Adam Turman’s Summer To-Do List

The Minnesota artist’s picks for cycling, the Minnesota State Fair, and craft beer
Minnesota artist Adam Turman

Photo by Easton Green

Using bold colors and adventurous lines, Adam Turman creates murals, screen prints, and merchandise—as well as magazine covers, like ours—to depict the Minnesota experience. No Turman summer is complete without the Minnesota State Fair, and so 2020’s cancellation hit especially hard. “We plan for it all year,” he says. In a typical summer, the fair is home to his massive Grandstand art-and-merch booth. Plus, 7- to 9-foot-tall versions of fair mascots designed by him await selfies by the fairgrounds’ north entrance.

Turman encapsulated the disappointment of the fair being put on hold with a new piece of art featuring the tagline, “The Great Minnesota We’re All In This Together.” In it, mascot Fairchild hangs his head, while perennial Turman characters Paul Bunyan, Babe the Blue Ox, and Hotdish Girl comfort him. “It really took off,” he says. “People responded to it like nothing else I’ve created.” Turman donated the proceeds from the campaign’s sales to the Minnesota State Fair Foundation, and hopes for the right conditions to be back at his booth come August.

Along with the fair, the artist’s summer picks revolve around the outdoors, craft beer, and exploration.

6 Minnesota State Fair Picks

The Adam Turman Gallery at the Grandstand is my home base, and then I spider out from there. One of my favorite places for a quick bite is the Blue Barn for the Chicken in the Waffle. I love Ball Park Cafe for beer made exclusively for the fair (like Surly’s Four Seam Screamer IPA). Giggles’ Campfire Grill is fun, and so is The Hangar in the north end. When I have a day off from the booth, my family and I go to Lee & Rose Warner Coliseum for the equestrian events. It’s a nice place to get out of the crowds, recharge in a comfortable temperature, and watch the draft horses.

11 Family-Fun Finds

Outside time has clearly changed. The pandemic got us into the kayak craze. The Chain of Lakes (Brownie Lake, Cedar Lake, Lake of the Isles, Bde Maka Ska, and Lake Harriet) is one of the best places for kayaking. There’s also Minnehaha Creek, and Twin Lake up by Robbinsdale. My family likes to hit up Hopkins antique shops and the Plymouth Grand 15 movie theater—the audience is more chill. I really like the trek up to Duluth and will even cross the border to Sleeping Giant Brewing Company up in Thunder Bay. In Grand Marais, we’ll cruise over to Angry Trout Cafe for sandwiches, and visit Sivertson Gallery and The Big Lake to stock my art. We’ll park off the side of the highway at Temperance River State Park or Cascade River State Park and take those trails to smell the pine trees.

5 Tips for Multi-Surface Cycling

This is the No. 1 thing I love to do with my buddies. We’ll try to hit paved, dirt, limestone, and gravel trails, or cross streams and rivers on our adventures. We ride on the limestone trails of the Lake Minnetonka LRT Regional Trail, and, down south, the Minnesota River Bottoms Trail in Bloomington. The bike I ride is a Warakin, by Burnsville-based Otso Cycles, with components by Wolf Tooth, also in Burnsville. It’s a comfortable cross bike. When we hit the trails up in Cuyuna Lakes, we stay at True North Basecamp, which has a cabin featuring a mural I designed and painted.

4 Spots to Eat and Drink

We like to go to Pizza Luce out in Hopkins for Baked Potato or Fire Breathing Dragon pizzas. George and the Dragon in southwest Minneapolis is one of my favorite restaurants. Breweries I love are Steel Toe Brewing, in St. Louis Park, and Pryes Brewing Company, in Minneapolis.

Here is Adam Turman’s creation that became the cover of the May/June issue of Minnesota Monthly.

Artwork by Adam Turman

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