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Freeloader Friday: 108 Free Things To Do This Weekend

Drag shows, queer artists' markets, and a Santa-themed bar crawl!

4:01 AM CST on December 15, 2023

The Other Jeannie Retelle|

See the Other Jeannie Retelle at the ‘Fairly Dusted Drag Show’ at Fair State this weekend.

Freeloader Friday is your weekly guide to having fun no matter what your budget looks like. Each week we have a list of 100% free events like gallery parties, music, and films in the park, as well as free admission events like special happy hours, markets, and more.

Electric Church

FRIDAY

SYFN, Sweetalk, Electric Church

10 p.m. 331 Club, 331 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis.

Fulton Brewing Dose of Minni Dazzle 

Alas, Holidazzle was canceled this year. But this four-day party at Fulton will offer Holidazzle vibes with artists, performers, vendors, and more from the beloved festival. There will be a vendor's mart all three days, with woodworkers, cocktail makers, knit goods, dog treats, soaps, jewelry, and more. There will also be special events, a few highlights include a winter bike ride with the Joyful Riders (Thursday), trapeze artists (Friday), drag bingo (Saturday), and holiday trivia (Sunday), as well as free workouts, choirs, and Santa visits. For a complete schedule of events, visit fultonbeer.com. Free. 5-9 p.m. Thu.-Fri.; 2-7 p.m. Sat.; 1-5 p.m. Sun. Fulton Taproom, 414 N. Sixth Ave., Minneapolis. Through Sunday—Jessica Armbruster

Urban Growler Tap Takeover

Urban Growler takes over four tap lines, with free samples from 5 to 7 p.m. and a gift raffle for any purchases of pints or flights. 4-9 p.m. Unleashed Hounds and Hops, 200 E. Lyndale Ave., Minneapolis.

L-R: Christopher Harrison, Amy Rice, Alyssa Baguss

Open Studio Event

Check out new art from Alyssa Baguss, Christopher E. Harrison, and Amy Rice in their studios (#506, #602, and #605). 6-8 p.m. California Building, (enter through the loading dock on the north side), 2205 California St. NE, Minneapolis.

Tiny Daggers

With Unnamed, TWYG (That’s What You Get). 8 p.m. White Squirrel Bar, 974 W. Seventh St., St. Paul.

Holiday Cider Fest

Featuring traditional and non-traditional holiday tunes from Mississippi Valley Orchestra/the Crewtets. 6 p.m. Sociable Cider Werks, 1500 Fillmore St. NE, Minneapolis.

Artist Donna Ray (center) at the African American Heritage Museum

Women's Equity and Gender Fluidity

Featuring 2- and 3-dimensional ceramic works by artist-in-residence Donna Ray. 6-8 p.m. Minnesota African American Heritage Museum and Gallery, 1256 Penn Ave., Minneapolis.

Irish Diplomacy

Jazz-infused Celtic tunes.  7-9 p.m. Padraigs, 945 Broadway NE, Minneapolis.

Winterfest: Christmas Music of Germany and Sweden

Tunes from Minnesänger. 7 p.m. St. Boniface Catholic Church, 629 NE Second St., Minneapolis. 

Northern Soda Company

Grand Opening Weekend

Featuring a holiday movie night on Fri., visit from Santa on Sat., and kids’ crafts on Sun., plus facility tours, drink specials, and sales all weekend long. 5:30 p.m. Fri.; noon to 2 p.m. Sat.; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sun. Northern Soda Company, 601 Campus Dr., New Brighton.

Disco Ball Ice Skating

Ice skate under a disco ball as DJ Bob plays tunes. This event is free and for all ages, but ice skate rentals are $3 per person. 5:45-7:15 p.m. St. Louis Park Rec Center, ROC, Aquatic Park, 3700 Monterey Dr., St. Louis Park.

Festival of Trees

A free walk-through winter wonderland. Mall of America, North Atrium, Level 3. Through January 3

Friday Night Open Mic

21+. 10 p.m. The Comedy Corner Underground, 1501 S. Washington Ave., Minneapolis.

