J4, the Hmong Freedom Festival [Photos]

If you live in Saint Paul, you probably know about J4, the annual gathering and freedom celebration that takes place each July 4th weekend in Como Park. The event has been going on for 35 years, and was founded to mark the anniversary of Hmong immigration into the United States. Continue Reading

TC Weekend | Open Streets Franklin, Powderhorn 24, IndiaFest, Japanese Lantern Lighting, Greek Fest and more!

Another fun-filled weekend is upon us, with a diverse and invigorating lineup of cultural, community and humanitarian festivities taking place in the Twin Cities. Let the fun begin — scroll down to see what’s on tap!Let us know how you will spend the weekend by sending your photos or comments to tcweekend@tcdailyplanet.net or tag them with name of the event or the hashtag #tcdpic, and we’ll add them to the Storify over the weekend. You can also send us a tip about an upcoming event at the email above or upload it yourself with our easy-to-use event calendar.Powderhorn 24, August 15 – 16It’s all about bikes this weekend in the Powderhorn neighborhood, as residents and friends bike for 24 hours straight. The event is in celebration of the Powderhorn neighborhood and surrounding south Minneapolis area, and sponsored by neighborhood businesses and community organizations. The event pits local bikers against one another in friendly competition to see who can do the most laps in a 24 hour span, while also highlighting the neighborhood. Continue Reading

TC Weekend | Basilica Block Party, Midtown Greenway Bike Fest, Dragon Fest, Bastille Day and more!

Updated 7/13/2014 1:25 a.m.The Fourth of July fireworks may be behind us, but there’s plenty of summer fun ahead! This weekend presents a diverse range of festivals in the Twin Cities — the big Basilica Block Party, and a number of smaller, free festivals around town. See this weekend’s spirited lineup below: Basilica Block Party, July 11 – 12The 20th Annual Basilica Block Party is here with another dynamic lineup of performers to rock the block! Sponsored by Cities 97, the concert features headliners Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, and Train, as well as performers Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite, and Michael Franti & Spearhead, among others. The long-running event serves as a fundraiser for Basilica Landmark. Continue Reading

TC Weekend | Red, White & Boom!, Prairie Home Companion 40th Anniversary, Taste of MN, park parties and more!

Updated 7/5/2014 3:45 pm If you’re not one of the estimated 41 million Americans planning on hitting the road this Fourth of July weekend, you’ll find an exciting and eclectic mix of events in Twin Cities to help you ring in the holiday and savor the weekend. Pant-less bike rides, war reenactments, patriotic concerts, family-friendly festivals in the parks – this weekend runs the gamut. See the lineup below, and check Where to see Fourth of July fireworks in the Twin Cities: Hot spots, fun facts. Red, White and Boom!, July 4 This annual two-day festival began July 3 with a Hot Damn 5K run, which served as a benefit for the firework fund and celebrations. On July 4 the real fun begins with the TC Half Marathon in the morning, followed by live music and a free Family Fun Zone. The evening ends with a BOOM — the dazzling fireworks display, one of the biggest in the state.6:30 am – TC Half Marathon6 pm – 10 pm: Live music, movies, food, and family activitiesMill Ruins Park and Father Hennepin Bluffs Park10pm – Fireworks Celebrating Our Independence at Powderhorn Park, July 4There may not be  fireworks this year, but there’s still plenty of fun to be had at Powderhorn Park with local musicians, food vendors, family activities like face painting, bouncy castle and more. Continue Reading

TC Weekend | Mother’s Day, Fishing Opener, National Train Day & more!

Last weekend felt like a spring explosion with its many festivals and long-awaited burst of sun. This weekend continues the spring fun with Mother’s Day events, the Fishing Opener, National Train Day celebrations, and a host of other activities. Read on for this weekend’s lively lineup: Bring Back Our Girls, Friday, May 9Start the weekend by lending your voice and signs to raise awareness about the 276 school girls who were abducted in Nigeria by the Boko Haram militia. Organizers are asking for participants to bring a red candle, wear the color red, and bring your camera to help document the event. More details here.Lake Street and Marshall Bridge, Minneapolis/Saint Paul6 pm Minnesota Fishing Opener, May 10 Anglers rejoice! Continue Reading

TC Weekend | Art in Bloom, Cinco de Mayo, MayDay, Festival of Nations & more!

