skiing, with more than 2,000 miles of dedicated trails to explore. In addition to day trips, cross-country ski resorts offer great meals, comfortable lodging, saunas and spas to round out the experience. Trails in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, near Ely and along the Gunflint Trail, are among the state’s top destinations for serious skiers.
Snow is most reliable in the northern half of the state, but good cross-country skiing can be found everywhere. In fact, snow-making machines are employed at several Minneapolis-St. Paul area trails to ensure quality conditions. More than two dozen Minnesota state parks provide groomed trails, and some rent skis.
Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn learned to ski in Minnesota, but even novices can take advantage of the state’s 16 downhill ski areas. In addition to big hills, many areas also feature terrain parks for ski and snowboard tricks, as well as cross-country ski trails.
Northeast Minnesota is home to the Midwest’s largest, longest and highest hills. Long runs and scenic vistas are memory makers. Ski areas in central and southern Minnesota also offer picturesque, high-quality experiences. Many are gracefully carved into towering river bluffs and broad forested valleys.
Minneapolis-St. Paul area visitors have several downhill ski areas within a 90-minute drive. Visitors to other parts of the state have plenty of choices, too. Equipment rentals and lessons are available at most ski destinations.
Minnesota has nearly as many miles of snowmobile trails(roughly 22,000) as it does highways. These trails, many of which are maintained by local snowmobile clubs, extend to all corners of the state. Many trails run through picturesque federal, state and county forests, and can take riders to restaurants, lodging, and other popular amenities. Weekly trail condition updates are available by email.
Minnesota’s panfish season never closes, and walleye, northern pike and other seasons extend deep into winter. As a result, fishing continues to be one of Minnesota’s most popular outdoor activities long after waves have turned to ice.
Ice fishing’s ongoing allure, in part, stems from ice house improvements. Safe and reliable heaters, grills and comfortable beds are all part of the modern ice fishing experience. Warm, lifelong memories are often forged from nature’s northern lights, stunning sunsets and the hushed silence of winter.
Popular lakes for ice fishing include Leech, Gull, Mille Lacs, Lake of the Woods and more. Ice fishing festivals on these and other lakes are tons of fun, even if you’re not fishing.
The skinny on fat tire mountain biking is that Minnesota offers outstanding options. One of the most notable is the rugged and hilly Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area, where winter trails slice and curve through forests and lake country. In many ways, Cuyuna isn’t a trail; it’s an experience.
Several state parks now offer winter mountain biking opportunities thanks to the sport’s increasing popularity. So do park systems in the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Duluth and Winona areas, with more opening up every year.
Dog sledding is one of the most fun and unusual ways to experience winter. People of all ages and physical abilities can do it, and trips can be tailored to your comfort level. Short trips, day trips, overnight trips, and trips that include ice fishing are among the many iterations available.
Lodging options also vary. You can spend the night in a cozy cabin or in a yurt—an insulated tent-like shelter.
The primary destination for this sport is the Boundary Waters, but outfitters can also be found in Duluth, along the North Shore, and even in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.
For those who want to enjoy the snow with something other than skis on their feet, snowshoeing is a great, low-impact activity. Snowshoe rentals and trails are common in state and local park systems, including those in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. Many nature centers provide snowshoe rentals and trails, too.
Check out the great Minnesota resort deals and activities at White Birch Resort. www.whitebirchresort.net
The Minnesota State Fair is known for foods on a stick, adorable baby animals, great concerts and those infamous butter sculptures. This year’s event, held Aug. 24-Sept. 4, is no exception.
In addition to offering the old standbys, the 2017 get-together has plenty of new exhibits and edibles, including the Great Big Wheel, the tallest traveling Ferris wheel in North America. Sports fans will enjoy the NHL Centennial Fan Arena that celebrates 100 years of unforgettable NHL moments with memorabilia, a virtual reality Zamboni experience and an opportunity to see the Stanley Cup.