Queer Artists MarketClockwise: Hawwaa, MM Custom Goods, Homebody MN

Holiday Markets

The Queer Holiday Market

Shop from 30+ local queer artists and makers, with holiday drinks and drag performances. Some proceeds from vendors and $1 from every drink purchased from the back bar will benefit the Aliveness Project. 5-9 p.m. Urban Growler Brewing, 2325 Endicott St., St. Paul.

Winter Market

Shop from Indigenous makers and creatives. 5-10 p.m. Minneapolis Indian Women's Resource Center, 2300 15th Ave. S., Minneapolis.

Raging Art On 

Shop all kinds of rockin’ items from local artists. Free. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wed.-Sat. through Jan. 6. Gamut Gallery, 717 S. 10th St., Minneapolis.

Holiday Pop-up Series

Shop unique makers each weekend. Find the schedule of guests here. 5-8 p.m. Fri.; 1-5 p.m. Sat. through Dec. 16. Fair State Brewing, 2506 Central Ave. NE, Minneapolis.

Uptown Mpls Holiday Market

Turquoise Vintage hosts this pop-up featuring vinyl, housewares, jewelers, maker items, and more. 3-8 p.m. Thu.; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fri.–Sun. Dec. 7-10 and Dec. 13-17. 2756 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis.

European Christmas Market

Last Weekend: European Christmas Market

This huge holiday market event features local makers and crafters selling traditional gifts; entertainment including live music, and dance; visits from Krampus, sled dogs, Santa, and reindeer; tons of food; traditional hot beverages; beer and gluhwein; Santa’s post office; an extended holiday market called Santa’s Village; and more. Bonus: Score a free Metro Transit ride to the event at uniondepot.org/holiday. 4-9 p.m. Fri.; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sat.; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sun. Union Depot, 214 Fourth St. E., St. Paul. Through December 17

The Santa Experience

Meet Santa and shop his merch, because everyone has merch these days. Through Dec. 24. Mall of America, Level 1, South.

Winter Skolstice at Viking Lakes

Featuring vendors, holiday-themed cocktails, food trucks, free live music, outdoor activities for kids, and more. While some events have cover charges, many happenings are free admission. 4-9 p.m. Mon.-Wed.; 4-10 p.m. Thu.-Sat.; 3-10 p.m. Sun. through Feb. 24. Viking Lakes, 730 Vikings Pkwy., Eagan; find a complete schedule at explorevikinglakes.com.

Dayton's Holiday Market 

Shop from nearly 80 local brands and makers. Free. Daily through Dec. 30. The Dayton’s Project, 700 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis. Through December 30

Holidays on Nicollet

Minneapolis Craft Market hosts this locally-made retail popup experience, plus window displays, entertainment, and more through the holidays. 10 a.m. to 6p.m. Tue.-Sat. through Dec. 30. IDS Center, 747 Nicollet Mall (former Hubert White Menswear store), Minneapolis. 

The Artful Present 

This holiday pop-up features 27 artists. Store hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fri.; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sat. through the holidays. Veronique Wantz Gallery, 901 N. Fifth St., Minneapolis.

NSCA Holiday Gift Market 

Featuring over 80 local makers. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thu.-Sun. through Dec. 17. North Suburban Center for the Arts, 110 77th Way NE, Fridley.

I have a hangover just looking at this pic.SantaCon

SATURDAY

Lowertown SantaCon XVI

After over a decade of bar hopping, SantaCon was forced to disappear for three years because, well, you know. But hey, the annual holiday party is back this year and pretending that it didn’t miss a beat. Things will kick off at the European Holiday Market, then the gang will travel to Mears Park for some photo ops, head over to Big River Pizza for the tail end of the Farmers Market, and end at MetroNOME. There are no tickets, and you don’t need to sign up for this event; just show up and join the fun. Costumes aren’t just limited to Santa, either. Past events have seen folks in ugly sweaters, a Turducken man, multiple Krampuses (Krampi?), and a variety of dreidels. Follow the action live on Twitter at @santacon55101. Free. 7 p.m. ‘til bar close. Union Depot’s East Plaza, 240 E. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul.—Jessica Armbruster

Admiral Fox, Kyrie Nova & the Defiant, timisarocker

10 p.m. to 1 a.m. 331 Club, 331 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis.

