I’ve always wanted to share more of my city on my blog. A few years ago I started by sharing some of the places that you can eat in downtown Minneapolis. I worked downtown at that time and went out for a weekly lunch with my friend Heather. But Minneapolis has more than just food and that restaurant series wasn’t the most inspiring to write about–and I’m sure it wasn’t the most inspiring to read about, either!
One of my favorite things about Minneapolis is that it’s a wonderful city for creatives. If you’re a writer, artist or musician you will be able to find a community filled with your people. I recently started to keep an eye on the events popping up on Facebook and it seems as though you can find some sort of art event every weekend.
As soon as I heard about the Stone Arch Bridge Festival I knew I had to go. The Stone Arch Bridge and that part of the Mississippi River is one of my favorite areas in Minneapolis. When I first heard about the festival I imagined all of the artists crammed onto the bridge, but the festival actually starts at the foot of the bridge and covers quite a distance along Saint Anthony Main. This is one of the largest festivals in the Twin Cities (apparently last year they recorded 100,000 in attendance) and this year there were around 250 artists involved. My sister and I went on Friday night, which was the first night of the festival.
Vendors // I really focused in on the “art” part of the festival, so it was fun to walk through and see what else was there. There was a lot of food, different vendors offering services (like bathroom remodels), and General Mills had a setup in celebration of 150 years. The Lara Bar samples were a great snack as we walked around the tents before grabbing a bite to eat for dinner. You could also purchase tickets for a beer tasting event from a local brewery, but my sister doesn’t like beer so we avoided that tent.
Art // As always, I really enjoyed seeing what some our local artists were doing. There were a lot of photographers, ceramics and jewelry-makers, but we also saw some tents with paintings, drawings and pastel-work. One of my favorite tents was a culinary art: spicy mustard. When we approached the tent, someone had just tasted some of the mustard and had quite the reaction to it! I didn’t think it was that spicy, but it definitely had a bite. Maybe he took a huge dollop! I’d love to point you in the direction of the spicy mustard, but I didn’t grab a card from his stand. (If you attended the festival and you know the spicy mustard peeps, let me know and I’ll update the post!)
I will say that in terms of attending an art event, I think I enjoy going to open studio events over this festival. It was a lot of fun to see artists from all over in one place and I loved walking through the tents to see what everyone was up to. It was also a lot of fun to talk to talk to the jewelry-makers who were sitting in the tents working on new pieces. But there’s something about seeing the artists in their own studio space that I really enjoy.
I also didn’t buy anything on Friday, but I picked up a bunch of cards and will check them out online. There are a few artists that I can definitely see myself buying something from soon.
Food // There were a couple of food trucks at the foot of the Stone Arch Bridge, which is where my sister and I grabbed dinner, but when we walked down Main Street a little ways we found more food, including some of your traditional festival foods, like mini donuts. I really enjoyed the chicken ranch wrap and fries that I got at Jake’s Street Food truck and we even found a table to sit at, which I needed when I realized they were giving me the fries in a separate container.
After dinner we continued to walk around the tents and as we passed a dessert stand, something on a sign caught my eye. “Chocolate-covered key lime pie on a stick,” I told my sister. She stopped in her tracks. “I think we need to try that.” “Me too.” So we did. And it was delicious.
Music // We didn’t really listen to any of the music. There was a choir singing by the bridge, but they weren’t really our cup of tea for music and by the time we stopped walking through the tents we were ready to head out.
Tips for the festival // I would definitely go to the festival again next year if my schedule is open, although I wouldn’t purposely leave my schedule open just for this event. There are some things I’d do differently, though.
I’d do a little research ahead of time and get an idea of who will be there (both artists and musicians) and try to plan out what I wanted to see ahead of time instead of just going and walking around. We actually tried to pull up a map on our phones (there was a stand with maps–it seemed really out of the way from where it was recommended to park and we had already walked around half of the festival by time we saw them), but the map on the website wasn’t ideal to view on phones.
If you’re interested in attending next year, keep an eye out for dates for June. It took place over Father’s Day weekend this year and that was used in the promotion of the event enough that I would look for it over Father’s Day weekend again next year.
It’s a dog-friendly event, too! I wouldn’t bring Little One along, because she can be a little shy. All the people and activity would make her a little nervous. Also, it was too hot to take my furry dog to a festival for a few hours. But I always love knowing that I could bring my favorite pup and I definitely enjoyed seeing all the dogs who accompanied their owners to the festival. I even saw a cat in attendance!
TELL ME ABOUT SOME OF THE ART/MUSIC FESTIVALS IN YOUR CITY!