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Freeloader Friday: 44 Free Things To Do This Weekend

Dog parties, family fun, new beer, and last call for for the Winter Carnival.

7:19 AM CST on February 4, 2022

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.


This Weekend at the Saint Paul Winter Carnival:

2022 Ice Carving Sculptures

See them before they melt! Part of the Saint Paul Winter Carnival. Through Sunday. Rice Park, 109 Fourth St. W, St. Paul.

Vulcan Snow Park Snow Sculptures and Snow Maze

See them before they collapse! 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. through Sunday, Feb 6. Minnesota State Fairgrounds, 1265 Snelling Ave. N., St. Paul.

Winter Carnival Music Series & Ice Bar

Featuring Crisis Fresh, Jaz Steele, Gym Kang. 6 p.m. Rice Park, 109 Fourth St. W., St. Paul.

This weekend at the Great Northern Festival:

Maxine Bédat: The Life and Death of a Garment

Learn more about sustainable clothing and how bad it is when it’s not. This talk is free, but reservations are required. Part of the Great Northern Festival. 5:30 p.m. Minneapolis Club, 729 Second Ave. S., Minneapolis.

Jovan C. Speller & Andy DuCett: Conservatory

Part of the Great Northern Festival. Enter a greenhouse of local flora, encased in ice, in a downtown St. Paul alley, with soundscapes and other art intended to center on Blackness. It’s free, but you’ll need to register. 3-7 p.m. Jan. 27–Feb 6. 141 Fourth St. E, St. Paul.

Rock Johnsen

Earth's Alchemy

A solo exhibition featuring pottery/crystal/installation work by Rock Johnsen. 6-9 p.m. Gamut Gallery, 717 S. 10th St., Minneapolis.

Worldwide Discotheque

DJ tunes featuring Afro-tropical-funk. 10 p.m. Dusty's Bar,  1319 Marshall St. NE, Minneapolis. 

Christine Hoberg and Moss Kwa, Maudlin, Big Salt

21+. 9:30 p.m. 331 Club, 331 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis.

Fire and Ice

Featuring bonfires, free samples from Sweet Science Ice Cream, s'mores, ice carving, fire dancers, and the celebration of Wondrous Whirling Orb, an interactive art piece by artist Christopher Lutter-Gardella made from 4,000 upcycled plastic water bottles. 5-8 p.m. Nolan Mains at 50th and France, 3945 Market St., Minneapolis.

B & the Sting 

8 p.m. LynLake Brewery, 2934 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis.

Awesome Mix Vol. 1

Release party for Awesome Mix Vol. 1, a fruited sour with cherry, mango, and prickly pear. Mmmm! 2 p.m. Bent Brewstillery, 1744 Terrace Dr., Roseville. 

RuPaul’s Drag Race Viewing Party

Hosted by B. Louise. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Black Hart of St. Paul, 1415 University Ave. W., St. Paul.

Friday Night Open Mic

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

These gentle buddies will take you places.
These gentle buddies will take you places.Dynamic Photowerks


Klondike Dog Derby

Don’t feel like driving four hours to next month’s Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon along the North Shore? Then enjoy another celebrated, historic sled-dog race right here in the Twin Cities. With roots dating back to the ‘30s, the Klondike Dog Derby sees teams of doggos racing around Lake Minnetonka for a top prize of $10,000. Snow dogs rule the entire weekend, with family-friendly events like a Friday screening of 1995’s animated Balto (the hero pup is voiced by Kevin Bacon) and a hug-a-husky hour where you can meet, and yes, hug the canine competitors. Free. Noon. Lake Minnetonka. View the trail map here; find more info here.—Jay Boller

NE Neighborhood Makers Market & Bar Hop

On any given weekend in the Twin Cities, you can usually find at least one vintage, thrift, or makers’ market hosted at a brewery. This weekend, four bars in the Northeast are teaming up to take it to the next level: a bar hop where there’s a makers’ market at every stop. At each location–which includes Indeed Brewing Co., Able Seedhouse + Brewery, 612 Brew, Tattersall Distilling–you’ll be able to drink and shop from a dozen or so vendors selling things like jewelry, print art, handmade candles, soap, and who knows what else. Free. Noon to 5 p.m. 612 Brew, 945 Broadway St. NE, Minneapolis. –Jessica Armbruster

Free First Saturday: Brrrrr, Zoom, Zzzzzz!

Featuring hands-on fun for kids. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Walker Art Center, 725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis.

