Monthly Archives: August 2010

The MN Polish Fair was Wonderful!

The Polish music still plays in my head as review the mental – and digital – images of polka dancers, red and white memorabilia everywhere, and the ambient aroma of fine Polish cuisine.  My original intent was to capture the story of a young couple’s surprise engagement on stage during the Dolina Dancers.   The unanticipated delight was a perfect August afternoon at the Twin Cities Polish Festival at St. Anthony Main on the Mississippi – notepad in hand and camera at the ready.

According to plan, I did my best to capture the delightful experience in a piece for the following day’s Twin Cities Daily Planet.  This was a quintessential Poking Around experience to be shared with readers of this blog committed to that precise purpose.

Hum a polka and tap a toe as you read along.

Minnesota State Fair Calendar

It’s highly unlikely that anyone was ever afraid to ask anything about the Minnesota State Fair.  Just in case, the world needs to know about Fairchild’s Fantastic Fair Fun Funder on the State Fair website.  More than you ever wanted to know about the Great Minnesota Get Together!

Among the highlights you’ll find the answer to the perennial question:  What day is it?

During the Fair the question refers to what “special” deals are on today is it?   Here a snatch of hints but there’s lots more on FFFFF (or, as I prefer, F5)

Thursday, August 26 Thrifty Thursday – reduced admission with discounts at the Mighty Midway and Kidway Rights.  At Carousel Park (9-4) it’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) Day – construct a bridge, experience the power of an earthquake (why?), engineer a construction or make concrete float.

Friday, August 27Governor’s Fire Prevention Day.  You’ll find Early Bird Specials till 1 pm. on Mighty Midway and Kidway rides, games and concessions.  More exciting perhaps are the youth firefighter competition or extinguisher training at Carousel Park as well as The Hot Zone at West Dan Patch where you’ll be treated to demo car fires, fire equipment, mock extrications, kitchen fires and other thrills for the amateur pyromaniac.

Saturday, August 284H Day.  Need I say more?  A busy day for 4-Hers from virtually all of Minnesota’s 87 counties.  It wraps up with the 4-H Purple Ribbon Audition at 6 p.m. in the Judging Arena.  Lots more including a bunch of sports guys, e.g. Joe Soucheray, Patrick Reusse, The Rookie and others, 10-noon at Carousel Park.

Sunday, August 29FAN Central Day.  Minnesota pro sports teams will be there, but there’s lots more including participants and winners in the Community Pride Contest  and a guest appearance by singer-songwriter Charlie Maguire and other Minnesota musicians.

Monday, August 30Seniors, Kids & MN State Patrol Day.  Over 65 and kids 5-12 get those special deals on admission and lots of discounts on rides.  At West Dan Patch Park reps of the Minnesota State Patrol will  offer a show-and-tell about their initiatives, techniques and duties.

Tuesday, August 31 – It’s Ticket Deal Tuesday featuring Early Bird Specials till 1 p.m. with discounts on rides, games and concessions.  The eighth annual Minnesota Cooks event at Carousel Park brings together local farmers, chefs, celebrities and the community for demos and discussions about sustainable food production practices and the farmer-to-consumer connection.

Wednesday, September 1 Read & Ride Wednesday.   Public library cardholders receive a discount on admission when they show their library card.  In Carousel Park it’s the “Great Minnesota Read-Together” featuring a children’s CD release party, a reading of A Fabulous Fair Alphabet by author and illustrator Debra Frasier (10:30 a.m.), presentations by Minnesota mystery writers, games and activities all day at Carousel Park.

Thursday, September 2 — Seniors Day. As anyone 65 or better knows, it’s reduced admission and special events including “The State’s Largest Senior Stretch & Stroll” with mind and body-stretching exercises and lots of perks, e.g. t-shirts, that rare fashion feature of the Fair.

Friday, September 3MPR Day.  That’s Minnesota Public Radio for out-of-staters.  At 11 a.m. Minnesota’s primo host, Gary Eichten, welcomes the gubernatorial candidates.  Hold on to your seat for the arrival of Garrison Keillor  at noon to chat about the evening’s PHC show at the Grandstand and more.  Not to be outdone, The Current will feature live musical performances throughout the day.