Visit the West End Market, a one-of-a-kind destination that celebrates the spirit of the Great Minnesota Get-Together. The area includes the Minnesota State Fair History & Heritage Center, showcasing treasured artifacts and photographs that highlight the fair’s 150+ years of history.
Thrill seekers of all ages will find dozens of rides in the Mighty Midway and Kidway including the new Clown Around ride that takes little ones for a spin. For the grown-ups, the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild sells flights of local beers, experts host demos on gardening and eco-living, and merchants sell everything from handcrafted pottery to accessories made of bicycle parts. If you like to knit, visit Minnesota’s largest yarnbomb – a form of street art featuring crocheted, knitted and other crafted yarn creations on the Grandstand ramp.
Music fans of all kinds will find artists they love playing at the Grandstand; this year’s lineup features Nickelback (Aug. 24), Stevie Nicks (Aug. 25), comedian Jim Gaffigan (Aug. 26), Toby Keith with special guest 3 Doors Down (Aug. 27), Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons (Aug. 28), John Mellencamp (Aug. 29), Pentatonix (Aug. 30), Usher (Aug. 31), Garrison Keillor (Sept. 1), and country star Sam Hunt (Sept. 4).
It wouldn’t be the State Fair without indulging in some one-of-a-kind foods. Mini donuts, cheese curds, French fries, corn dogs and chocolate chip cookies are among the staples, as well as more than 60 things on a stick. Some new dishes for 2017 include duck bacon wontons, deep-fried avocado, cranberry wild rice meatballs and a pizzarito. Discover your favorite with the fair’s online Food Finder.
Going on vacation doesn’t have to mean spending a lot of money. In Minnesota, there are plenty of attractions and activities that are completely free to visitors. Here are 18 of them:
1. MUNSINGER CLEMENS GARDENS, ST. CLOUD
This well-known, beautiful garden park is located along the Mississippi River in St. Cloud. The Munsinger portion of the gardens began in the 1880s. The gardens have experienced different stages of development, with many of the improvements coming as a result of work during the Great Depression through the WPA. The Clemens portion is dedicated to different varieties of roses. During the summer, there are free music concerts within the gardens.
2. FRANKLIN ARTS CENTER, BRAINERD
Artspace has transformed the former Franklin Junior High School building into a multipurpose arts center, with 25 affordable live/work studios for individuals and families; 37,775 square feet for artist studios, arts organizations and arts-friendly businesses; and 36,247 square feet that are operated by the Brainerd School District as community programs space. You can visit and learn from local and resident artist and craftsmen. The facility is open to the public daily and also hosts special events the second Saturday of the month.
3. SPAM MUSEUM, AUSTIN
The new and improved Spam Museum opened in spring 2016, featuring interactive exhibits and galleries dedicated to the infamous canned ham’s history, popularity and place in modern life, as well as Spam-inspired artwork and a kids play area.
4. WM. S. MARVIN TRAINING AND VISITOR CENTER, WARROAD
Experience the history of Marvin Windows and Doors in the Wm. S. Marvin Training and Visitor Center. The 6,000-square-foot museum and gift shop are open to the public from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 1-4 p.m. on weekends. Exhibits include a combination of artifacts and interactive presentations to create a memorable experience for visitors of all ages.
5. KEEPERS OF THE SACRED TRADITION OF PIPEMAKERS, PIPESTONE
Located in the old Rock Island Depot in Pipestone, it is on the Historic Register and is one of a very few buildings made of yellow brick. It houses the Pipemakers gift shop, Indian art gallery and displays of Indian items. Open year-round.
6. DISC GOLFING, STATEWIDE
Minnesota has around 200 disc golf courses, and most are free to play. For a complete listing of all disc golf courses in Minnesota, go to pdga.com.
7. ZUMBROTA COVERED BRIDGE, ZUMBROTA
Walk through one of Minnesota’s last covered bridges. Measuring nearly 120 feet long and 15 feet wide, it was built in 1869 and crosses the Zumbro River.
