Lake Harriet Winter Kite Festival

This Saturday is the 17th Annual Lake Harriet Winter Kite Festival.  It takes place on the north end of the lake from noon-4.  You can choose to participate or just observe all the fun kites flying above.

The 17th Annual Lake Harriet Winter Kite Festival will take place on the north end of Lake Harriet near the Lake Harriet Band Shell. Kites of all shapes, sizes, colors and themes will fly over frozen Lake Harriet.

Minnesota Kite Society experts will demonstrate their skills maneuvering spectacular kites throughout the day, and offer their expertise to kite flying enthusiasts and to those who are new to the pastime. Bring your own kite, or buy an inexpensive one at the lake.

Tips Outdoors will teach kids ice fishing skills and safety tips. Equipment and permits for children will be provided.

2018 Hudson Hot Air Affair

Even though I’ve yet to actually ride in a hot air balloon, I love to watch them.  The 2018 Hudson Hot Air Affair takes place this coming weekend ( Jan 26-28).  A chance to see countless balloons all in one area.

The complete schedule of events can be found here on their website.  The weather can and many times does affect the schedule for balloons so make sure to check their website for updates.

2018 Hudson Hot Air Affair :: Touchdown Hudson XXIX

Join us in Hudson, Wisconsin along the beautiful St. Croix River for Hudson Hot Air Affair, the premier winter ballooning event and winter festival in the Midwest.  This family friendly event includes activities such as an evening Torchlight parade, hot air balloon launches, geocaching, marketplace and craft fair, smoosh boarding, 5K fun run, bingo, balloon moon glow or field of fire, just to name a few.

Please note due to the Super Bowl in Minneapolis, the Hot Air Affair will be moved forward one week to January 26-28, 2018.

Join us for all the great fun to be had in  Hudson, Wisconsin.  Please view the 2018 schedule for a complete list of events and activities.



Minneapolis Public Art Tour

Public Art Tour Minneapolis

The Minneapolis area has a wide range of public art all around the city. Some, we walk by each and every day and don’t notice.  Other pieces are a bit more famous.  I bet you didn’t know there are approximately 300 individual pieces of public art to visit in Minneapolis!  Yes 300 just in Minneapolis, then if you add on the surrounding suburbs plus St. Paul that number jumps even more.

It doesn’t matter if you’re from here or just visiting, walking around the neighborhoods can be a great way to learn something new.  The City, and Park Board recently launched interactive maps for self-guided public art tours.  There are six different, self-guided tours to check out.  The best part is, it doesn’t cost anything to walk around.

You can pick any of the six tours here on their website, then follow the map and learn a little about the art around Minneapolis.

Minneapolis Public Art Tour

The City of Minneapolis has teamed up with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board on six self-guided, interactive tours exploring public art. There are approximately 300 individual pieces of public art to visit in Minneapolis.

The interactive maps feature detailed information about each artwork and directions to the pieces. The maps also provide information on how long each tour will take for those who choose to bike, walk or drive.

To find out the number of artworks, featured artists and more, visit the Minneapolis Public Art Tour interactive website. Tour goers are encouraged to share their adventures using the hashtag #TourMplsArt.

2018 Art Shanty Projects

Perhaps you’ve heard about the Art Shanty Projects or maybe not.  The Art Shanty Projects have been happening for several years and have been on White Bear Lake.  This year for the first time, the Art Shanty Projects have taken up residence on Lake Harriet.  The Shanty Projects will be open for three weekends with January 20-21 being the first one and continuing the following two weekends (Jan 27-28 and Feb 3-4).  If you like to plan check out the schedule for each day here.

We’ve been to the Art Shanty Projects the last three years and each time loved it.  It’s a free event, which of course is a huge bonus.  The temporary village on the ice is really something you just need to experience first hand.   Each individual Shanty has it’s own story, brought to life in an interactive artistic form.

A few tips if you decide to visit the Art Shanty Projects:

  • Dress warm, layers if possible.  You’ll be on a lake and sometimes the wind is very different than what you think it will be.
  • Wear comfortable but yet warm boots.  Again you will be on the ice, but also walking around.  This is MN, this is winter.
  • Occasionally they have food truck options, but I suggest bringing some snacks with just in case.  Or like us last year, we sort of lost track of time going in and out of the Shanty’s so the snacks came in handy.
  • Plan ahead for parking, there’s also a free bus option if you go opening weekend.
  • Keep an open mind.  There’s a list of the Shanty’s and it gives a description for each one.  We decided to be surprised with some of them and did not read anything, just walked up and opened the door.  Sort of like “What’s behind door #1”.
  • GO and HAVE FUN.  It really is something everyone in MN needs to experience.

Art Shanty Projects transforms a frozen lake surface into a creative community space that is part art gallery, part art residency and part social experiment. Thousands of people are drawn to our outdoor event during a time of year when weather often keeps residents isolated. The unpredictable wind-swept, snow-covered location challenges artists to generate platforms for unique experiences while contending with natural and human elements.

