Compared to the summer, there are quite a few less outdoor activities that Minnesotans of all ages can participate in; however, one thing kids love to do in the winter is build snow and ice forts. It's almost a right of passage in childhood. One of the 'coolest' features of the Minnesota winter is when adults play with ice, especially when they stack the ice blocks to form castles.
Miller Park in Eden Prairie will see the return of ice castles this winter. A Utah based company, Ice Castles LLC, will be charged with erecting the great ice structures this winter. Last year, the comapny also built an ice castle in Eden Prairie which attracted more than 80,000 visitors; the year before, at the Mall of America played host and also drew big crowds.
On September 15, the Eden Prairie City Council approved the company to create more of their ice masterpieces at Miller Park. The company will pay the city for all the water they use; so Eden Prairie residents don't need to worry about rationing their water.
This is a great family event that features the ice castles, plenty of cool lights illuminating them, other fun events and attractions, as well as snacks to warm up in the frigid weather. In order to really appreciate these castles and their craftsmanship, they need to be checked out up close.
Seriously, plan to bring the whole family. This is a great opportunity to show kids that even when they grow old, you can still make cool forts out of snow and ice.
Photo courtesy of: Kendrick Erickson
The city of Nagasaki, Japan, is a world away from St. Paul, Minnesota. But many here know the name as it was one of the two cities devastated by the United States atomic bomb attacks in World War II. Many Minnesotans might not know Nagasaki and St. Paul are sister cities, a tie that was established in 1955.
Ten years after World War II ended, the City of St. Paul hosted a special ceremony to celebrate their newly founded connection to the Japanese city. The ceremony was held on the ten year anniversary of Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1955. This relationship was established by James J. Hill's son, which later became a Sister City affiliation. This affiliation is one of the oldest in the United States and was one of the first between an Asian and American city.
A delegation from Nagasaki will visit St. Paul at the end of August to celebrate this 60 year connection. There will be plenty of events while the delegation is in town, from throwing out the first pitch at CHS Field to a Japanese Lantern Lighting Festival at Como Park.
While war has long since passed between these two great nations, it's important that neither nation forget the cost war had on their country. Both Nagasaki and St. Paul are striving to celebrate a bond, mourn the past and facilitate a peaceful future.
As the summer kicks into high gear, many Minnesotans can't help but to think of late August. The Minnesota State Fair is the biggest event in the state every year, drawing millions from all over the state to the fairgrounds. Nothing really has to change from year to year to get folks back to the "The Great Minnesota Get-Together," but hearing about new foods, concerts and events always sweetens the pot.
This year, there are a host of free concerts. The Grandstand is always a huge draw for music fans, but for those not looking to spend money on concert tickets, there are plenty of other options at 2015's fair.
Bandshell Tonight! has plenty of great free shows; Andy Grammer, who is a rising pop star with his current hit, "Honey, I'm Good," will be the most notable name to put on a free show at the fair.
Reel Big Fish is another significant name to be playing a free show this year. This group was one of the biggest names of the short-lived ska-punk phase; though their moment as a heavy hitter may have passed, they still have plenty of great tracks to entertain a live crowd. Those who want to have a little nostalgia for the mid-90s should find this concert right up their alley.
Local musician Charlie Parr will be playing a few times throughout the fair. He has a local following of fans who love his blues-y style. He has many shows throughout the fair this year and hopes to grab some new fans with each performance.
There are many other free concerts throughout the 12 days of the fair; check the Minnesota State Fair's website for more details on concerts and everything else fair related.
Image courtesy of: Minnesota State Fair
Who doesn't love beer and live music? Well, if you don't, then this event is not for you -- but if you are in the category of loving beer and music, 612 Brew Art Music and Beer Festival has got a weekend of fun for you. This event is in conjunction of the Art-A-Whirl festivities that same weekend. Oh, the best part? The event is open to the public and free to all.
On May 15th and 16th, Northeast Minneapolis will be lively with many live concerts, an open studio to check out talented local artists, and of course, beer from 612 Brewery. The brewery will be serving its five top selling beers during the event.
Friday night will play host to five bands and Saturday will showcase eight bands -- the headline acts include: Ash St. John, Nathan Miller, Loons in the Attic, and July Fighter.
With all the beer and entertainment, those in attendance are sure to get hungry -- well, worry not because there will be six food trucks on hand to give plenty of food variety to quench any hunger.
To learn more about this event, check out 612 Brewery's website.
Image courtesy of: 612 Brewery
This beautifully appointed home has been extensively upgraded with custom features not found at this price. The chef's kitchen features granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances. Hardwood floors throughout the main level tie together the open floor plan which is both breathtaking and functional.
Upstairs features 4 bedrooms including a larger master suite with 2 closets, huge master bathroom with separate tub and shower and dual vanities.
