photo courtesy New Ulm CVB
The Top 10
Bock Fest 3/3
New Ulm’s August Schell Brewing Company has hidden seven glasses of bock, a strong German lager, throughout the brewery and in nearby Flandrau State Park. Equipped with unhelpful clues, you’re tasked with collecting them—the mythical Seven Bocks of Winter—so Minnesota can transition into spring. A few “human St. Bernards” tote kegs of bock on their backs to quench questers’ thirst, in reference to the steadfast dogs that (supposedly) assisted snow-stranded avalanche victims in the 19th-century Swiss alps. Brats, live music, and a warm fire await in the brewery—where someone will “poke” your beer with a fire tender to activate swirls of caramel flavor.
For years, African immigrants have sought the American dream in Minnesota, so a wintry Minneapolis suburb makes sense as the backdrop against which members of a Zimbabwean-American family contend over questions of assimilation. Daughter Tendikayi wants to observe a Zimbabwean wedding tradition before marrying Chris, her white fiancé from Minnetonka, but her mother would rather she stay true to the family’s new U.S. identity. After premiering on the East Coast in 2015, this tender, searching, humorous drama—written by Macalaster College alum, Walking Dead actress, and playwright-to-look-out-for Danai Gurira—finally arrives in Minneapolis, at the Guthrie.
Pi(E) Day 3/14
Officially, Pi Day celebrates the infinite numerical sequence than begins 3.14. But that’s hard to celebrate, so we focus on the pun, and Minnesota’s folksy side means we can take that pun a long way—such as to Rustic Inn Café, in Two Harbors. There, homemade caramel-apple pecan pie awaits. Or, near the eminently bikeable town of Lanesboro, you can try the chocolate-cashew creation at Aroma Pie Shoppe in Whalan, right next to the state’s biggest Amish settlement. Or, if titles matter to you, check out Braham, “Homemade Pie Capital of Minnesota” for almost 30 years, where Park Cafe has served fresh pies since the 1920s. (Click here for a guide to the best pie shops in greater Minnesota.)
Essma Imady: Thicker Than Water
photo by essma imady
In a new Mia exhibit, Syrian installation artist and Minneapolis College of Art and Design grad Essma Imady examines how immigrant parents must choose to either let go of or hang on to their native culture when raising uprooted children. One mixed-media work plays on a biblical story where God reduces a fleeing woman to salt for turning to glimpse her home city moments before He smites it.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade
photo by robert ferdinandt/visit saint paul
Minneapolis hosts its 50th St. Patrick’s parade along the refurbished Nicollet Mall—a 10-minute drive from pubs including Kieran’s, Keegan’s, and The Local, all brimming with Guinness and pipe bands—while St. Paul’s vehicle-minimal (and kid-safe) march down Kellogg Boulevard celebrates year 51, continuing a tradition of literally painting the street green, handing out buttons for charity, and crowning Ms. Shamrock before she embarks on her own float. At the capital, once known for its Irish immigrant population, hop the many pubs: Casper’s and Runyon’s Nook, the Dubliner, Emmett’s Public House, O’Gara’s, the Liffey. There’s no wrong turn.
Count the ways you can carve a chunk of wood at Rochester’s annual gathering of woodworking artisans—going on 42 years—where locals showcase everything from intricate spoons and walking sticks to capricious picture frames and puzzles, not to mention the kitschy, cartoonish animal figurines and the landscapes hewn from smooth-faced timber. Some 40 artists sell their wares in the spacious Graham Park downtown venue.
What started as a working farm in the 1860s has transformed into an education center. Today, the Oliver Kelley Farm In Elk River teaches families about food and agriculture, including how to prepare seasonal meals in a new series, Family Food Frolic. This workshop ups your egg-coloring game while suggesting fresh ways to prepare hard-boiled eggs (whether in your salad, as a snack, or centering an entrée). You’ll take new recipes, as well as prepared meals, home with you.
A Wives’ Tale 3/24–4/8
In five short years, playwright and Los Angeles transplant Christina Ham has broken loose as a prolific force in the Twin Cities. Her last show, Nina Simone: Four Women—debuting at Park Square Theatre in 2016—fortified her voice, a vessel not for confessional quirks but the insights of a powerful, socially conscious storyteller. She conceived her new show, A Wives’ Tale, in 2006, but it premieres this month at St. Paul’s Theatre Unbound. Tapping into du jour speculative fiction, it imagines a small band of women trying to reconstruct post-fallout South Carolina—when the appearance of a male vagrant exposes their lingering patriarchal tenets.
Che Malambo 3/24
Malambo blends precise footwork with rhythmic stomping, drumming, and song, developed in the 17th century by South American cowboys (gauchos) who were looking for showy ways to compete with one another in strength and agility. Che Malambo originated in Paris 10 years ago, and now demonstrates the dance tradition internationally, this month on a countrywide tour that stops at the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph.
photo by William Clark
The Wolves 3/31–4/29
In The Wolves, a Pulitzer finalist for drama last year, a nine-girl soccer team goes through warm-ups—and over the course of 90 minutes, first-time playwright Sarah DeLappe has them talking over one another about everything from puberty and Harry Potter to Cambodian war criminals. Critics have praised the show for its vérité treatment of adolescence and distinctly conceived characters—whose distinctiveness doesn’t yield to archetype. The Jungle artistic director Sarah Rasmussen brings the show to Minneapolis to celebrate nuanced depictions of girlhood.
Digital Extra: Stomping to the Beat
See troops of drummers, inspired by the South American cowboy tradition of competitive, rhythmic footwork and song, perform in Che Malambo.