Saint Paul Winter Carnival
Saint Paul Winter CarnivalImage courtesy event organizers

More Winter Carnival Stuff:

Doggie Depot

The Saint Paul Winter Carnival becomes the Saint Paul Winter… Canine-ival at Union Depot this weekend. Pet-focused vendors will be on site with treats, apparel, and more, and rescues will be there with adorable adoptable dogs. (Isn’t it time you got your dog’s dog a dog?) And though it’s too late to enter your Pig’s Eye-loving pup in the contest, you can at least catch the crowning of the St. Paul Winter Carnival's Canine King Boreas and Canine Queen of Snows (10:30 a.m.). Presented by a whole host of local rescues, Doggie Depot is free and doesn’t require tickets—just leashes! More info here. Free. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Union Depot, 214 Fourth St. E., St. Paul. —Em Cassel

Winter Carnival Music Series & Ice Bar

R Factor (1 p.m.), Bomber + Tara (4 p.m.), Them Pesky Kids (6 p.m.). Rice Park, 109 Fourth St. W., St. Paul.

Vulcan Victory Torchlight Parade

Vulcans overthrow winter with a fireworks show in the park. 5:30-7:30 p.m. The parade starts at Wall, moves along Fifth Street, and ends in Rice Park.

Kids’ Family Day

Featuring hands-on activities, performances, and more. Part of the Winter Carnival. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Landmark Center, 75 W. Fifth St., St. Paul.

More Great Northern Festival stuff:

Dimitri Chamblas: Slow Show

A 20-minute intensive, collective dance. Part of the Great Northern Festival. It’s free, but reservations are required and donations are welcome. 1 and 2 p.m. Como Lake, 1360 Lexington Parkway N., St. Paul.

Unlock It: Keller Regional Park

Unlock clues and solve puzzles through self-guided exploration. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Part of the Great Northern Festival. Keller Regional Park, 2166 Maplewood Dr., Maplewood.

Winter Hiking 101

Virtual talk at 11 a.m.; walk at 2 p.m. Part of the Great Northern Festival. Reservations are required. North Mississippi Regional Park, 5116 N. Mississippi Dr., Minneapolis.

Laura Stack, Mary Gibney

Laura Stack: Designer Organisms & Mary Gibney: Pile-Up

Dual exhibitions feature new paintings. 7-10 p.m. Rosalux Gallery, 315 W. 48th St, Minneapolis.

Dave’s Manual, The Cold Casuals, Of The Orchard

21+. 9:30 p.m. 331 Club, 331 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis.

Black History Month Celebration

Featuring storytelling by Auntie Beverly, performances by Heart and Soul Drum academy, tunes from DJ DIME, pop-up vendors, and kids’ crafts. Noon to 3 p.m. Midtown Global Market, 920 E. Lake St., Minneapolis.

This is smoosh

2022 Twin Cities Smoosh Racing Championship

Need a laugh? Watch people compete in a smoosh race at Sociable Saturday morning. Teams will have their feet strapped to two planks, and they must work together to move themselves from point A to B. It’s free to watch; $30-$40 per team to compete. 10 a.m. Sociable Cider Werks, 1500 Fillmore St. NE, Minneapolis.

Six Nations Rugby

Featuring Ireland vs. Wales at 8:15 a.m., and England vs. Scotland at 10:45 a.m., plus $5 Guinness, Heineken, Strongbow specials during the games. Brit’s Pub, 1110 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis.

Free Saturday Yoga at Union Depot

Bring a yoga mat, water, and towel if you need them. 9 a.m. Union Depot, 214 Fourth St. E., St. Paul.

Mill City Farmers’ Market

With local farmers, artisans, ceramics, giftables, food, and more. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mill City Museum, 704 S. Second St., Minneapolis.


Aaron Dysart: Passage

Artist’s talk at 1 p.m. Minneapolis Institute of Art, 2400 Third Ave. S., Minneapolis.

Minneapolis Vintage Market

Shop two floors of vintage from local vendors. Tickets are free, but required. RSVP here. Noon to 4 p.m. Machine Shop, 300 Second St. SE, Minneapolis.

Standup Sundays

Hosted by Grant Winkels and Courtney Baka on the first Sunday of every month. 7:30 p.m. Fair State Brewing Cooperative, 2506 Central Ave. NE, Minneapolis. 

Corpse Reviver

21+. 3 p.m. 331 Club, 331 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis.

Open Mic Night

Music, poetry, comedy, whatever is welcome. Sign up at 4:30 p.m. The Cave at Keg and Case Market, 928 W. 7th St., St. Paul.

Emperor Cody Pendant and Empress Leah Tyler
Emperor Cody Pendant and Empress Leah TylerSaint Paul Winter Carnival

More Winter Carnival Stuff:

Coronation 30 Weekend: Victory Show

4-7 p.m. The Saloon MN, 830 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis.

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