This beautiful custom built home sits on the banks of the Minnesota River with exceptional privacy and views of the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge.
This home features upgrades rarely found at this price. From the 2 master suites - one on the main and one upstairs - to the beautifully appointed basement bar, theatre and fitness center, this home is a masterpiece of design, function and ellegance.
- 4,373 Total finished square feet
- 5 Bedrooms
- 5 Bathrooms
- 3 car garage
Proudly marketed by Steve Hall for the price of $575,000.
The Walker Art Center will play host to one of Hollywood’s biggest directors on May 5th. The Dark Knight and Inception director Christopher Nolan will be visiting Minneapolis to have an open discussion about film with Variety movie critic Scott Foundas.
The London filmmaker has a huge following, so this event is sure to be in front of a packed house. Over the past 25 years, the Walker Art Center has had many acclaimed filmmakers for their Dialogues & Film Retrospectives program. The series has hosted Clint Eastwood, The Coen Brothers, Tom Hanks, Jodie Foster and many more.
Each of Nolan’s films will screen at the Walker to freshen attendees to his filmography. Nolan, one of the very few “traditional” filmmakers left in the business, still shoots his films on actual film, not digital cameras. That is sure to come up in the cinematic discussion, as almost all of Nolan’s peers shoot digital. In honor of Nolan’s celluloid allegiance, his films will all be shown on 35mm film.
Prices vary for the screenings depending on if you are a member of the Walker, a student, or just the general public. Tickets for the Nolan discussion will go on sale April 7th for Walker Film Club members and the general public on April 21st. Tickets are guaranteed to sell out, so if you want to go, you better plan ahead.
Contact the Walker for more info, by either calling 612-375-7600 or visiting walkerart.org/tickets.
Photo courtesy of: Warner Bros. Entertainment
22 local schools have been recognized as "Celebration Schools," an honor bestowed upon schools serving poor students who demonstrate good achievement.
The "Celebration" portion of the award is in part to Minnesota's new school accountability system. This monitors schools that receive federal poverty aid and gives them designations that correlate with how they fare academically. The "Celebration" designation is one of the highest commendations meant for the top 25% of schools receiving Title I money.
“I want to congratulate these schools for this incredible accomplishment,” said Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius. “Minnesotans should be proud of the work going on in our schools."
The full spread of schools is listed below -- congrats to all the "Celebration Schools" for their hard work to give more students opportunities to succeed in academics.
Blooming Prairie Elementary / Blooming Prairie Public School District
Cedar Park Elementary / Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan
Dover-Eyota Elementary / Dover-Eyota Public School District
Fair School Downtown / West Metro Education Program
Hmong College Prep Academy High School / Hmong College Prep Academy
Huddleston Elementary / Lakeville Public School District
Kelliher Secondary School / Kelliher Public School District
Kennedy Elementary / Willmar Public School District
Kenny Elementary / Minneapolis...
In 2015, the Minnesota State Fair will be even more of a special event for those who love country music. For those who love country music superstar Carrie Underwood, the Minnesota State Fair will be a can't miss event. The absolutely stunning singer will play a concert at the fair's Grandstand on Saturday, August 29th.
Since winning American Idol in 2005, Underwood has gone on to a very successful music career. She has sold more than 64 million records worldwide, recorded 18 number one singles and won six Grammys. Her accomplishments in the music industry don't stop there, but let's stop the gushing and move onto the details of the concert.
Though the 2015 State Fair is still so far away, tickets for Underwood's concert go on sale next week on December 15th. The tickets range from $50-$65 and can be purchased at the fairgrounds, at http://www.mnstatefair.org/ or etix.com, or fans can simply call (800) 514-3849.
Each year the fair does a great job of pulling in some of music's brightest stars for their Grandstand concerts -- it seems 2015 will be no different.
Photo by: MrHairyKnuckles
According to Forbes magazine's 2014 top ten list for 'Best and Worst States for Business', Minnesota ranks in the top ten coming in at #9. Last year, the state also cracked the top ten clocking in at #8.
The magazine ranked the states based on a total of 36 factors, like quality of life, labor supply and economic climate (not the actual climate, which is harsh at the moment). The state also has the fourth highest percentage of adults with a high school diploma at 92.4%. Another huge factor in the ranking was the $312 billion gross revenue for the state in 2013.
The metro has a healthy arena for business as many major corporations have called the state of Minnesota home. Those corportations include: Best Buy, General Mills, 3M, Target, US Bancorp, and Medtronic. With these hugh employers helping to flood the job market with not only jobs, but careers, it's no wonder why Minnesota has such a high ranking.
Minnesota has long been regarded as a great place for business (hence all the big corporations calling the state home), and this latest ranking proves just that.
Photo by: Matthew Deery