Tag Archives: Explore Minnesota

#MnMondays: The Great Minnesota Get Together!

It’s officially that time of year…the Minnesota State Fair opens on Thursday!

Treasured by those around the state, this is a truly Minnesotan experience with bake-offs, farm animals, Grandstand concerts, tractors, and last but certainly not least, fried foods and everything on a stick!

Commonly referred to as “The Great Minnesota Get Together” this event draws people from all over the state (and the world) to come together to graze on buckets of cookies, while sipping all-you-can-drink cups of milk, then heading to the animal barns to see the largest swine, watch baby animals being born at the Miracle of Birth Center, nibbling on something fried or something on a stick, catching a live newscast by one of the local network affiliates, checking out the arts and crafts on display in the Creative Activities building, setting a spell at the bandshell for some live music, trying some MN Wines, eating some more fried foods or something on a stick, like a Pronto Pup, people watching, and maybe ending the day with a show by a favorite artist at the Grandstand, and capping off this year’s trip with fireworks. Or maybe checking out machinery, or going to the Midway, or taking the kids to ride the kiddie rides, or seeing the bees up close in the horticulture building, or checking out the 4-H displays. There really is something for everyone, and everyone really does seem to have a different favorite thing to do or experience at the Fair.

Personally, I have several favorites. I saw my first concert (Alabama) at the Grandstand when I was six, and nearly every year since then I’ve gone to a Grandstand Show. Of course I’m going again this year for the Dixie Chicks (and Alabama is back. As far as fair foods, I have several favorites including Fudge Puppies (Belgian waffle on a stick dipped in chocolate), several items at Mancini’s, the Reuben Bites at O’Gara’s and of course…corn on the cob! A trip to the Fair is not complete without it.

Another favorite thing of mine is the baking contests. Last year, I entered an original recipe for the first time, and I took second place in the Gold Medal Flour Cookie Contest. It was so exciting! I’m currently finalizing this year’s entry…stay tuned….

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2015 Gold Medal Cookie Contest Winners

What’s your favorite State Fair food or experience?

The Uptown Art Fair

If you like strolling along the street, looking at art by a variety of artists, then the Uptown Art Fair is the place to be.

Typically held in the Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis on the first weekend in August, the fair draws more than 340 artists from around the world specializing in everything from printmaking to glass blowing.

This year, attendees were treated to especially perfect weather. With highs in the low 80s, soft breezes and plenty of sunshine, there was something even more magical about checking out the booths along Hennepin Avenue. I especially loved Adam Turman’s prints, Dogfish Media, and Greta Sandquist’s colorful paintings-especially her squirrel art!

Even the garbage cans were turned into works of art for the event!

Uptown Art Fair Art Can.jpg

In addition to art, there were a variety of local food trucks, including Bridgeman’s Ice Cream and the Kitchen Window had a paella stand that pretty much was its own art form.

Uptown Art Fair Paella StandUptown Art Fair Bridgemans

When it was time for a break (and some dinner), we decided to head to the rooftop patio of Libertine. What a view of the festival, and the bustling Uptown neighborhood. And I must say…the Fried Chicken Sandwich was pretty fantastic.

To top it off, the drive around Lake Calhoun leaving the Art Fair was a picture perfect Saturday evening with cool lake breezes, the Minneapolis skyline in the background, and a gorgeous sunset.

Lake-Calhoun-Summer-EveningSunset On Lake Calhoun

Did you attend the Uptown Art Fair? Who were your favorite artists?

If you didn’t go this year, mark your calendar for next year…there’s really nothing like it.

 

#MnMondays: The Stillwater Lift Bridge

Completed in 1931, the historic aerial lift bridge is an iconic landmark in Stillwater. Spanning over the St. Croix River, and connecting Minnesota and Wisconsin, the famous bridge is crossed by about 18,000 vehicles daily.

Throughout the years, visitors young and old have enjoyed hearing the horn notifying everyone the bridge will be going up, then watching the bridge lift into the air to allow boats of all kinds from large yachts to paddle boats pass through. From the shore, you can stand and wave at the boats as they go, with the passengers usually waving as if they are on parade.

There’s something so simple, yet so fascinating about it that it has continued to lure a crowd for generations. When the river rises too high, the bridge has to close, causing all of the traffic to reroute miles down the road to make the river crossing.

Later in 2016, the construction of a new bridge will be complete, and the famous icon will be converted into a bicycle and pedestrian bridge. While it’ll be nice to have a higher bridge that will always be crossable, it’s sad to see the end of an era in historic downtown Stillwater…

What’s your favorite lift bridge memory?

Flying Into Summer: The Aveda Butterfly Garden

As summer officially begins, there’s something special in the air at the Minnesota Zoo—the Aveda Butterfly Garden.  Just beyond of the Tropics Trail, visitors step outside and into a screen tent filled with flowers and plants…and lots of butterflies!

It’s a beautifully serene environment, where the birds outside of the tent are chirping, the scent of wildflowers fills the air and butterflies slowly bat their wings as they fly from one flower to another, sometimes landing on the shoulder (or nose) of zoo visitors. As a guest, you are asked to be cautious, as you never know where the butterflies may land…often it can be right on the path in front of you. The varied amounts of colors and sizes of butterfly species within the garden is amazing…it seems like no two are exactly alike.

The special summer exhibit is open from June 18 to September 5. If you visit, be sure to bring your camera. There’s plenty of photo opportunities to capture nature’s bounty of colors. #MnMondays