Early Show

With Sammie Jean Cohen, The Ems, Wild Lyre. 1-4 p.m. White Squirrel Bar, 974 W. Seventh St., St. Paul.

Muun Bato, Drug League, Nothing But Nice

9 p.m. White Squirrel Bar, 974 W. Seventh St., St. Paul.

Family Christmas Party

Featuring Santa, kids’ crafts, reindeer stops with the MN Zoo, and tunes from Blue Tree Choirs and South High School band and orchestra. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Midtown Global Market, 920 E. Lake St., Minneapolis.

The Darkest Day

This daylong celebration of BC’s Russian Imperial Stouts includes varieties aged in Bourbon and Scotch barrels, with coffee and food. Noon to 11 p.m. Broken Clock Brewing Collective, 3134 California St. NE, Minneapolis.

Ugly Sweater Party

Don your butt-ugliest sweater for a chance to win $100. The contest also celebrates the release of Wolf Sweater, a Belgian Dark Strong with spices. Noon to close. Bent Brewstillery, 1744 Terrace Dr., Roseville. 

Magical Holiday Experience

Featuring photos with Santa, holiday ornament making, games, and lunch. 1-3 p.m. Highland Park Community Center, 1978 Ford Pkwy., St. Paul.

Andy and Rene’s Root Brown Down Ale Beer Release Party

Celebrate Minnesota Homebrewers Association’s award-winning beer, with holiday tunes from Kate Beahen at 6 p.m. 1:30 to 8 p.m. Headflyer Brewing, 861 E. Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis.

John Kerns

Holiday music. 3-5 p.m. Sociable Cider Werks, 1500 Fillmore St. NE, Minneapolis.

Shaw’s Christmas Party

Featuring a holiday sing-a-long with Daina De Prez at 4 p.m. and tunes from Harrison Street band at 8 p.m. Shaws Bar and Grill, 1528 University Ave. NE, Minneapolis.

Snow Daze: 2nd Annual Ugly Sweater Party

Featuring questionable sweaters and DJ tunes. 4-11 p.m. Modist Brewing Company, 505 N. 3rd St., Minneapolis.

"From Dusk Till Dawn"Dell Gross

Empty Places, Abandoned Spaces/Dusk Till Dawn

Opening receptions for two new photography shows. 6-8 p.m. Praxis Gallery, 2637 27th Ave. S., Minneapolis.

Life On A String

Seasonal favorites. 6-9 p.m. Paidrags, 945 Broadway NE, Minneapolis.

Jiggs Lee Invasion

Classic British rock. 8-11:30 p.m. Schooner Tavern, 2901 27th Ave. S., Minneapolis.

C'mon, you know someone in your life who adorably creepy needs things like this. SickKittyCeramics

Holiday and Farmers Markets

The Nightmare Before Christmas Holiday Market

The Society for the Strange & Unusual hosts this shopping party with 25+ makers, themed cocktails, spooky music, and more. Noon to 6 p.m. Sat.-Sun. Artspace Jackson Flats, 901 18th 1/2 Ave. NE, Minneapolis.

PlantyQueens’ Holiday Market

Featuring 40+ local vendors. Noon to 4 p.m. Hollywood Theater (next door to PlantyQueens), 2815 Johnson St. NE, Minneapolis.

Saturday Sip & Shop

Featuring 50+ artists. Noon to 6 p.m. Solar Arts Building, 711 15th Ave. NE, Minneapolis.

RedGreen Rivers’ Holiday Showroom

Shop from Hmong textile artists. 1-4 p.m. RedGreen Rivers, 422 University Ave. W., St. Paul.

