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Porchfest, a Taco Bell Bike Tour, Kielbasa Fest, Free Vinyl: This Week’s Best Events

Plus Open Streets, a skate party, street fests, and more.

Kinfold Brass Band|

Porchfest is bringing tunes to porches this week.

Welcome to Event Horizon, your weekly roundup of the best events in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and beyond.

An artist making chalk art at last weekend's Street Art FestivalTony Nelson

TUESDAY 8.15

The Nicollet xChange

Nicollet Mall

Our city leaders really want us to go to work downtown from Tuesday through Thursday. Who knows if that’s going to happen; it’s ultimately up to your corporate overlords. But, if you are one of those people who has to sit at a desk in downtown for money, it’s nice to know that this cool weekly event is returning for the summer. Every Tuesday, the Nicollet xChange will turn the Mall into a mini street fest, with a focus on swapping goods and selling sustainable fashion and home items. Bring things to trade, from art to sports equipment, and take something new (to you, at least) home. There will also be live music, a market featuring local makers, freebies, and food trucks lining the Mall. Free. Tuesdays from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. 901 Nicollet Mall (9th & Nicollet), Minneapolis. Through August 29—Jessica Armbruster

THURSDAY 8.17

Free Record Night

Falling Knife Brewing Company

Are you looking to build up your vinyl collection super fast? Then this record party at Falling Knife is your hook up to making that happen on a budget of $0. “No price tags! No mercy!” is what the event’s Facebook page exclaims. We’re not sure about that mercy part, but you will be able to sift through crates upon crates of tunes from record shop Down in the Valley and recording studio Signaturetone Recording and take what you want for free. Meanwhile, Wrecktangle will be serving up pizza, Short Timer will be blasting prog rock from their latest album, and Rogue Citizen will have art. Free. 6-9 p.m. 783 Harding St. NE, Minneapolis.Jessica Armbruster

Wild Nights at the Minnesota Zoo

Minnesota Zoo

Imagine a zoo with nary a child, one where you can sip wine and watch animals do their thing as the sun sets. Impossible, you say? Nope! We’re talking about Wild Nights at the Minnesota Zoo, a summer series for grownups. During these events folks can explore all the trails and exhibits until 8 p.m. (hilariously, they note that food and drinks are not allowed in the Llama Trek walk-through exhibit). Each installment will feature a variety of concerts, all themed that night around a specific genre–country, hip-hop, blues, ‘80s New Wave, etc. Tonight's show features electro tunes from Information Society, and upcoming acts include Frogleg (August 31) and Kat Perkins (September 14). Find tickets and more info online. 18+. $40. 6-10 p.m. 13000 Zoo Blvd., Apple Valley. Through September 14—Jessica Armbruster

German dogs celebrating sausage

FRIDAY 8.18

Kramarczuk's Kielbasa Festival

Utepils Brewing Co.

There’s just a whole lot to like about Kielbasa Fest. First and foremost, of course, are the unparalleled tubular meats peddled by the beloved namesake Euro market. (Pierogi 2 Gogi and NE Pretzels will also be slingin’ eats.) Beyond that, you’ve got sausage-specific live entertainment like Doctor Kielbasa, plus the Chmielewski Funtime Band, Dolina Polish Folk Dancers, the Ukrainian Village Band, and the thematically imprecise yet always fun tribute band known as the Rolling Stoners. There’ll be a meat raffle, games, and contests on Utepils’s gorgeous, Basset Creek-abutting grounds and rivers of German-themed beer to wash down all that sausage. Admission is free on Friday, and $5 on Saturday. 4 to 11 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday. 225 Thomas Ave N., Minneapolis; find more info here.Jay Boller

O’Shaughnessy Distilling Turns 2

O’Shaughnessy Distilling

In Prospect Park, tucked behind Surly and the Market at Malcolm Yards, O’Shaughnessy Distilling has been serving up drinks with their Irish-by-way-of-Minnesota whiskey for… has it been two years already? That was fast. O’Shaughnessy’s Irish-American whiskey Keeper’s Heart was Forbes’s “whiskey of the week” earlier this year, so brush up on your knowledge there and then head down to the birthday party, with DJ Shah spinning tunes at 4:30 p.m. and live music from the Summerbabies at 7 p.m. They’ll have raffles and prizes, and Old Fashioneds, Whiskey Punch, and Keeper's Heart Whiskey root beer floats are all on special for just $10. Free. 4 p.m. 600 Malcolm Ave. SE, Minneapolis; find more info here.—Em Cassel

Neal Brennan

Varsity Theater

The co-creator of Chappelle's Show is candid when discussing his brand-new hour, telling WaPo: “When I say ‘Brand New Neal,’ it’s because I’m having fewer emotional disorders than I’ve had.” Good for him! Darkly neurotic yet charming, the 49-year-old standup is in the enviable place where he has nothing to prove and can toy with ideas and premises, as he does with great skill on his latest Netflix special, Blocks. That also happens to be the name of Brennan’s newish podcast, which has attracted giant comedic guests like, on the very first episode, somebody named David Letterman. $44.50. 9:30 p.m. 1308 SE Fourth St., Minneapolis; find more info here.Jay Boller