Past shanty artists have elicited public interactions around such varied activities and inspirations as stress-relieving practices in a geodesic dome, curling competitions, lively debate forums and soap-box proclamations, kinetsthetic pedal-powered polar bear puppet rides, a life-sized music box, a giant zoetrope, and an imaginative elevator ride. Artist-audience interactions have become integral to our mission.

In addition to the interactive multidisciplinary component of the shanties, programs of performance art happen throughout the four weekends of the festival. This work takes the form of multiple, smaller performances and interactions that are not necessarily tied to a particular shanty, sometimes take place withing a structure, and sometimes happen in and among the visitors walking on ice. Past programming has included creation of a living snow globe, ‘snowga’ (yoga in snowsuits), spontaneous a cappella singing on the ice and art car parades.

Winter Frolic – North West Company Fur Post

North West Company Fur Post Winter Frolic

This Saturday (January 20th) would be a great time to head to the North West Company Fur Post, located near Pine City.  The Fur Post is part of the Minnesota Historical Society.  The Winter Frolic event takes place from 12-4.  It’s supposed to be a bit warmer, so only minimal layers will be needed.  If you have a Historical Society membership, you can save 20% on admission to the event.

North West Company Fur Post Winter Frolic

Shake off the winter blues by heading outdoors at the fur post. Learn about winter travel during the fur trade and join in activities like throwing a curling stone, playing a round of Ojibwe snow snake, or snowshoeing along two miles of trails.

Guests can also relax indoors, enjoy a cup of cocoa before a blazing fire; watch the outdoors festivities from the visitor center and play period parlor games.


Children’s Theatre Company: The WIZ Discount Code and Ticket Giveaway!

Children's Theatre Company: The WIZ Discount Code and Ticket Giveaway

We are super excited. The WIZ is coming to Children’s Theatre Company! The WIZ is a joint venture between CTC and Penumbra Theatre.  If you aren’t familiar with The WIZ, I won’t spoil it for you, but can tell you it shares a strong resemblance to The Wizard of Oz.  Although it is similar, there’s so much that is different too.  I can tell you one thing for sure, The WIZ is full of excitement, music and fantastic energy.

I had the opportunity for a behind the scenes sneak peek of it and this is a production you don’t want to miss.  The one-of-a kind costumes are amazing.  On the tour of the costume shop, we saw glimpses of all the colorful, creative clothes and wigs coming to life.

Watching the cast rehearsing one of their songs was amazing.  By the smiles and laughter along with the energy in the room, I could tell they love this show and are excited to bring it to the stage.

Childrens Theatre Company Wiz Munchkin Costume


Discount Code:


The WIZ runs January 23rd- March 18th with a run time of about 2 hours.  Because we love to help you save you money, we have two deals for you.  First we have a giveaway contest for two tickets (to be used for weeknight performances T-F) at the bottom of the post.  We also have a 20% off discount code that can be used towards the purchase of tickets.

Minneapolis, Minn. – Children’s Theatre Company (CTC) in partnership with Penumbra Theatre will present The Wiz, adapted from L. Frank Baum’s classic story The Wonderful Wizard of Oz; directed by Lou Bellamy, Founder and Artistic Director Emeritus of Penumbra Theatre Company, assistant directed and choreographed by Patdro Harris (Broadway credits as Choreographer for A Raisin in the Sun), with music direction by Sanford Moore (Musical Director at Penumbra Theatre). The extraordinary cast includes Paris Bennett (American Idol top five finalist 2006) as Dorothy, Dennis Spears (Ivey Award for Excellence in Acting, Member of the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame) as Tinman, CTC’s Performing Apprentice Dwight Leslie as Scarecrow, Aimee Bryant (CTC’s Akeelah and the Bee) as Addaperle, T. Mychael Rambo (Guthrie Theatre, Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, Park Square Theatre, Mixed Blood) as The Wiz, Rudolph Searles III (Ordway Center for Performing Arts, Chanhassen Dinner Theatre, Park Square Theatre) as Lion, Greta Oglesby (Guthrie Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Goodman Theatre, and more) as Aunt Em/Evillene, and Jamecia Bennett (Guthrie Theatre, Lab Theatre, Park Square Theatre, Capri Theatre) will take the stage as Glinda/Crow/Ensemble.

The production also includes scenic design by Vicki Smith (Bay Area Critics Award, Drama-Logue Award, Colorado Theatre Guild Henry Award, Denver Critics Award), costume design by Mathew LeFebvre (Guthrie, Signature Theatre, Minnesota Opera and others), lighting design by Don Darnutzer (Broadway credits as Lighting Designer for It Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues) and sound design by Sten Severson (CTC, Broadway, West End, Off-Broadway, Public Theatre (Audelco Award).

