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TC Weekend | Mpls. Aquatennial, Rondo Days, Highland Fest, Roots, Rock & Deep Blues Fest & more!

Updated 7/18/2014 12:45 p.m.The All-Star festivities have wrapped up, but the Best Days of Summer are just beginning with the start of the Minneapolis Aquatennial and other big cultural and community festivals in the Twin Cities this weekend. So far the weather forecast looks bright — perfect for getting outdoors and enjoying the festivities! See what’s on tap below: Highland Fest, July 18 – 20The 31st Annual Highland Fest offers something for everyone with a mix of new attractions and old favorites. Live music, a beer tent and an assortment of food and beverage vendors will make a return this year, along with a juried art fair, petting zoo, dog races, business fair, 5k  race, and activities for kids. Debuting this year are a community picnic, Wine and Canvas, a meat raffle/bingo, Zumba in the park, a pancake breakfast, wine tasting, a movie in the park, and an All Ford Car and Truck Show to commemorate 86 years of the Twin Cities Ford Assembly Plant.Highland VillageCleveland Avenue S. & Ford Parkway, Saint PaulGo here for the schedule of eventsFree Minneapolis Aquatennial, July 18 – 26Fresh off the All-Star festivities, Minneapolis is on a roll with the start of the 75th Annual Aquatennial Festival, the official civic celebration of the city. Continue Reading

ST. PAUL NOTES | Highland, SunRay libraries closing for renovation, new art installation at Rondo

Spotlight on St. Paul reports that Rondo Community Outreach Library has a new reader bench, created by artist Seitu Jones in honor of retired librarian Alice Neve. According to the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library, Jones selected materials “to complement another major work commissioned by the library: the story tree and multicolored ‘kites’ rising into the ceiling in the children’s area.””Alice’s Storyteller Bench” was commissioned by Neve’s husband, Leon, and unveiled on October 20.Meanwhile, Highland Park and Sun Ray libraries are preparing to close for renovations at the beginning of December, not to reopen until the fall of 2014. According to the library website, the Highland renovations will help to better integrate the library and the Hillcrest Recreation Center, as well as providing additional parking and an exterior book drop, a new teen zone, new community meeting room, expanded children’s area, and more internet stations and powered furniture to accommodate personal technology.Sun Ray library is also set for renovations during 2014, including a new public plaza, sidewalks and landscaping, better car and bike parking, an outdoor reading garden, an expanded children’s section and a dedicated teen zone, “genius bar” technology counters, as well as a community room.According to the Highland District Council posting on E-Democracy, Highland Park Library will celebrate the remodeling with a Siesta Fiesta on Sunday, December 1 from 1-5 p.m. After the closing, preschool storytimes and book club meetings iwll be in the Hillcrest Recreation Center, Amharic storytimes will move to Homecroft Early Learning Center, and job search assistance, Paw Pals, and Dr. Who group meetings will be held at the Merriam Park Library. Continue Reading

TC Weekend: Photo wrap, Highland Fest, more

We’ve got a writer/photographer on assignment to Rondo Days, and arts reporting on other events this weekend, but there’s too much going on to get everything! Two events in my morning emails: A gigantic photo wrap happening in North Minneapolis from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and a vigil for Trayvon Martin at the Minneapolis federal building from 11-noon. Other events: Midtown Phillips Festival, Hopkins Raspberry Parade, Minneapolis Aquatennial and Highland Fest in St. Paul.  If you want to share what’s going on this weekend, just shoot me an email with links to your photos, or info on what you’ve seen and heard around the Twin Cities, or post on social media with #TCweekend — or email editor@tcdailyplanet.net to tell me what other tag you are using. Continue Reading

Francis Basket food shelf reopens in St. Paul’s Highland Park neighborhood

Almaz Zeru works part-time three days a week at a pizza parlor.  She is a survivor of the ravages of war in Eritrea and has made dramatic life/cultural changes coming to Minnesota.  She has used Francis Basket food shelf in Highland Park for three years.

“I get minimum wage and when I get a better job I won’t need to use food assistance,” said Zeru, a single mom of two children.  

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MONDAY PICK | Get iced at the Caribou Highlands Lodge

I’m always a sucker for a good ice bar, so I feel compelled to inform you that there are not one but two currently operating at Caribou Highlands Lodge in Lutsen—where those hard-core skiiers who don’t want to warm up even when they’re not on the slope can meet the lodge-lovers who will venture into subzero temps only when there’s a drink involved. There’s the intimate Moguls Ice Bar, and then there’s the magnificent BLU Ice Bar, a full bar made out of 60,000 pounds of ice. There’s even a theme—Lake Superior lighthouses—and an “aurora borealis wall.” Kitsch it while you can: there’s no guarantee the ice bars will be open past March 31. Continue Reading