8. GRAND ROUNDS SCENIC BYWAY, MINNEAPOLIS
As the only urban national scenic byway, Minneapolis’ Grand Rounds attests to the exceptional qualities of its host city. The byway is truly in the heart of Minneapolis, with many impressive views of the downtown skyline, yet is as green, lush and lined with waterways like most of our rural byways. Enjoy walking, running, biking or Rollerblading along the 50-mile route.
One of the country’s largest urban sculpture parks, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden features more than 40 works of art and the Cowles Conservatory. The garden will reopen this June after extensive renovations, bringing back the playful “Spoonbridge and Cherry” as well as 18 holes of artist-designed mini golf.
This cultural attraction is regularly ranked among the top 10 comprehensive U.S. art museums. Admission, as always, is free.
11. COMO ZOO & MARJORIE MCNEELY CONSERVATORY, ST. PAUL
Como Zoo features indoor and outdoor exhibits, including large cats, primates, polar bears and aquatic animals. The Marjorie McNeely Conservatory has permanent tropical and changing seasonal plants and flowers, as well as the new Japanese garden. Donations are accepted.
12. LAKE SUPERIOR MARITIME VISITOR CENTER, DULUTH
Operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, this is the most-visited marine museum on the Great Lakes. 1,000-foot freighters pass within 200 feet of the building. Open daily throughout shipping season.
13. SUPERIOR HIKING TRAIL, NORTH SHORE
The Superior Hiking Trail is a 300-mile hiking trail that follows the rocky ridge line above Lake Superior. Great for both day hikes and backpack camping.
14. GITCHI-GAMI STATE TRAIL, NORTH SHORE
The Gitchi-Gami State Trail connects Two Harbors to Grand Marais along the North Shore of Lake Superior. This 86-mile trail will eventually connect five state parks, several communities, four Scientific and Natural Areas and numerous historic sites, and provides vistas of Lake Superior.
15. FRANCONIA SCULPTURE PARK, SHAFER
Open 365 days a year, this artists’ residency in the St. Croix River Valley features more than 100 large-scale sculptures scattered across 25 acres. Free guided tours are offered on Sundays in summer and fall.
This 45-foot-tall carillon tower in downtown New Ulm plays programmed music three times a day, when the clock’s animated figurines come to life. The characters are replaced by a nativity scene during the holiday season.
Located inside the flagship store in downtown Red Wing, the museum features the world’s largest boot, brand memorabilia, and a chance to dress like a iron worker and learn more about how the famous shoes are made.
18. PAUL & BABE, BEMIDJI
Snap a photo with folklore’s favorite lumberjack and his trusty steed, Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. The pair can be found in Bemidji, but they also stand tall in Brainerd, Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Akeley and elsewhere throughout the state.
Highlights this week and weekend include Rochester WinterFest X in Rochester, the 126th Annual St. Paul Winter Carnival in St. Paul, the 9th Annual Crosslake WinterFest in Crosslake, the 29th Annual Buena Vista Logging Days at Buena Vista Ski Area in Bemidji, and the Ely Winter Festival in Ely.
Please Note: previous warm temperatures and a lack of snow may result in changes to outdoor events and activities–please call ahead before traveling.whitebirchresort.net
This report is brought to you by Explore Minnesota Tourism.
Check out our events calendar for more information on many of these and other upcoming events.
Subscribe here to receive any or all of our reports by email or RSS/news feed.
