This weekend two major events are competing to draw attendees to Uptown Minneapolis and downtown St. Paul. Pizza Luce offers another solid local lineup at its Saturday block party and the Irish Fair includes three days of Gaelic pride replete with traditional dancing, fiddling and storytelling. Yet a third festival taking place outside of the city offers a finer fare worth mentioning.
I'm talking about the Art Meets Wine Festival at St. Croix Vineyards. With a relatively low-profile lineup and out of the way location, this festival has been overshadowed by its more popular competitors. For those who dislike swarming crowds and parking-induced headaches, however, this two-day festival promises a more relaxed summer afternoon.
Art Meets Wine features live local music and samples of local wine, beer and food at the beautiful St. Croix Vineyards, just off of Highway 36 toward Stillwater. The vineyard will offer free tours at 1pm and 3 pm both days of the festival, a tour worth taking if it's anything as informative as the one I took last fall. It's one thing to imagine grapes being crushed and fermented into wine, it's another thing entirely to follow the grapes through each stage and to see the machinery involved.
Whether you're a wine connoisseur, amateur or abstainer, you can't beat strolling through tree-lined hills accompanied by live music and fresh air. Unless, of course, you enjoy the chaos of an Uptown festival with 7,768 other merrymakers. That's how many have replied "attending" on facebook so far - and, truth be told, I'm one of them.
Note: Sunday looks like the better day to visit the vineyards with a weather forecast of sunshine and 80 degrees.If you time it right, you could hit the Irish Fair on Friday, the Pizza Luce Block Party on Saturday and the Art Meets Wine Festival on Sunday. Also worth mentioning is Peter Wolf Crier at Lake Harriet on Friday night - bring a picnic and stake a claim to your spot early as the crowd gets big fast.