Weekend Outlook: Renaissance, Races & Gehry

Minnesota Renaissance Festival
Want to wear funny period clothing (although I’m not sure what time period that would be), speak in a faux British accent, play with ferries, and drink mead in public from a leather mug? There’s still time. The Minnesota Renaissance Festival’s closing weekend features extended hours on Friday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., rain or shine. My slightly snarky comments aside, the Renaissance Festival is actually quite fun, offering festival-goers an immersive, fantasy experience that’s hard to describe to those who haven’t yet visited the Realm. The festival has grown from its humble beginnings in 1971 to encompass a complete 16th century village located near Shakopee. Today it attracts more than 280,000 visitors each year, making it the largest Renaissance festival in the country. From jousting and swordplay to jugglers and magic, the festival offers entertainment for all ages. Check out some of the fine workmanship of the more than 275 crafters, which includes woodworking, glass, and ironworks. This weekend’s theme is Shamrocks & Shenanigans, which features all things Irish, including themed dance, food and music, not to mention free Guinness beer tastings.

Weisman Art Museum Grand Opening
Before there was Bilbao, Frank Gehry designed his first museum in 1993 right here in Minnesota with the Weisman Art Museum. Featuring the distinctive “curvilinear” look that is immediately recognizable as a Gehry, the museum soon became an important part of the Twin Cities cultural and artistic landscape. With subsequent growth, both in popularity and in its collection of art, the museum unveiled its plans in 2007 for an expansion that would add more than 8,000 square feet of gallery space, nearly doubling the size of the museum. The plans have come to fruition and the design, created by Frank Gehry once again, is complete. The Weisman Art Museum’s grand opening will take place on Sunday, Oct. 2, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free. A gala celebrating the museum scheduled for Saturday evening is sold out, but tickets are still available for the Gala After Hours Party on Saturday, from 10 p.m. to midnight, which features an early look at the galleries, beer and wine included with the ticket, and a performance by The New Standards.

Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon
This year marks the 30th anniversary for the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon, a sure sign of fall. Spectators can download a handy guidebook or pick up a copy at Twin Cities Caribou Coffee. Here’s a list of the ten best vantage points from which to watch the race. A list of entertainers will be on hand all weekend to inspire both runners and spectators. The 5K and 10K, along with a host of other family events will take place Saturday, while the marathon kicks off on Sunday morning at 8 a.m., following a route that travels from the Metrodome to the State Capitol in St. Paul.