The city of Rochester will hold Rochester WinterFest X from Thursday, February 2 through Sunday, February 12 to promote winter activities for all ages while raising awareness and funds for area nonprofit organizations. Just some of the highlights this Saturday, February 4 include a Warm-Up to the Polar Plunge, WinterFest sleigh rides and bonfire at the History Center, the Channel One ‘Mile of Mac & Cheese,’ Free Family Day Snow Globes, Dance the Cold Away, the Frozen Goose 10K & 5K Fun Run/Walk, and a Hearts & Diamonds Spectacular! 1-800-634-8277; www.rochestercvb.org/play
Winterfest will be held throughout the city of St. Peter, Friday, February 3 through Sunday, February 12. Just some of the festivities include a Medallion Hunt, Kiwanis Chili Feed, Youth Fishing Contest, a free Poker Walk, live music, Candlelight Hike at the Treaty Site History Center, an All City Spelling Bee, wine tasting, a Polar Plunge, snowman building contest, Rock/Scissors/Paper & Hairy Legs contests, and the All American Canned Beer Invitational! Please note that some events are weather permitting. 1-800-473-3404; http://www.stpeterchamber.org
The 62nd Annual Waseca Sleigh & Cutter Festival will be held throughout the city of Waseca from Friday, February 3 through Saturday, February 25. Highlights the first weekend of the event include the 11th Annual Squirts Hockey Tournament, 5th Annual Waseca Fireman’s Kickball Tournament on Clear Lake near the Boat House Grill & Bar, a Bridge Card Tournament, and the 3rd Annual Sleigh & Cutter Ice Plunge on Clear Lake by Clear Lake Park. The Waseca Sleigh & Cutter Parade will be held Saturday, February 11. 507/461-3727; www.sleighandcutter.org
Eastside Lake in Austin will be the site of the 10th Annual Fishing For A Cure Ice Fishing Tournament on Saturday, February 4 from noon until 2:00 p.m. The $10 entry fee includes minnows, predrilled holes, a Berkley tackle pack, door prizes and food, with prizes for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners. In addition, enjoy a live auction, raffles, door prizes and food following the tournament at the Austin Eagles Club. One hundred percent of the proceeds go directly to the Hormel Institute’s fight against cancer. 507/219-6229; www.austindailyherald.com
The MnUSA 2012 Winter Rendezvous will be held throughout the city of Fairmont, Thursday through Sunday, February 9-12, with Vintage Sled Ride to the MN/IA border and groomer demonstrations, weather permitting. Non weather-dependent events include a bean bag tournament, DNR seminars, Schell’s Brewery Tours in New Ulm, wine tastings, a Barn Quilt tour, tour of historic sites in Fairmont, and a Quilt Show with roughly 40 quilts on display. The Fairmont Holiday Inn will serve as the headquarters, with beverages around bonfires at their fire pits Friday evening. 507/235-8585; http://myblizzardclub.com/2012%20Rendezvous.htm, www.visitfairmontmn.com
The city of Worthington will hold their Winterfest celebration at Saturday, February 11. Highlights include the crowning of the Snow Queen and Winterfest Ambassador, the Deep Freeze Dip at Lake Okabena, a Heart Healthy walk, and the Southwest Minnesota Fishing Club’s Ice Fishing Tournament on Lake Okabena, weather permitting. 1-800-279-2919; www.worthingtonmnchamber.com/events/winterfest-0, www.worthingtonmnchamber.com
Twin Cities Greater Metropolitan vicinity
The Art Shanty Projects will be open Saturdays and Sundays, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., through February 5 on Medicine Lake in Plymouth. This four-week exhibition is part sculpture park, part artist residency and part social experiment, inspired by traditional ice fishing houses that dot the state’s lakes in the winter. It is an artist-driven temporary community exploring the ways in which a public space of a frozen lake can be used as an artistic environment to expand notions of what art can be. And on Saturday, February 4 from noon until 3:00 p.m., the Fishing For Life Holes for Heroes Ice Fishing Tournament will also be held on Medicine Lake in Plymouth. This fun ice fishing contest honors the Armed Forces and their families, and features great fishing and prizes, as well as random drawings, food and fun KidsZone activities in a huge heated tent. The tournament will be simulcast for active military overseas. 612/567-6844, 651/337-1783; www.artshantyprojects.org, www.fishingforlife.org, http://2012holesforheroes.eventbrite.com
The Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul will present Omnifest 2012 through February 17. This year’s films are Journey to Amazing Caves, Amazon, Shackleton’s Antarctic Adventure, Search for the Great Sharks, and Wolves. See them over several days or watch them back-to-back, and return for your favorites as many times as you’d like! 1-800-221-9444; www.smm.org/omnifest
The 126th Annual St. Paul Winter Carnival will be held throughout the city of St. Paul, Thursday, January 26 through Sunday, February 5. “The Coolest Celebration on Earth!” attracts approximately 350,000 visitors a year to its fun and educational activities and events. This Saturday, February 4, don’t miss Family Day events at the Landmark Center and Rice Park, Music In Rice Park, skating at the Wells Fargo skating rink, the Ambassador Pre-Parade Party and Torchlight Parade, the Overthrow of Boreas, a fireworks display, and the Vulcan Victory Dance at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Please note that some events are weather permitting. 651/223-4700, 651/222-7027; www.winter-carnival.com, www.gai-mn.org/events
The Minneapolis Convention Center in downtown Minneapolis will be the site of the Progressive International Motorcycle Show will be held Friday through Sunday, February 3–5. Experience the World’s Largest Motorcycle Show and research and compare makes and models, see custom bikes and stunt shows, visit the Dream Pavilion, test your Motorcycling IQ, spin the wheel and win awesome prizes, and shop for the newest products at Just for Women and The Marketplace. And on Sunday, February 5, check out Unveiled ~ The Ultimate Wedding Planning Event at the Minneapolis Convention Center, with the latest fashions, trends and ideas, along with gowns straight from the runways of New York’s Couture Bridal Market. 612/335-6651; www.minneapolis.org/minneapolis-convention-center
The North Branch Chamber’s 12th Annual Winter Fest will take place Saturday through Sunday, February 4-12 in North Branch’s Central Park, with a wide array of activities to chase the Winter Blues away. Highlights on Saturday, February 11 include ice sculptures and sculpting demonstrations, a Chili Show Down, free Family Fun games, Turkey Bowling, and family ice-skating with Frosty! 651/674-4077; www.northbranchchamber.com, www.northbranchchamber.com/images/stories/pdf_forms/wfposter.pdf
The 45th Annual RV, Vacation and Camping Show will be held at the Minneapolis Convention Center in downtown Minneapolis, Thursday, February 9 through Sunday, February 12, with nearly anything and everything related to outdoor vacationing and camping. Shop hundreds of 2012 class A, B and C motorhomes, travel trailers, fifth-wheels, tent trailers and park models, see the latest in RV and camping accessories, stock up on essentials, and gather great ideas for your next vacation! The Minneapolis Convention Center will also host the 8th Annual Lake Home & Cabin Show, February 10-12, specializing in second homes and the second home lifestyle. Shop for rustic and specialty furniture and furnishings, see the latest in sporting gear, outdoor equipment & marine equipment, watch How-To seminars and demonstrations, and meet with architects, builders, remodelers, landscaping, lakeshore maintenance, real estate and finance professionals. 1-800-848-6247, 952/471-1192; www.gsevents.com/shows, www.lakehomeandcabinshow.com
And just some of the upcoming concerts and performances include:
Disney Presents The Lion King at the Historic Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis through February 12