“My concept for our production is rooted deeply in African American history & custom,” stated Director Lou Bellamy. “Dorothy’s journey from (in our production) Nicodemus, Kansas to the Wiz’s palace in Harlem, pays homage to the Great Migration made during Reconstruction by thousands of African Americans from rural environs to urban living.”

Children’s Theatre and Penumbra Theatre are excited to embark upon an historic partnership that will bring Minnesota audiences the best of what both companies offer. Long heralded as the leading theatre for young audiences in the country, CTC creates artistically excellent, sophisticated theatre for multigenerational audiences, while Penumbra Theatre, the leading African American theatre company in the nation, produces artistically excellent, socially responsible drama depicting authentic representations of black life and culture. Both companies bring a passion for advocacy for their often underserved audiences, and have pioneered educational programming that innovates within the field – CTC’s critical literacy work and Penumbra’s racial justice work will allow these two treasured companies to forge something together that neither could do alone. Leadership at both organizations is committed to forging a deep and equitable partnership that will indelibly impact both for the better.

Photo: Dan Norman

“It is a great thrill and honor to partner with Penumbra Theatre,” stated CTC Artistic Director Peter C. Brosius. “They are a major force in the national theatre world as well as a local treasure. The insights and experience they bring to this partnership have been extraordinary and we look forward to continuing to find ways to work together.”

“This relationship isn’t transactional,” stated Penumbra Theatre Artistic Director Sarah Bellamy.  “We are getting to a space of depth and real honesty with each other in terms of our conversations about equity, what our aesthetics are, how we can create a proactive, equitable, shared learning environment and that feels very unique.”

Ease on down the road with Dorothy and her friends with a dazzling mixture of rock, gospel and soul music. Embark on this Oz-some adventure through a magic land where you will meet funky monkeys, winkies, Addaperle and Evillene. You don’t need a wizard—just believe in yourself to find home and feel that brand-new day.

To learn more about this partnership between CTC and Penumbra Theatre, take a look at this video here.


Reader Giveaway:

One lucky Thrifty Minnesota reader will win 2 Weeknight Tickets to Children’s Theatre Company The Wiz!! (2 tickets for any weeknight performance that isn’t already sold out – that’s any Tuesday through Friday performance.) To enter, just complete the entry form below by 11:59pm ET on 1/29/18. Good luck!!

Children’s Theatre Company The Wiz Ticket Giveaway

Winter Fete in Bloomington

It’s time for the the 14th annual Bloomington Winter Fete.  A family friendly winter celebration filled with a variety of activities.   It begins January 20 and goes through the 28th.

  • Skiing activities
  • Biking events
  • Ice Skating
  • Winter Kite Festival
  • History Festival

Check out the website for all the details.


Family Skating Party in St. Paul

Check the family calendar for January 19th.  The Hayden Heights Rec. Center is hosting a family skating party event.  It’s free and open to ages 3-99.  If you have your own skates bring them, as they will have limited skates available.  The party is from 6-7:30.  You can find more information here on their website and register in advance to let them know you’re coming.

  • Ice Skating
  • Play Board Games
  • Hot Cocoa and Cookies

If you can’t make it January 19th.  Check out the calendar, other locations in St. Paul will be hosting family skating parties on January 26th.  


GRAND Opening: Bartz Snow Sculpture

Mother Nature and a crazy amount of creativity make a great team in New Brighton. The Bartz family has been creating large snow sculptures in their front yard since 2012. These sculptures aren’t just large, they are gigantic.

The GRAND Opening: Bartz Snow Sculpture event takes place tomorrow January 16th.   This year’s sculpture will be a giant lobster. They’ve been asking for name suggestions on their FB page.  There’s no admission to view the sculpture, however the family appreciates donations. Each year the money raised goes towards clean water through the organization One Day’s Wages.

JOIN us for the unveiling of our newest snow sculpture on! A giant Snow Lobster! We will be outside to answer any questions! Lights will be illuminating the sculpture until 11 pm. Once again, we will be raising money for clean water through the organization One Day’s Wages. We would love to see you!!

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Free Admission Day

Tomorrow, January 15th is a Free Admission Day at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.  If you can’t make it tomorrow, mark your calendar, each third Monday of the month is a free admission day.

And, actually, ANY day this month is a great time to visit because they are offering Buy One, Get One Free Admission every day during January 2018 for non-members!

Located near Chanhassen, the Arboretum is a place to embrace each and every season.  The Arboretum offers a wide range of activities and classes for all ages, take a look at what they offer on their website.


Minnesota Landscape Arboretum History and Mission

The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, a top visitor attraction, is more than 1,200 acres of gardens and tree collections, prairie and woods and miles of trails. As a premier northern garden, the Arboretum was borne out of the University of Minnesota Horticultural Research Center and established in 1958, with the Men’s Garden Club of Minneapolis, Lake Minnetonka Garden Club, Minnesota State Horticultural Society and other community supporters creating the Arboretum as a gift to the University of Minnesota.