Candles on the cake this month for Minnesota’s own Robert Zimmerman—better known as Bob Dylan—who was born on May 24, 1941. Celebrate from May 23 to 27 at Dylan Days, Hibbing’s annual birthday tribute and arts fest. Bob almost certainly won’t be there, but his spirit is bound to be blowin’ in the wind.
Plus a guitar. That’s the top prize in the Dylan Days singer/songwriter contest, to be held at Zimmy’s bar on May 25. Contestants perform two songs—one by Dylan, and one of their own creation. Think you can top “Idiot Wind”? It’s a wonder that you still know how to breathe.
or so. Number of devotees expected to turn out for the mainstage Dylan Days concert on May 26, featuring cover girl Maria Muldaur. Other draws during the Bob-nanza: a documentary screening, a writing workshop, and a prayer breakfast.
Cost of the Dylan Days bus tour of Bob’s Hibbing haunts (a bargain compared to the $39.50 Kenny Kramer reality tour offered to Seinfeld fans in New York City). Highlights include Dylan’s childhood home at 2425 Seventh Avenue East, where you can step inside to absorb the vibe (main floor only), and the bloodless tracks where Dylan once raced a train on his motorcycle. Leroy Hoikkala, the drummer in the Golden Chords, Dylan’s high school band, narrates.
Approximate number of Dylan videos posted on YouTube.com, give or take a live performance of “Like a Rolling Stone.” Among the treasures: grainy footage in the back of a taxicab with John Lennon.
Mentions of the state of Minnesota in Dylan’s lyrics. Hibbing: 0. Duluth: 1. Minneapolis: 0. St. Paul: 0. Not that anybody’s keeping score (New York: 5).
Contributing editor Sandra Hoyt has never written a song about her hometown (you try working with “Manitowoc”).
Things To Do Before…you Polish the Teak
Given our state’s preoccupation with H2O (more than 10,000 lakes, plus four continental basins: the Red, Mississippi, and Missouri rivers, as well as Lake Superior’s contribution to the Great Lakes basin), WaterFest is a natural. The free family festival, held on May 19 this year, celebrates watershed awareness and is a joint project of Ramsey and Washington counties. Interactive exhibits and events address water quality and wildlife. After a stroll around Lake Phalen in St. Paul, hop in a canoe for on-the-water education or stay ashore for fishing lessons. Clowns and raptors will perform (not together, thankfully). End the day with live music and student dramatizations. For more information, visit www.rwmwd.org.
Is Art-A-Whirl, the May 18 to 20 studio tour in northeast Minneapolis, becoming Art-A-Wheel? A map of 40 venues with bike lockup facilities and free water is now available on the tour or at www.northeastbikemap.org after May 1. And funky fenders painted by top local artists, including Amy Rice and Yuri Arajis, are being sold that weekend by the neighborhood vintage-bike seller Wheel Good Bicycles. For more arts ideas, see page 43.
If you’ve pooh-poohed the research about wine being good for you, perhaps the doctor-sponsored WineFest fundraiser will have you drinking the fermented Kool-Aid. The University’s Pediatrics Foundation hosts the Zinfandel-themed event May 11 to 12 at the Depot in Minneapolis. Proceeds finance the search for cures and treatments for childhood diseases. For tickets, visit www.thewinefest.com or call 612-626-5720. For more dining ideas, see page 99.
Back Street Puzzles
Wadena is making a play for the tourist market with a massive mural project. Hidden in alleys and behind buildings, each mural is shaped like a puzzle piece. Approximately 80 segments depicting significant local scenes and events will, when completed, be reproduced in commemorative puzzles sold throughout the central Minnesota city.
—SUZ ANNE WIPPERLING
The latest addition to Valleyfair’s coaster clan pays homage to its predecessors, but with a new twist—literally. Renegade, only the second all-wooden roller coaster built at the park since its 1976 opening, will send riders spiraling down a 91-foot drop—the largest for a totally timber coaster. Coupling old-school (or old-fair?) charm with today’s daredevil ride designs, Renegade is refreshingly devoid of the jerks and jolts that characterize its all-wooden elder, the High Roller. The brains behind the business of fun have added an attraction annually since 2003; last year saw the unveiling of the Xtreme Swing. With a price tag of $6.5 million (which, believe it or not, is cheap by park standards), Renegade brings Valleyfair’s coaster count to seven, joining the ranks of Corkscrew, Excalibur, Wild Thing, Mad Mouse, Steel Venom, and the aforementioned High Roller. It is set to satisfy thrill seekers starting May 12, the first day amusement park aficionados can get their ride on.
A Real Whiz
Iowa TV news photographer Gerry Edwards doesn’t understand why he was fired for urinating in a cemetery—in plain sight of mourners—while covering a soldier’s funeral. “I feel like I did nothing wrong except take care of business,” he told the Des Moines Register. “If I went in my pants, that would be really unprofessional.” Who says TV news doesn’t have standards?