Winter Markers’ Market

Featuring 20 local vendors, beer poking, and a hot cocoa bar. 1-7 p.m. Forgotten Star Brewing, 38 Northern Stacks Dr., Fridley. 

Alma Holiday Market 

Shop from local makers and Alma apothecary goods. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Alma, 528 University Ave. SE, Minneapolis.

North Loop Winter Market

The Black Market Events hosts this food-focused market, with hot cocoa, a family holiday photobooth, and more. Some proceeds benefit Minnesota Farmers’ Market Association. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 501 Royalston Ave. N., Minneapolis.

Nicollet Island Winter Market

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nicollet Island Pavilion, 68 Power St., Minneapolis.

Holiday Sale 

Shop local artists working in the building. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Lowertown Underground Artist Coop, 308 E. Prince St., St. Paul.

Poster Sale

Poster Sale

MN Record Show hosts a sale featuring vintage gig posters from the ‘70s through the ‘90s from local bars and clubs. Noon to 5 p.m. Hook & Ladder, 3010 Minnehaha Ave., Minneapolis.

Minnesota Merry Market 

Homespun Events hosts this event with shopping, treats, and family-friendly activities with 70+ local artists and gift vendors. Free. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sat.; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sun. Minnesota State Fairgrounds, 1265 Snelling Ave. N., St. Paul.

Holiday Art & Crafts Fair 

This monthly installment is holiday flavored in December, with 20+ local vendors and food trucks stopping by. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sat.; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sun. Hidden MN, 1975 Oakcrest Ave., Roseville.

8th Annual Red Hot Art Market

Buy some kick ass artwork; 30% of sales going toward the org’s scholarship fund. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center, 3749 Chicago Ave., Minneapolis.

Market Collective MN Makers Market
Shop from BIPOC and queer vendors and allies. Indeed Brewing Co., 711 15th Ave. NE, Minneapolis.  

Stave of Spades at Last Minute GiftsDestiny Davison

Last Minute Gifts

Let’s be real: December 16 is still pretty early for some of us. Still, here you can shop from 25+ local makers, artisans, and craftspeople. Free. Noon to 5 p.m. Springboard for the Arts, 262 University Ave. W., St. Paul.

Saturnalia Saturdays

Featuring cool collabs, giftables, free astrological insights, and more. Noon to 6 p.m. We the Starborne, 593 Hamline Ave. N., St. Paul.

11 Wells Holiday Market 

Shop from 40+ different vendors each week, plus tunes and cocktails. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 2, Dec. 9, and Dec. 16. Find the lineup here. 11 Wells Spirits, 704 Minnehaha Ave. E., St. Paul.

Holiday Weekend Markets

A rotating group of makers and businesses will show up each weekend, and the Happy Land Tree Lot is open daily. Noon to 8 p.m. Sat.-Sun. through Dec. 23. Keg and Case Market, 928 Seventh St. W., St. Paul.

Holiday Saturdays

Yee-haw! Shop from hundreds of artists at this weekly holiday happening. Noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays through Dec. 23. Northrup King Building, 1500 Jackson St. NE, Minneapolis.

Four Seasons Nordic Village Market

Eight cabins host a weekend holiday market by MartinPatrick3, with a different variety of makers each weekend. Noon to 4 p.m. Sat.-Sun. through January (except Christmas and NYE). Four Seasons Minneapolis, 245 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis.

Field and Festival Holiday Market

Another Minneapolis Craft Market jam, with local farmers, foodies, and artists. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sat.-Sun. through Dec. 17. Wagners Garden Center, 6024 Penn Ave. S., Minneapolis.

Minneapolis Farmers Market

Possibly the city’s largest and most popular market, with hundreds of vendors weekly. 9 a.m. to noon Sat.-Sun. through Dec. 30, plus Jan. 6 and 20, Feb. 3 and 17, March 2 and 16, and Apr. 6, 13, 20, 27, and 28. 312 E. Lyndale Ave. N., Minneapolis; mplsfarmersmarket.com.