A Prairie Home Companion at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, each Saturday through February 18
Girls Only: The Secret Comedy Of Women at the New Century Theatre in Minneapolis through March 18
Diana: A Celebration at the Mall of America in Bloomington, February 2-June 10
The World’s Toughest Rodeo at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, February 3
Jeff Mangum at the Pantages Theatre in Minneapolis, February 4
Mystic Comedy Night at Mystic Lake Casino & Hotel in Prior Lake, February 4
Lenny Kravitz at the Historic State Theatre in Minneapolis, February 7
O.A.R. at the Historic State Theatre, February 11
Tim Patrick and His Blue Eyes Band at the Burnsville Performing Arts Center, February 11
Jason Aldean with Luke Bryan at the Xcel Energy Center, February 17
Jin Xing Dance Theatre’s Shanghai at the Historic Orpheum Theatre, February 18
The Jayhawks at the Historic State Theatre, February 18
WWE Raw Supershow at the Target Center in Minneapolis, February 20
Green Day’s American Idiot Tour at the Historic Orpheum Theatre, February 21-26
Arenacross at the Target Center, February 25
Amateur Arenacross at the Target Center, February 26
Montgomery Gentry at Mystic Lake Casino & Hotel, February 26
Disney On Ice: Dare To Dream at the Target Center, February 29-March 4
The Fresh Beat Band Live In Concert at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, March 1
Brian Regan at the Historic Orpheum Theatre, March 2
Buddy Guy at the Historic State Theatre, March 2
Spencers Theater of Illusion at the Burnsville Performing Arts Center, March 8
Shen Yun at the Historic Orpheum Theatre, March 9-11
Lady Antebellum: Own The Night 2012 World Tour at the Target Center, March 11
The Houston Ballet at the Historic Orpheum Theatre, March 23 & 24
Pat Donohue at the Fitzgerald Theater, March 24
Mama Mia! at the Historic Orpheum Theatre, March 24-29
Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour by Cirque du Soleil at the Target Center, March 27 & 28
The Million Dollar Quartet at the Historic State Theatre, March 27-April 1
Celtic Woman – Believe at the Xcel Energy Center, April 1
Human Nature: The Motown Show Presented by Smokey Robinson at the Historic State Theatre, April 3
Rodney Crowell at the Fitzgerald Theater, April 3
Guster & Jeff Garlin Present a Night of Acoustic Music & Comedy at the Pantages Theatre, April 6
The Harlem Globetrotters at the Target Center, April 6 & 7
Ballet Preljocaj at the Historic Orpheum Theatre, April 13 & 14
Casting Crowns at the Target Center, April 21
Melissa Etheridge at Mystic Lake Casino & Hotel, April 21
Snow Patrol at the Historic State Theatre, April 25
Florence and the Machine at the Historic State Theatre, April 27
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at the Historic Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis, May 1 & 2
Weird Al Yankovic at the Historic State Theatre, May 3
An Evening With Yanni at Mystic Lake Casino & Hotel, May 4
Rammstein at the Target Center, May 8
Stephanie Miller’s Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour at the Historic State Theatre in Minneapolis, May 12
The Black Keys at the Target Center, May 15
B.B. King at the Historic State Theatre, May 18
Jeremy Messersmith at the Fitzgerald Theater, May 19
Van Halen at the Xcel Energy Center, May 19
Nickelback with special guests Bush, Seether, & My Darkest Days at the Target Center, May 23
Roger Waters: The Wall Live at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, June 3
Chris Koza at the Fitzgerald Theater, June 8
The Blue Man Group at the Historic Orpheum Theatre, June 15-24
T. Michael Rambo at the Fitzgerald Theater, June 16
Foster the People at the Target Center, June 22
Neil Diamond Live In Concert at the Xcel Energy Center, July 11
Il Divo at the Target Center in Minneapolis, August 2
Coldplay at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, August 11
For further information on any of these performances or events, please contact Ticketmaster at 651/989-5151, or visit www.ticketmaster.com
