Weekend Best Bets: Jan. 17-19

Things to do around the Twin Cities this weekend: Art Shanty Projects, tropical escapes, (probably just watch) ski jumping, and more
The International Ski Jumping Competition takes place this weekend in Bloomington
The International Ski Jumping Competition takes place this weekend in Bloomington

Lots of snow predicted this weekend. But whatever. You’re still doing stuff. (Safely.)

Another Reason to Love the Snow

What: SnowKato Days
When: Jan. 17-26
Where: Mankato

For Mankato’s inaugural winter fête, outdoor outings go hard: skiing, ice skating, snow sculpting, sled bowling, a learn-to-curl event, and a team challenge that mixes biking and snowshoeing with other chilly pursuits.

Sing Along

What: Together We Sing Festival
When: Jan. 18, 1:30-5 p.m.
Where: Minnesota History Center, 345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul

After a “radically diverse” youth chorus performs, presenters lead sessions for attendees. Conductor Jane Ramseyer Miller delves into the life of civil rights activist (and tenor vocalist) Bayard Rusin, and VocalEssence associate conductor G. Phillip Shoultz, III, presents “Songs of First Avenue.”

Dog Days of Winter

What: John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon
When: Jan. 18-29
Where: Duluth-Grand Portage (various North Shore lodges)

This year, the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon—the longest sled dog race in the lower 48—has broadened its appeal: It’s now part of an international, four-race circuit that includes Alaska’s famed Iditarod. Spectators lodge along the North Shore and can take part in mini races, a beer fest by Canal Park Brewing at Duluth’s Glensheen Mansion (Jan. 25), and other pop-up happenings.

Greenhouse Effect

What: Tropical Oasis Weekend/Winter Flower Show/Music Under Glass
When: Jan. 18, 19, and 21; 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Where: Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, 1225 Estabrook Dr., St. Paul

The Como Park Zoo & Conservatory made our Winter To-Do List because they get it. Snow’s on the way, and a “Tropical Oasis Weekend” has an impossible ring to it. Zoo activities for kids include animal moments—with stingrays, river turtles, frogs, fish, an anaconda, Chloe the sloth—plus storytime, crafts, games. At the conservatory, the Winter Flower Show opens Jan. 18, to run through March 22. On display: jewel tones. If you’re a flower person, that means dark red cyclamen, blue pansies, dark pink lilies, purple azaleas, and other stuff. Lastly, consider the conservatory’s free music series, Music Under Glass. It’s on Sundays, this weekend featuring rock group the Fattenin’ Frogs.

Gimme Shelter

What: Art Shanty Projects
When: Jan. 18-Feb. 9
Where: Lake Harriet, Minneapolis

Art installations on frozen Lake Harriet. Read all about their big comeback this year.

Up in the Air

What: International Ski Jumping Competition
When: Jan. 19
Where: Bush Lake Ski Jump, 8265-8273 E. Bush Lake Rd., Bloomington

Olympic hopefuls from Europe, the U.S., and Canada convene at Bush Lake Ski Jump. While they launch some 300 feet, you, more likely, watch and enjoy hot chocolate, beer, and food-truck fare in the chalet. (Meanwhile, here are the best ski hills in the Midwest.)

Gonna Be Alright

What: Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds
When: Jan. 19-March 1
Where: Children’s Theatre Company, 2400 Third Ave. S., Minneapolis

Based on a story by Bob Marley’s daughter, Cedella, with music by the reggae icon himself, Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds takes place in Jamaica and stars a young boy named Ziggy, whose hurricane- and supernatural-scarred imagination makes him too afraid to leave the house—unless, of course, some birds can convince him that everything’s gonna be alright.

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