Lowertown Winter Farmers Markets

Lowertown’s pride and one of the state’s largest markets. 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. 290 5th St. E., St. Paul; stpaulfarmersmarket.com.

Mill City Farmers Market’s Winter Market

Long running market in the shadow of Mill Ruins Park, featuring local, sustainable, and organic groceries and produce, as well as handmade gifts and goods. For the season, the market is moves inside Mill City Museum (museum admission is not required). Winter Markets are held on the first and third Saturdays of each month, November through April. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. 750 Second St. S., Minneapolis; millcityfarmersmarket.org.

See the Other Jeannie Retelle at the 'Fairly Dusted Drag Show' at Fair State this weekend.The Other Jeannie Retelle

SUNDAY

Fairly Dusted Drag Show

Get there early to secure a table. Noon to 2:30 p.m. Fair State Brewing, 2506 Central Ave. NE, Minneapolis.

12 Days of Whiskey

The countdown to New Years starts now at O'Shaughnessy, with 12 Days of Whiskey leading up to their annual NYE bash. The distillery and Second Harvest Heartland are asking you to bring a food donation from now through December 31, and, in exchange, you’ll get a complimentary Keeper's Heart Whiskey punch. But there’s additional seasonal fun to be had each day: On December 17 it’s Sip 'N Bloom holiday flower arranging, on December 20 there’s an ugly sweater contest, and on December 26 it’s Elf trivia, with lots of fun on the days in between. They’re also giving you discounts on merch like coffee and barware. Free, though some events (like the flower arranging) have fees. O'Shaughnessy Distilling Co., 600 SE Malcolm Ave., Minneapolis; more info here. Through December 31—Em Cassel

Lenz & Frenz 

Featuring live music, Santa pics with pets ($5 or more suggested donation), and Kolsch service. 2-5 p.m. Dual Citizen Brewing Company, 725 Raymond Ave., St. Paul.

Dog Days with Healing Hearts Rescue

Meet adoptable dogs. 2-4 p.m. Lakes & Legends, 1368 Lasalle Ave., Minneapolis.

Early Show

With Fuzzy Math. 1 p.m. White Squirrel Bar, 974 W. Seventh St., St. Paul.

Robert Wilkinson

3 p.m. 331 Club, 331 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis.

Switchyard, Show Pony

7 p.m. 331 Club, 331 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis.

Holiday Party

Featuring free carriage rides, carolers, a meet and greet with Crisco from KS95, drinks and treats, and more. Noon. Continental Diamond, 1600 Utica Ave. S., Minneapolis.

The Warmup Beer Garden

Vikings pregame features draft beer from Indeed Brewing, food from Giulia, live music with appearances from DJ Mad Mardigan, a Bloody Mary bar, lawn games, and more. 9 a.m. to noon. Hotel Emery, 215 Fourth St. S., Minneapolis.

Varsity Gaymes

Weekly event features spots on TVs, beer pong, and other bar games. 2 p.m. LUSH Lounge & Theater, 990 NE Central Ave., Minneapolis. 

Holiday and Farmers Markets

Holiday Market

Featuring local vendors and goodies, beer, and Glühwein. Noon to 3 p.m. OMNI Brewing Co., 9462 Deerwood Ln., Maple Grove.

Holiday Bazaar

Featuring local artisans and artists, photos with Krampus. 2-6 p.m. Fletcher’s Ice Cream, 326 Hennepin Ave. E., Minneapolis.

The Woman's Club Holiday Market

Shop from 20 local vendors. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Woman's Club, 410 Oak Grove St., Minneapolis.

Market Collective MN Makers Market 

Shop from BIPOC and queer vendors and allies. 1-5 p.m. Bad Weather Brewing, 414 Seventh St. W., St. Paul.

Northeast Farmers’ Market’s Winter Market

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Quincy Hall, 1325 Quincy St. NE, Minneapolis.

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