We’ve endured puddles, potholes, puddles in potholes and chilly April showers — now it’s time for some May flowers!  This weekend’s forecast calls for a bit more sun (crossing fingers), perfect for getting out to Art in Bloom, the Summer Flower Show, and the many festivals in the Twin Cities. Details below:Art in Bloom, May 1-4 Take time to smell the roses and delight your eyes with timeless art at Minneapolis Institute of Arts’ 31st Annual Art in Bloom. On display will be 150 floral arrangements designed to reflect art from MIA’s permanent collection. Minneapolis Institute of Arts2400 Third Ave. S., Minneapolis, MNGeneral admission is free; price for ticketed events vary Go here for more info. Festival of Nations, May 1-4 Get a glimpse of the globe in one colorful setting at Festival of Nations, an annual festival presented by the Internatinal Institute of Minnesota. Continue Reading

TC Weekend | Get into the swing of spring with the Saint Paul Art Crawl and more!

TC Weekend is back, a sure sign of spring! We’ve selected a few choice events to help you ease into the season. From Earth Day cleanups and One Day in the Twn Cities to literary readings and art showings, there’s plenty on tap to help you get out and about this weekend!Saint Paul Art Crawl, April 25 – 27Lowertown, University Avenue and more in Saint Paul, MN; Go here for location info.4/25 –   6pm – 10pm4/26 – 12pm –   8pm4/27 – 12pm –   5pmEnjoy the work of over a hundred local artists as they open their studios to the public for the weekend. Thousands of visitors from across the Midwest take in this bi-annual art crawl that also features free music, theater performances, art activities and more! Free rides from Metro Transit are available. Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | You really don’t want to meet the Dicks at Dick’s Resort in the Mall of America

I’m not one to cry. Truth is, I rarely cry, but during a visit to Dick’s Resort in the Mall of America I was literally reduced to tears! The bartender was abusive, abrasive, and mean as HELL. I wasn’t sure why he was in a bad mood, but later found out that it is their “niche” to be mean as spitfire. Were they really trained to treat people like this, to the point of harassment? Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | The element of discipline that leads to success

A microcosm of the transformative work that Dalton Outlaw and Element Boxing and Fitness does, comes in the form of a young man named Deonte.Deonte, according to Outlaw, walked into Element about five years ago as an unmotivated teenager on the doorstep of making some pretty bad choices. He stuck with an intense training routine, working and sweating nearly everyday at the Element gym. He’s turned his life around, Outlaw says. “He committed to something positive and that correlated to life in the outside world.” Deonte now has a good job and is entrusted with teaching boxing skills to the young children in the gym.Outlaw and his partner and childhood friend Ceresso Fort built the business of Element Boxing and Fitness and the nonprofit Element Boxing Academy not just to provide their hometown of St. Paul with a much-needed boxing gym, but also to capture kids like Deonte at an early age and give them a community where they can learn respect, self-esteem and discipline.Except for the boxing ring in the middle, there is little or nothing of the Element gym that reminds you of a Rocky movie: huge east facing windows, clean and airy, children playing amid a forest of punching bags while their mothers lunge across mats carrying heavy weights; boxers of various ages pummel bags or spar in the ring. Continue Reading

St. Paul’s District 10 to vote on boundary change at November meeting

The District 10 Como Community Council will vote on bylaw changes that will reflect an adjustment in service boundaries between St. Paul Districts 6 and 10 and increase the size of the council at its Nov. 19 meeting, which will be held at the Historic Streetcar Station, 1224 N. Lexington Parkway, at 7 p.m.Since April 2013, a group of volunteers from District 10 and the South Como neighborhood have been working to revise the district’s bylaws to allow the move of more than 3,500 South Como residents from District 6 into District 10.The change will take effect on Jan. 1, 2014.The committee presented its final recommendations for changes to the District 10 bylaws at a community meeting on Sept. 25 and to the District 10 Community Council on Oct. Continue Reading