Saturday, September 4FFA day offers attendees the chance to second-guess the judges of lovingly tended swine, sheep and market goats in the Swine Barn, while dairy cattle strut their stuff in the Judging Arena.

Sunday, September 5Minnesota History Day.  Take the State Fair Historical Walking Tour and receive a free 2010 commemorative art poster, not to mention the chance to work up an appetite.  The State Fair Foundation the Minnesota Historical Society host a mix of educational and entertainment including music, theater, trivia and a fashion show – all in Carousel Park and all day.

Monday, September 6Kids & Last Chance Day. Deals for kids, discounts, last chance deals and a Last Chance flyer at all info booths.  And then there’s the last chance for a corn dog, a bag of mini-donuts or one of the neophyte taste treats, maybe some fresh fruit salsa and chips, an Irish breakfast or a caramel apple puppy.

Patch on the Move

Sooner rather than later AOL’s Patch is making mighty leaps in this direction.  Just as the company is launching its 100th site, Patch, the hyper-local web-based news machine, will start showing up in an additional 500 communities this year.  AOL’s strategy is to restructure as a destination for a range of hyper-local content.

Reuters reports that Jon Brod, executive VP for AOL Local and a Patch founder, anticipates that, as legacy media falters there is chasm of quality information at the community level.  According to ReutersPatch is just one part of AOL’s content offering, which also includes Seed, a platform that relies on user-generated material on popular topics, and several popular topic-specific sites like Engadget, which is dedicated to consumer electronics and tech gadgets.”

As noted in a previous blog, keep an eye on Patch – and its siblings — no doubt coming soon to your community, especially if you live in an upper-income burb.

My earlier Patch post

The FCC is Having a Public Hearing in MN Thursday Evening

Once again The UpTake steps to the plate!  The UpTake crew, mostly volunteers, will be on hand Thursday evening when media moguls, access advocates, journalists, librarians, entrepreneurs, and information mavens of every stripe —  just about anybody who has dipped a toe into the digital world – will gather for a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) public hearing on the future of the Internet.  The hearing is Thursday, August 19, 6:00 p.m. in the South High School Auditorium, 3131 19th Avenue South, Minneapolis.

What’s well publicized are the details of the unique hearing  featuring FCC Commissioners Michael Copps and Mignon Clyburn along with locals including i Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and other speakers TBA.  Not so well publicized is the fact that The UpTake will be on site.  TheUpTake will provide live broadcast and will also video the entire event. You can catch the hearing in real time or at your leisure – when the kids go to bed or you get off work.

The hearing is hosted by three national organizations, i.e. Free Press, Main Street Project, and the Center for Media Justice. Through their Media Action Grassroots Project (MAG-net). These are among the national organizations that have lobbied long and hard on a host of pressing issues, most notably network neutrality and broadband access.  The premise of the TC’s hearing is that the big guys have had their say and that the Commission needs to hear from the rest of us.  The fact that Minnesota’s junior Senator has become the poster child for these progressive groups may have influenced the designation of Minneapolis as the one and only Greater-US hearing.

By way of introduction, the Uptake is currently providing great background material, including an overview of the hearing, a talk presented earlier this summer by Commissioner Copps, and an interview with Senator Al Franken, a vocal advocate for network neutrality and access.  You’ll find them all on the Uptake website.

Parade of Community Gardens

Whether you prefer begonias or broccoli, petunias or peas, roses or radishes , an ornamental, native, even a therapeutic garden, there’s something for you at the 5th Annual Parade of Community Gardens sponsored by the nonprofit organization Gardening Matters. “Community gardening isn’t just about growing vegetables and flowers.  It’s about growing community, both in and around the garden space,” says Margaret Shields, Communications Intern at Gardening Matters. “The Parade of Community Gardens presents the opportunity to connect the garden to the neighborhood and the neighborhood to the garden.”

