Weekend Best Bets: August 16-18

This weekend around the Twin Cities: Steele County Free Fair, Minnesota Renaissance Festival, “Hot Asian Doctor Husband,” National Bee Day, Dr. Dog, Shakey Graves, and more

Jennifer Arocha - Clashing Knights

Biggest County Fair

What: Steele County Free Fair
When: August 13-18
Where: Steele County Fairgrounds, 1525 S. Cedar Ave., Owatonna

Get your fair fix before the Minnesota State Fair opens at Minnesota’s biggest county fair. The Steele County Free Fair features over 100 food stands, more than 40 rides, and a beer garden. Attractions also include a butterfly encounter, stunt dogs, and David “The Bullet” Smith—the “world’s most accomplished human cannonball.” Learn more.

Seasonal Shakopee Celebration

What: Shakopee Mdewakanton Wacipi Pow Wow
When: August 16-18
Where: SMSC Wacipi Grounds, 3212 Dakotah Parkway, Shakopee

Celebrate Native traditions with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) at the annual SMSC Wacipi Pow Wow. The public is welcome to join in during the weekend-long event, with hundreds of Indigenous dancers and drum groups, crafting activities for families, plus food and fireworks. Learn more.

Perfect Match

What: Hot Asian Doctor Husband
When: August 16-18 (continuing through August)
Where: Mixed Blood Theatre, 1501 S. Fourth St., Minneapolis

A new insightful romantic comedy written by Leah Nanoka Winkler and directed by Seonjae Kim makes its debut this weekend. The play follows 20-something biracial Emi in the aftermath of the death of her Japanese mother. Emi dumps her white boyfriend of three years to find a hot Asian doctor husband out of concern she is whitewashing her Asian heritage. Learn more.

Ye Olde Realm

What: The Minnesota Renaissance Festival
When: August 17-18 (continuing through September)
Where: MN Renaissance Festival Site, 12364 Chestnut Blvd., Shakopee

Don your best robes and immerse yourself in a world of ages past. The first weekend of the Renaissance Festival is themed Bold North Vikings Invasion, which means each day is full of events like the longbow competition, hot dish eating contest, and a bocce ball tournament. The festival remains at its old location, where shows, artisans, games, and food abound. Must-dos include attending a Puke and Snot comedy performance, eating a turkey leg, drinking mead, and viewing a jousting tournament. Learn more.

Summer Sipping

What: Summer Beer Dabbler
When: August 17, 5:30-9 p.m.
Where: CHS Field, 360 Toronto St., St. Paul

More than 450 sudsy samples await from 140-plus breweries and cideries posting up at CHS Field, for a summer tradition of live music (DJ Leif, the Shackletons, the Bad Man), ballpark food, and fireworks. Learn more.

The Buzz about the Bee

What: National Honey Bee Day
When: August 17
Where: Richardson Nature Center, 8737 E. Bush Lake Rd., Bloomington

On National Honey Bee Day, celebrate the fuzzy little pollinators that keep the natural world blooming. This mid-morning excursion includes a hike out to the bee tree in Hyland Lake Park Reserve. To learn about honeybees, their hives, and their life cycles, register the family for an educational Saturday in the Three Rivers Park district. Learn more.

Good Music, Beer, Vibes

What: Shakey Graves and Dr. Dog
When: August 17
Where: Surly Brewing Festival Field, 520 Malcolm Ave. SE, Minneapolis

First Avenue, JAM, and the Current present the perfect summer outdoor concert with an unbeatable lineup. The night features classic indie folk band Dr. Dog, who started a new phase in their discology with 2018 album Critical Equation. Shakey Graves also shifted his sound with his newest album Can’t Wake Up. The night is rounded out by an extra dash of angst from special guest Caroline Rose. Learn more.

Preseason Pep

What: Minnesota Vikings vs. Seattle Seahawks
When: August 18
Where: U.S. Bank Stadium, 401 Chicago Ave., Minneapolis

The first home preseason game of the year is here, as the Vikings face off with the Seahawks. Help the home team start the season off right while snacking on concessions such as fried chicken, pretzels, popcorn, and beer. (And for a look at the decadent Espresso a la Mode Bubble Waffle—a cone-shaped wonder of ice cream and marshmallows—read about how U.S. Bank Stadium and other local pro-sports venues have upped their concessions game.) Learn more.

Evening in the Garden

What: Como Park Japanese Obon Festival
When: August 18
Where: Marjorie McNeely Conservatory, 1225 Estabrook Dr., St. Paul

Experience Japanese culture at this festival celebrating the holiday of Obon, during which families’ ancestors visit them for three days. The night will be filled with bonsai, martial arts, music, food, and dancing. At the end of the evening, lanterns will be lit in the Japanese Garden Pond and the Frog Pond to honor the dead. Learn more.