The city of Spicer will hold their annual Winterfest Celebration each Friday through Sunday, through Saturday, February 4. Just some of the highlights include fireworks, craft sales, the 8th Annual Polar Plunge, Skate In To Spicer, a Spa Day at Glacial Ridge Winery, Frozen 5K run & Walk, WinterFest $1,000 Raffle on Green Lake, All You Can Eat BBQ Ribs, and DJ & Dancing at Zorbaz. 320/796-8066; www.spicermn.com
The 9th Annual Crosslake WinterFest will be held Thursday through Saturday, February 2-4, at locations throughout Crosslake. This year’s events include a Treasure Hunt for the Medallion, bonfires & s’mores, pond skating, DJ music, horse-drawn wagon rides, a warming house with coffee & hot chocolate, specials all over town, a firefighter’s pancake breakfast, SoupFest, live comedy and an Italian buffet, Italian Olympics, bocce ball, radar runs, ice car races, ice sculpture demonstrations, kid’s games and a snowman building contest! 1-800-450-2838; www.explorebrainerdlakes.com
The Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge in Zimmerman will hold their Winterfest celebration on Saturday, February 4. This free family event offers outdoor and indoor activities, including horse-drawn sleigh rides, bird education with live owls, a scavenger hunt, nature walk, roasting marshmallows around a bonfire, winter bird feeding, great food, and various informational exhibits! 763/389-3323; www.fws.gov/midwest/sherburne
The Habitat For Humanity Ice Fishing Contest will be held noon until 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 4 on Mons Lake near Swanville, just west of Little Falls. Afterwards, enjoy an All You Can Eat Soup Supper fundraiser at the St. Francis Convent in Little Falls, with homemade soups and bars served from 4:30-7:00 p.m. And while in Little Falls, be sure to check out the Minnesota Home Front World War II Exhibit at the Linden Hill Mansion. This exhibit runs from January 21 through March 11, and features nine graphic panels, audio interviews, songs of the period, and a “Letter Stories” bin which explore the accomplishments, sacrifices, disappointments and challenges of “Minnesota’s Greatest Generation.” 1-800-325-5916; www.littlefallsmn.com
Hole In The Day Bay on Gull Lake in Brainerd will be the site of the Brainerd Jaycess $150,000 Ice Fishing Extravaganza on Saturday, February 11, with roughly 10,000 anglers competing for more than $200,000 in cash and prizes in 2012! The contest begins with the National Anthem and a cannon blast at 12:00 noon. Spectators will also enjoy live radio coverage and Youth Ice Olympics. A Kick-Off Party will be held Friday evening, February 10 at Grand View Lodge, with beer and wine tastings, appetizers, live music, a silent auction, raffle, and professional anglers sharing their tricks of the trade. Reservations are required. 1-800-450-2838; www.icefishing.org, www.explorebrainerdlakes.com
The Freeze Fest Winter Extravaganza will be held Saturday, February 11 on Little Pine Lake in Perham. In addition to the Saturday morning Freeze Fest Fishing Tourney, enjoy the Freeze Your Face 5K Run, the “Freezin for a Reason” Polar Plunge, and a “Prairie, Lake, Forest: Minnesota’s State Parks” presentation and Ministry of Jazz Concert: Dixieland and More at the In Their Own Words (ITOW) museum. 218/346-7710; www.perham.com
The 29th Annual Buena Vista Logging Days at Buena Vista Ski Area in Bemidji on Saturday, February 4. Highlights include old-time logging demonstrations, live music, sleigh rides, a lumberjack camp meal, blacksmithing and crosscut sawing demonstrations, crafts, roping contests, and a treasure hunt. 1-800-777-7958; www.bvskiarea.com/loggingdays.html
Fish Hook Lake in Park Rapids will be the site of the 13th Annual Park Rapids American Legion Community Ice Fishing Derby on Saturday, February 4, with $110,000 in prizes to be given away, including roughly 60 raffle prizes. 1-800-247-0054; www.parkrapidsfishingderby.com, www.parkrapids.com
