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20 Festivals That Offer a Summer of Celebration Right Here in The Twin Cities

Stay in Town and Find Something New to Do Every Weekend This Summer
No summer vacation planned? No worries. The metro area offers an array of festivities to fill your weekends.
From Grand Old Day to The Great Minnesota Get Together, the warm weather season is packed with events that celebrate family and fun with exhibits, concerts and culture. With a new affair each weekend, your calendar will fill up fast. Music will play, art will be displayed and of course, food will be served. Here is a list of 20 top Twin Cities summer events:

June 7: Billed as the Midwest’s largest one-day festival, the first Sunday in June marks the first rite of summer. The frivolity begins with a parade at 9:30 a.m. that starts at Dale Street and rolls down Grand Avenue to Fairview Avenue.  Five “festival gardens” are filled with live music, food vendors, a sports district and a family fun district. 651-699-0029 or

June 13: From dusk ’till dawn, the city of Minneapolis offers itself up as home to dozens of eclectic art projects for this all-night arts festival at various locations across the city.

June 19-21: Gear heads can expect more than 11,000 classic cars parked along the streets of the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. The Minnesota Street Rod Association’s annual event features a classic car auction and swap meet with a model car contest and Cruise N Art Craft Fair. You won’t need to put a dime in the jukebox to hear the live music from the 1950s on Friday and Saturday nights.

June 19-21: Polka music will fill the air as sausages and kraut fill the bellies. The second GermanFest at St. Paul’s Historic Schmidt Brewery and Schmidt Artist Lofts, 822 W. Seventh St. in St. Paul, is a family-friendly three-day event that will focus on German culture through food, music, art, dance … and beer.

June 20-21: The popular Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis serves as the background to this annual festival featuring an art park, Father’s Day car show, live music and a food market. Stone Arch Fest’s Riverfront Concerts are June 17-20. 952-473-6422;

June 25-27: The Twin Cities Jazz Festival is one of the largest civic jazz festivals in the Upper Midwest each year, attracting more than 35,000 people to the vibrant, joyful sounds of jazz. Festival events are held in and around beautiful Mears Park, in the heart of downtown Saint Paul’s historic Lowertown. You’ll also find jazz in neighborhood bars and restaurants all weekend. 651-209-7195 or

June 27-28: A celebration of the GLBT community includes a festival at Loring Park (Oak Grove Street and Hennepin Avenue) along with a parade on Hennepin Avenue in downtown Minneapolis. 612-255-3260 or

June 28: Check out some wheels with meals in Uptown (Lake and Hennepin – 31st & Holmes). Participating food trucks at the fair will have a specialty dish that you and your friend can share for $5. This way, you will have the ability to try multiple food trucks all in the same day. 507-358-7592 or

July 2-5: Food, music and fireworks. What else can you ask for over the 4th of July weekend? Hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday; admission is free until 1 p.m., then $10 which includes $5 in food and beverage tickets. Kids 12 and under are free with an adult. Admission is free for Military, Police, Fire and EMT with ID on the 4th of July. Music begins at 11:30 a.m. each day on the Taste Stage and 2:30 p.m. on the Main Stage. Fireworks July 2-4, shows will be held on site starting at 10:20 p.m. Shuttle service and free parking available. Location: Carver County Fair Grounds, 501 West 3rd Street Waconia, MN 55387. 651-224-3228 or

July 10-11: Praise the Loud is the theme as big name bands (including headliners Weezer July 10th and Wilco July 11th) take multiple stages and rock The Basilica of St. Mary. Proceeds are directed through The Basilica Landmark to fund the continued renovation of The Basilica and its campus. In addition, a portion of all proceeds go to The Basilica’s St. Vincent de Paul outreach program, which provides services to those in need. Location: 1600 Hennepin Ave Minneapolis, MN 55403. 612.317.3457 or

July 11-12:  Two days of colorful, traditional dances and music showcase performance arts of Asia in the backdrop of Lake Phalen Park in St. Paul. Take in martial arts demonstrations, food vendors and – the centerpiece of the festival – ornate, colorful dragon boats racing on the lake. The festival includes a 5K run on Saturday.

July 17-19: This three-day St. Paul neighborhood fest at Cleveland Avenue and Ford Parkway includes a community picnic, live music, beer tent, juried art fair, petting zoo, business fair and an inaugural All Ford Car and Truck Show, commemorating 86 years of the Twin Cities Ford Assembly Plant.

July 18: They toss trees and hammers and burlap bags filled with mulch and stones. They dance in kilts and step over swords at this one-day festival at Faithful Shepherd Catholic School, 3355 Columbia Drive in Eagan. There are bagpipes, of course. There are tartans and clans and a British car show, Celtic music all day and a Scottish Marketplace. It’s all things Scottish and then some.

July 18: St. Paul’s Rondo neighborhood, which was ripped up when Interstate 94 cut through it the 1960s, is remembered with this annual celebration. The festivities include a parade, entertainment and a 5K run/walk. The 2015 event is planning to return to the Rondo Education Center’s Outdoor Field at 560 Concordia Ave. (Old Rondo Avenue).

Third full week in July: Fireworks, sandcastle-building competitions and boat races are just some of the activities during this annual summer celebration that takes place at various Minneapolis locations. 612-376-7669 or

Aug. 7-9: August is the unofficial month of outdoor art festivals in Minneapolis, which features three of them in the same weekend – the Uptown Art Fair (Aug. 7-9; Lake Street and Hennepin Avenue; 612-823-4581 or, the Loring Park Art Festival (Aug. 8-9; Oak Grove Street and Hennepin Avenue; 612-203-9911 or ) and the Powderhorn Art Fair (Aug. 8-9; 3400 15th Ave. S.; 612-767-3515 or ).

Aug. 7-9: No need to wait until St. Patrick’s Day to celebrate the Irish. This three-day free festival on St. Paul’s Harriet Island includes dancing, music, Gaelic sports, a Celtic marketplace, cultural displays, native Irish dogs, a traditional tea room and Irish food and drink. 651-645-0221 or

Weekends Aug. 22-Oct. 4: Damsels and knights and ye other olde characters make at least one expedition to Shakopee each fall to revel in all that is medieval at the annual Ren Fest. Jousting knights, themed weekends, more than 250 vendors, performers on 16 stages and throughout the grounds and massive turkey legs perfect for a-gnawing are just a nibble of the feast of attractions. Prices vary;

Aug. 23: Live music, dancing, performances and martial arts demonstrations are followed by the lighting of six stone lanterns and 300 floating paper lanterns on display throughout the Japanese Garden pond and Frog pond at St. Paul’s Como Zoo. 651-487-8200 or

Aug. 27-Labor Day, Sept. 7: The Great Minnesota Get-Together has abounding greatness. The final 12 days of summer are an extravaganza of music, food, exhibits, rides, displays and people, people, people at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in Falcon Heights. It’s hot, it’s greasy, it’s hilarious, it’s massive. And it’s all ours. Prices vary;
Sources: St. Paul Pioneer Press (

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