Weekend Outlook: It's Fair Time

With one long weekend behind us, it’s hard not to look to the next—especially since it’s another good one. In fact, summer in Minnesota is synonymous with a lot of things: lakes, patios, grilling. And now that June is [almost] here, it also means outdoor festivals and fairs. And I don’t just mean “The Great Minnesota Get-Together,” The Minnesota State Fair. No, two of the best are happening this very weekend, to kick off a whole season of fun:

Grand Old Day: Sunday, June 3
7:45 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Along Grand Avenue in St. Paul from Fairview Ave. to Dale St.
Cost: Free to attend ($8 for wristband to music gardens)

This festival has been bringing crowds to St. Paul since 1963, and a grand day it is, especially when the weather behaves. I’ll admit that I’ve attended many years, wandering in the sun, mostly people-watching and perusing, but never paid too close attention to the event layout—but it’s very specific, and clearly planned out: You’ve got your Family Fun District, which leads into the Art District, and then Sporting District, and finally, Entertainment District. Parents, that gives you a good hint about where you’ll find the rowdier crowds, and where to park your strollers for the 10 a.m. parade.

Expect art vendors, Teen Battle of the Bands, my personal favorite ArtCar projects, all our sports teams represented, live music, and of course food. And beer. Because although the event is free to attend and family-friendly, many 21+ will want to fork over $8 (or $6 if you buy in advance at Frattallone’s Ace Hardware, Dixie’s, or Wild Onion) for access to the live music festival gardens. There’s also Grand Old Day On the Go in the morning, for those looking to burn a few calories before the festivities: Options include an 8K inline skate, 8K run, 5K run/walk, and youth run—plus races for the uber competitive. Take note: Metro Transit is offering free rides to Grand Ave. Just print this pass.

Edina Art Fair: Friday, June 1 through Sunday, June 3
10 a.m. to 7 p.m – Friday and Saturday
10 a.m. to 5 p.m – Sunday
50th and France Quarter
Cost: Free to attend

It’s all about the creative community here, as more than 300 artists (local and national) gather to show off their beautiful, diverse wares and talents. It’s another great outing for the family, what with the Kid’s Art Zone activities, face-painting, and special performances. As with any outdoor event, there’s also food courts to keep you sustained, and lots of live enterainment. The somewhat recent addition of the Green Artists’ work is pretty cool:  These works of art are made from recycled and/or reused materials, and made with 75% environmental friendly materials—definitely worth a look-see. (Tip: park at Southdale Shopping Center and take a free shuttle to the Fair.)

With the sun, smells, and beautiful sites, how can you resist buying a new focal piece for your home? I can’t. That is, unless I run into too many people I know…

That’s the glory of most Minnesota fairs, if you’re from here—you can get lost in the wonder and activities and creativity, but immediately snap back to reality with a quick call of your name.

P.S. This Saturday, Minnesota Monthly is hosting an official tour of the St. Paul Farmers’ Market, plus a three-course lunch at The St. Paul Grill, with optional wine pairings. It’s a great way to learn more about local cusine.