Minnesota's Top 10 September 2018 Events

The state ushers in fall with James J. Hill Days, the Duluth Superior Pride Festival, the Japanese Garden Festival, and more

Two girls log rolling at James J. Hill Days.

James J. Hill Days

photo by Dynamic Photowerks

Duluth-Superior Pride Festival 8/30-9/2

The Twin Ports’ annual Pride estival is a four-day weekend of events for all ages on both sides of St. Louis Bay. On Thursday, Duluth mayor Emily Larson kicks off festivities at the historic Duluth Depot with a reception with food, music, and cocktails to highlight outstanding service members of the LGBT community. Throughout the weekend, there’s a booze cruise on Lake Superior and the Foo Foo Choo Choo, a train that runs along the North Shore Scenic Railroad with a DJ and cash bar onboard—plus family-friendly activities, including the parade, festival at Bayfront Park, and an alcohol-free youth dance.

A white bowl with a bird and flower designs at the American Pottery Festival.
American Pottery Festival

photo by Northern Clay Center

American Pottery Festival 9/7-9

More than two dozen top potters from around the country, whose styles range from classic to contemporary, showcase their work and lead classes at Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis during this annual festival. Over 1,000 pots will be up for grabs during Friday night’s benefit sale and party. Clay workshops throughout the weekend are for beginning and advanced potters alike, including a two-day intensive workshop by potters Steven Godfrey and Sam Chung. Chung, a Minneapolis native, will show his contemporary, Korean-inspired works during the festival, too.

James J. Hill Days 9/7-9

Wayzata’s annual festival dedicated to Hill, a 19th-century railroad magnate, brings together thousands for fun at Lake Minnetonka. There’s a carnival, parade, open-air street market, live music, car show, and fireworks, but also logrolling, food trucks, roller-car derbies, dachshund races, and special Minnetonka steamboat cruises. The free Lake Street Stage makes it an outdoor music festival, too, with headliner Sunshine Committee (formerly H$B) playing before fireworks over the bay.

Digital Extra: Wayzata Beach Bash

View highlights of James J. Hill Days, the Lake Minnetonka gathering featuring water activities, concerts, dachshund races, roller-car derbies, food trucks, and much more.

Little Falls Arts & Crafts Fair 9/8-9

The central city of Little Falls brings in more than 100,000 visitors to its streets each year for a weekend featuring a juried art fair, as well as Market Place and Man Cave consumer goods showcases. Hundreds of booths span more than 35 categories, including fiber arts, antiques, fishing and hunting, preserves, metal and iron, and woodworking.

A man serenading a girl with a guitar on a railroad track in a production of Once.

photo by Allen Weeks

Once 9/12-10/21

Adapted from the Oscar-winning musical film of the same name, the Broadway version of Once won eight Tony Awards. Theater Latté Da in Minneapolis hosts its regional premiere, with Twin Cities actors Ben Bakken and Britta Ollman playing the harmonizing Guy and Girl. Set in Dublin, the pair connect deeply over their shared love of music, including the story’s featured song, “Falling Slowly.”

Numerous hot air balloons taking flight during Duluth Rising.
Duluth Rising

photo by Jim Ericson

Duluth Rising 9/14-15

See Duluth from the basket of a hot air balloon or watch from the ground in Bayfront Festival Park as the colorful aircraft take to the sky. During the free three-day festival, take part in a kite fly, visit NASA and National Weather Service booths, and check out the Craft Brew Village featuring beers from around the region.

Little Women 9/15-10/21

The Jungle Theater in Minneapolis kicks off its 2018-19 season with its first solo commission, from playwright Kate Hamill, who was named playwright of the year by the Wall Street Journal in 2017. Directed by Sarah Rasmussen, with a cast including local actors Christina Baldwin and Wendy Lehr, this play is based on the mid-19th century coming-of-age novel by Louisa May Alcott.

Japanese Garden Festival 9/22

A yearly highlight for the all-season Japanese Garden tucked away at Normandale Community College in Bloomington is this festival. The normally serene two-acre area gets an influx of activity with sword and Japanese martial art demos, koi feedings, and origami and ikebana (flower arranging) demonstrations. Expect traditional flute music and Japanese food, and tour the garden. The day also includes plenty of kids’ activities, and boutique shopping.

Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band 9/23

The Beatles’ legendary drummer Ringo Starr brings along a rotating cast of rock ‘n’ roll legends to form his All Starr Band. This time, it’s members of Men at Work, Toto, Santana, and 10cc, so the biggest hits from those acts—from “Africa” to “Who Can It Be Now?”—will be in the mix at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in St. Paul. He’s sure to play some popular post-Beatles solo songs, too, including “It Don’t Come Easy” and “Back Off Boogaloo.” 

William Shatner Live 9/29

This evening begins with a showing of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan at the State Theatre in Minneapolis—in which the original crew faces starship ambushes and mind-controlling creatures. Then chat with Captain Kirk himself as William Shatner takes the stage to tell stories of his other adventures, from his time on set to his 50-plus year career in the entertainment business.