I wouldn't call the 15th through 23rd of July the Best Days of Summer (perhaps the sweatiest?) but Minneapolis' Aquatennial celebration nails its fireworks, if not its slogan. Each year the fireworks top the city's Fourth of July show in quality and quantity and are, in fact, one of the largest annual displays in the country. As far as free entertainment goes, this event is tops. For an added bonus, it's usually less crowded than the Independence Day festivities.
After the show (or if it gets rained out) you don't have to walk far to continue the summer celebration. The Aster Cafe on St. Anthony Main offers reasonably priced food and drinks with live music and ample low-light ambiance. If it's not storming, sit outside and enjoy your fare on the patio. There's no cover this Saturday night and the Aster will host folksy singer-songwriter Andra Suchy. I have to admit I've never heard of her but Suchy's local music credits include performances on Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion" as well as commercials for Minneapolis-based Target.
Confession time: If I had a little more cash I'd spring for tickets to the Trampled by Turtles show on the Cabooze Plaza. The all-local lineup includes openers Roma di Luna and Charlie Parr, making the event an indie plaza paradise. Alas, $25 is more than I like to spend on an ordinary evening, especially when Minneapolis offers so many free (or cheap) possibilities. If you're more moneyed than I am, tickets are $25 and the doors open at 5pm.
While Saturday's activities all hover under the chance of severe weather, Sunday is supposed to be beautiful. Enjoy the outdoors at the Bakken Museum (3537 Zenith Avenue South, Minneapolis) as you learn how to cook from your backyard, courtesy of Whole Foods. Of course, this presents certain difficulties for those of us whose backyard is a parking lot. I'd rather not eat my tires or broken beer bottles, thank you very much.
Seriously though, the museum will offer General Mills breakfast treats to the first 100 visitors, a cooking lesson and make-your-own mini herb gardens at 11 am and 1pm as well as tours of the Green Energy Art Garden throughout the day. Best of all, it's all free (through Sunday only). For more information on the museum, which aim to inspire "a passion for science and its potential good," visit: http://www.thebakken.org/
Got better weekend plans? Share them with me so I can envy you as I spend tomorrow in rural Minnesota, where the mosquitoes outnumber even the conservatives.