Welcome Summer Back at Minnesota Monthly GrillFest

My five-year-old has asked me, at least once a week now since March 1, when it will be summer.

“The first day of summer is in 111 days,” I told him back in March. “First we have to have spring before we can have summer.”

And then we had the third snowiest April on record (spring?), followed by a record-breaking high of 98 degrees on May 14 (spring?), so I don’t really go by the calendar anymore. I know that the “official” first day of summer is June 21, but I can tell you one thing, I’m not waiting until then.

 To me the first day of summer is when we can barbeque in our backyard—a cold beer in one hand, a spatula in the other—and appreciate the fact that the grass is no longer covered in snow, we’re not wearing three layers in order to stay warm, and we can have friends over and spend the majority of our time outside.

At this weekend’s Minnesota Monthly GrillFest, held Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. in the indoor/outdoor weather-protected comfort of The Depot Minneapolis, I will be welcoming summer (we’ve missed you!) with some of the best tastes, smells, sights, sounds, and this-is-already-pretty-great, but-we-can-make-it-even-better ideas of the season.

Sample mouth-watering grilled salmon, pizza, beef, and traditional BBQ at the Poolside and Big Green Egg exhibits; learn how to sear the perfect steak at Kitchen Window and Memphis Wood Fire Grills exhibits; buy sauces and seasonings—like the delicious and MSG-free Triple Crown Gourmet BBQ Sauces (complete with a gluten-free option)—to successfully recreate what you’ve sampled at GrillFest once you’re home; learn about sunrooms and aesthetically pleasing outdoor storage solutions at The Home Depot; and talk to many industry experts who can answer your questions and help you find the best deals on grills. As a matter of fact, if you buy a Weber grill from Frattallone’s Ace Hardware, a Frattallone’s employee will assemble your brand new grill and deliver it to your home, free of charge, during this weekend only. (Now that’s service!)

There will also be local chefs and personalities doing educational and entertaining cooking demos, and interactive games, live music—sponsored by 89.3 The Current and Dakota Jazz Club—and The Gold’n Plump Mom Squad on hand, sharing fast, healthy recipes for busy families. All of this and grilled samples, paired with wine, cocktails, or beer, and you have the perfect event to welcome summer back to Minnesota.

Tickets are still available both Saturday and Sunday. Buy them online for $30 at grillfestival.com, or at the show for $35.