Minnesota's Top 10 October 2018 Events

Booze, haunts, and the Twin Cities Marathon highlight October in Minnesota

Two people dressed up in costume and holding mugs of beer at Twin Cities Oktoberfest.
Twin Cities Oktoberfest

photo by michael herrem

Fall Family Fun | Through October

Festivals full of pumpkins, apples, and hayrides started back in September, but plenty go through October. Sever’s Fall Festival in Shakopee (through October 28) has a corn maze, a corn pit that functions as a playground, straw sculptures, obstacle courses, an exotic petting zoo, a pumpkin patch, pig races, zip lines, and more activities for kids, while Anoka, the self-proclaimed Halloween capital of the world (through October 31), has parades, costumed balls, a house decorating contest, and a pumpkin weigh-off. On the east side of the Cities, the Stillwater Harvest Fest (October 13-14) includes a pumpkin regatta—where folks row giant, hollowed-out pumpkins down the St. Croix River—plus a chili cook-off, vendor market, and beer garden.

Digital Extra: Push off in a Pumpkin

And you thought canoes were tippy. Here’s how to hollow out a giant pumpkin, push it into the water, and paddle your way through Stillwater Harvest Fest’s annual orange-gourd regatta.

For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When The Rainbow Is Enuf | Through 10/14

Author Ntozake Shange called this piece a “choreopoem” when she wrote it in 1974, and now Penumbra Theatre in St. Paul will stage the lyrical, painful, and riveting work, together with choreography, about the struggles and triumphs women of color experience.

Oktoberfest Roundup | 10/5-13

If you go to one Oktoberfest in Minnesota, go to New Ulm’s, near Schell’s Brewery (October 5-13). Take in a European market, live German music by the Schell’s Hobo Band, the 40-person Concord Singers, and Dale Bahmen’s polka band, plus plenty of beer and brats. (Also hit up Morgan Creek Vineyards on October 6 for a grape stomp.) Twin Cities Oktoberfest takes place at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds October 5 and 6, and you can hop to the Minneapolis German restaurant Gasthof Zur Gemutlichkeit for polka music, dancing, and a full bar weekends through October 13. Up in Nisswa, there’s an Oktoberfest pub crawl on October 6, with shuttles, commemorative mugs, and samples at seven different locations.

Digital Extra: Brats, Beers, and Pretzels

View the trailer for Kulap Vilaysack’s introspective documentary Origin Story, where the L.A.-based writer retraces her beginnings in Minnesota and seeks out her birth father in Laos, debuting at the Twin Cities Film Festival this year.

A clown holding a sledgehammer.
The Haunted Basement

photo by dan norman

The Haunted Basement | 10/5-31

This is one of the few scare attractions where you will be touched. Not only that, you might leave with unidentified liquids on your clothes after crawling through the dark and meeting one of the unsavory residents at this artist-created haunted house in Minneapolis. The scare factor (and the weird factor) is so high, you have to be 18 or older and sign a waiver. This year’s director, Paul von Stoetzel, whose Killing Joke Films company specializes in the macabre, will bring an eye for detail to the customary gore.

People at the starting line for the Twin Cities Marathon.
Twin Cities Marathon

photo by twin cities in motion

Twin Cities Marathon Weekend | 10/5-7

With great spectator spots in the Twin Cities, including along Lake Bde Maka Ska, Lake Nokomis, and the marathon’s final five-mile stretch from the Mississippi River to the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul, the Twin Cities Marathon makes it easy to support your racer. Download the tracking app to follow them along the course. The rest of the weekend includes music and kid-friendly activities under one tent, the Health and Fitness Expo at the St. Paul RiverCentre, and other races, from 5Ks to 10-milers.

St. Paul Art Crawl | 10/12-14

Every six months, the Lowertown arts district hosts the St. Paul Art Crawl. Walk among more than a dozen buildings and galleries to see 300-plus artists showcase their paintings, apparel, photography, and more. Attendance can top 20,000 people coming for the art as well as the local musicians and the theatrical and instructor-led crafting events that pop up during this family-friendly weekend.

A sandhill crane.

photo by sunnys/fotolia

Sandhill Crane Tours | 10/18-27

Take a guided tour to see where thousands of cranes roost at night in the Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge in Zimmerman, and watch them stir as sunlight breaks across the sky. Sandhill cranes—four feet tall, with wingspans of six feet—can be seen bobbing around the wetlands, with their red caps easy to spot.

Florence + The Machine | 10/20

Singer-songwriter Florence Welch’s voice is strong, vulnerable, and unmistakable, and her music always tells a story. Between the poignant “Shake It Out” from 2011’s Ceremonials and the soul-grabbing “Big God” off her newest album High as Hope, she’ll no doubt deliver a dramatic, choreographed performance at Target Center in Minneapolis.

Fleetwood Mac | 10/22

Since 1967, pop-rock band Fleetwood Mac has had a rotating cast. Longtime guitarist and songwriter Lindsey Buckingham is out, but this tour stop at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul still features the founders who never left, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, as well as the legendary Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie, and musicians who joined for the tour, Tom Petty guitarist Mike Campbell and Crowded House founding member Neil Finn. The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, after a long stretch of hit singles such as “Landslide,” “Go Your Own Way,” and “Don’t Stop.”

Performers from TU Dance performing.
TU Dance

photo by michael slobodian

TU Dance | 10/27

After sold-out performances this summer at Palace Theatre (collaborations with indie folk star Bon Iver tend to do that), TU Dance is back. This time they’ll take to the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts stage in St. Paul, to open their 15th season of contemporary dance. With Love is inspired by the dynamic paintings of African American artist Ernie Barnes and features the blues of Donny Hathaway.