To celebrate the riches of this community’s gardens, walk or bike to as many of the 66 participating gardens you can visit during the four-hour parade that stretches throughout the metro area from 10:00 a.m. till 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 21.

Gardening Matters has produced a Parade Guide that is loaded with details about the featured gardens.  There’s a great map divided by neighborhood.  Each entry has a brief description of the garden and the gardeners responsible.  The Parade is on rain or shine with backup plans in case of severe weather.  Everything is free and open to all gardeners, admirers and green thumb wannabes.

In addition to the Parade Guide, Gardening Matters offers a wealth of related information and communications and education tools.  “The mission of Gardening Matters is to connect gardeners with each other, with their communities and with the tools they need to ensure the long-term success of their community garden,” says Shields.  There’s an online garden directory, a virtual library of resources about gardening and more, a listserv to connect with community gardeners, monthly learning networks, a workshop on how to start a community garden and regular email and newsletters.

Look for Community Gardens on Parade throughout the cities – places of worship, parks, railroad land, senior centers, schools, businesses and vacant lots.  No matter who owns the land, “gardens, neighbors and novices are all encouraged to come out and celebrate the Parade of Community Gardens and feel the sense of pride and shared ownership in these important community spaces,” says Shields.

When you visit Gardens on Parade, ask the community gardeners on hand about their reasons for participating.  Some want to improve the neighborhood and enhance the involvement of neighbors.  Others see community gardening as a pleasant and productive road to health.  An increasing number find that one answer to the rising cost of groceries, coupled with today’s focus on nutrition, inspire them to dig, prune, weed – now pick and enjoy – their own produce.

Don’t forget your camera on Saturday.  There’s a Community Garden Photo Contest sponsored by  Bike Walk Twin Cities (BWTC), an initiative of Transit for Livable Communities.  Sponsors encourage you to submit photos of you, your shoes, your bike, your family and friends enjoying the Parade and touring the gardens.  Deadline for photo submission if Friday, August 27th.  Winners will be drawn on Monday, August 30th.  Prizes include a Burley Travoy, a NiceRide MN subscription, t-shirts, reflective arm/leg bands, and a bike light set.

BWTC also created special walking and biking routes for select self-guided tours to gardens on the Parade.  So, put on your comfort shoes, slather on the sunscreen and bug spray, then head out to walk or bike to meet your neighborhood community gardeners at as many of the 66 participating gardens you can visit during the Parade.

Check it all out online or call Gardening Matters at 612 821 2358.

And have a glorious ride or walk through your neighborhood – or learn about another community – by joining the Parade of Community Gardens next weekend.

Village Farmers Market Blooms

PRESS RELEASE

Village Farmer’s Market Blooms in St. Anthony Village

Just a month after its grand opening on July 12, the Village Farmer’s Market is thriving.  Neighbors from St. Anthony Village, Northeast Minneapolis, New Brighton and miles around are gathering Monday afternoons to select from the the day’s produce picks and more.  Along with fresh produce the Market features home-produced treats and food vendors.

More than a market, this is a community-building initiative.  A special feature of the VFM is the weekly Shop and Learn series.  Future S&L programs include a program on Metro Transit, an introduction to Chinese acupuncture techniques and a session on the art of calligraphy.  On August 30, local author Gail Olson will talk about her new book, St Anthony Village: hog farms, floods, tornadoes and alligators. All of the Shop and Learn sessions are held at the St. Anthony Library in the mall.

Shoppers at the VFM sport burlap shopping bags bearing the Market’s logos. Shopping bags are on sale at the VFM station at the Market.

Also on sale at the Market are discount cards good at most SAV shops – possibilities include everything from tea at the Tea Source to a free book evaluation at The Corner Store to reductions at a mix of service providers.

Details about the Market, discount coupons and other special offers at www.thevillagefarmersmarket.org.

More details in an online article in Twin Cities Daily Planet:

www.tcdailyplanet.net/news/2010/05/24/farmers-market-coming-st-anthony-village

For additional information contact Wendy Huebner at scarecrow09@rocketmail.com