The annual Ice Bocce Tournament will be held February 4 on Girl Lake in Longville, with 70 four-person teams competing on lanes plowed on Girl Lake near Patrick’s Fine Dining–spectators will enjoy warmth and camaraderie, along with great food and beverage! 1-800-756-7583; www.longville.com/icebocce.html
The city of Detroit Lakes will be the site of the annual Polar Fest celebration, Friday, February 10 through Monday, February 20. Highlights include the 2nd Annual Poles ‘N Holes Fishing Derby, the One Lunger 100 Vintage Snowmobile Races, Polar Explorer Will Steger at the Historic Holmes Theatre, a Polar Plunge, Freeze Your Buns 5K, Frozen Bowling, spectacular fireworks display, theatre performances, curling bonspiels, a Chili and Chocolate Chill, pancake and French toast feed, Secrets of Pairing Wine Tasting, and the Polaritaville dance–also enjoy a variety of lodging specials! 1-800-542-3992; http://visitdetroitlakes.com
Audrey’s Purple Dream Fishing Tournament will be held Saturday, February 11 on the 11th Crow Wing Lake in Akeley, with prizes awarded by the largest weight and time registered. In addition, enjoy a pancake breakfast, hot food and warm beverages on the ice, the Purple Plunge, a raffle, and live music. 218/368-3393, 1-800-247-0054; www.audreyspurpledream.com
The Ely Winter Festival will be held Thursday, February 2 through Sunday, February 12 throughout the city of Ely. This 10-day celebration highlights the unique culture, art, history and traditions of the BWCAW. Highlights include the International Snow Sculpting Symposium, Ely ArtWalk, Historic Voyageur Encampment, a craft fair, sled dog rides, Boathouse Winter Classic Triathlon, Dorothy Molter museum tours, ArtWalk Artists’ Meet & Greet, Polar Bear dance, a fish fry, concerts, and spaghetti dinner. 1-800-777-7281; www.elywinterfestival.com
Grand Marias and other cities in Cook County will host the Winter Tracks Art Festival, Friday, February 3 through Sunday, February 12. This festival consists of two unique events: a Snow Carving Symposium and Winter Plein Air Painting. From February 3-12, freshly painted works will be on display and for sale at the Grand Marais Art Colony, with snow sculptures displayed outside of local businesses throughout Cook County. And don’t miss the Artists Reception & Winter Plein Air Painting Exhibit Opening at the Grand Marais Art Colony at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, February 3, and enjoy a slideshow of the snow carvings, along with a chance to meet the snow sculptors and outdoor painters and hear their stories about winter’s inspirations! 1-888-922-5000; www.grandmaraisartcolony.org
The Laskiainen Finnish Sliding Festival will be held Saturday and Sunday, February 4 & 5, at Loon Lake Community Center in Palo to celebrate the ethnic heritage, customs, crafts, music and sports of the area. The Loon Lake Community Center is located 10 miles south of Aurora on Hwy 100. 218/638-2551; www.ironrange.org
Downtown Two Harbors will be the site of the Two Harbors Winter Frolic, Friday and Saturday, February 10 & 11. Celebrate winter on the North Shore of Lake Superior, and enjoy sledding, ice carvings, a parade, Fun with Frosty, Chili Cook Off, Winter Frolic Ale, Digital Photo scavenger hunt, live music and entertainment, trail groomer rides, a bonfire with free s’mores, Winter Camping and outdoor sports demonstrations, family skating party, vintage snowmobiles, free horse drawn sleigh rides, and the very popular Winter Frolic Races Smoosh and Outhouse races! 1-800-777-7384; www.twoharborswinterfrolic.com
The 19th Annual Carlton Winterfest will be held at Carlton High School and on Chub Lake Park in Carlton, Friday through Sunday, February 10-12, with live music, children’s games, a Zoomobile, Candelight Ski at Jay Cooke State Park, 17th Annual Chili Cook Off, Hook and Slice on Ice, a talent show, Valentine’s Dinner, free movie and popcorn, and many other events around town! 1-800-625-4661; 1-800-554-4350; http://carltonchamber.com/events.aspx, www.visitcloquet.com