Taco Bell Lake Street.Google Maps

SATURDAY 8.19

Taco Bell Century Ride

Various Taco Bells

Perhaps you’ve wondered, at some point, “What would happen if I ate only Taco Bell for a day?” (Perhaps you’ve even found out!) This Corpse Whale Racing-led ride will ask a slightly different and more daring question, which is: “What would happen if you ate only Taco Bell for a day and also rode 100 miles on your bike?” The ride meets at the Lake Street Taco Bell and takes folks on a 97-ish-mile loop to all 12 Taco Bells in the Twin Cities area, with the goal of consuming only TB fare along the way. (They’re “exploring the limits of a bean based fueling strategy.”) This is a no-drop ride with a pace between 13 to 17 mph. Live más. Pedal más. 9 a.m. 215 E. Lake St., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Em Cassel

Uptown Porch Fest

Various locations 

At the risk of sounding like a sappy, grandiose townie, these are the types of community events that make Minneapolis the greatest city on the face of the Earth. The idea is simple: Recruit a giant bill of talented local musicians—from punk to Afrobeat to singer-songwriter—and let ‘em play from porchfronts all over the Wedge neighborhood. (Residents are also asked to volunteer their “yards/stoops/driveways” as performance spaces, so it’s not strictly a porchy affair.) As an attendee, your only duty is to wander around, soak up the sounds, and feel like you’re part of something beautiful. Free. 1-5 p.m. Events are in the neighborhood between Lyndale and Hennepin avenues, from Franklin to 28th, Minneapolis; find more info and the full schedule of performers here.Jay Boller

Frogtown Arts Festival

University Avenue & Avon Street

Ribbit, ribbit! It’s a brave new editorial era for Racket, one in which we give St. Paul its proper due. This week that means shining a light on the annual Frogtown Arts Fest, which’ll bring five hours of live music, arts workshops, loads of vendors, food trucks, a silent auction, slime making, karaoke, and more to University Avenue. Organized by the Victoria Theater Arts Center, this block party is a feel-good celebration of one St. Paul’s most diverse neighborhoods. If the food trucks aren’t your thing, hop frog-like across the street to fest sponsor iPho, home of a killer $5 bánh mì. Free. 3-9 p.m. 815 University Ave. W., St. Paul; find more info here.Jay Boller

Open Streets Chad Niemeyer

SUNDAY 8.20

Open Streets Minneapolis

Cedar Riverside

Summertime road closures kinda suck… unless we’re talking about Open Streets, where the lack of traffic just means there’s more room to party. This season’s installment will feature five neighborhood locations where the main drags will be closed to cars, but open to people on foot, on bike, or on other non-motorized modes of travel. Along the way you’ll find a variety of stuff to see and do, including parking lot concerts, sidewalk sales, middle-of-the-road yoga sessions, and pop-up beer gardens. Fun to be had this installment includes hands-on weaving fun and cultural items from the Somali Museum of Minnesota, T-shirt printing via bike, wiener dog races outside the Wienery, and free tunes outside of Palmers’ and KFAI. Free. All events begin at 11 a.m. and run until 5 p.m. Find more details at openstreetsmpls.org. Cedar Avenue, from 3rd Street South to 6th Street South, Minneapolis.—Jessica Armbruster 

Skate the Park

Silverwood Park

Roller skating parties aren’t just for rinks. This Sunday, you’ll find one at Silverwood Park. Take a zen roll through nature by yourself, tour the park’s sculptures with a guide on wheels, and get down in the amphitheater at the retro dance party. Hands-on '80s-era crafts include spin-art making, tie-dying scrunchies, and airbrushing trucker hats. No skates? Not a problem: Twin Cities Skates will have rentals for all, with sizes ranging from toddlers to men’s 14. If you’re feeling wobbly, stop by the skating clinic hosted by Northstar Roller Derby for tips and tricks. Free. 3-6 p.m. 2500 Cty. Rd. E., St. Anthony.—Jessica Armbruster 

Pickup Truck OperaMixed Precipitation

ONGOING

Romeo and Juliet: A Pickup Truck Opera

Various Locations

For the past 15 years, Mixed Precipitation has brought accessible opera shows to parks, community gardens, and wineries throughout the metro and beyond. (The “pickup truck” in their name is a nod to the 2011 Ford Ranger Pickup that serves as their ride and, often, as part of their stage.) This year, they’re reimagining Romeo and Juliet via Vincenzo Bellini’s 1830 opera, I Capuleti e i Montecchi (The Capulets and the Montagues) for the modern day. In 2023, Juliet is a social media guru, helping folks live their best lives with DIY videos, recipes, and reviews while banished Romeo is sharing his carefully curated van-life from the road. Will the two manage to elope without creating a wave of murders and suicides? (We all know how this thing ends.) Despite the name, this isn’t an opera-only operation: Tunes will include hits from the Fugees, the Pixies, and Fleetwood Mac. Make reservations at mixed precipitation.org. $10-$20 suggested donation. July 29-September 10—Jessica Armbruster

Lowertown Sounds

Mears Park

Proper, functioning cities should rock. With the annual, free, weekly, outdoor Lowertown Sounds program, St. Paul is privy to this in ways Minneapolis could really learn from. When this year’s lineup was announced, organizers noted that over half of the acts are new this summer. This week, that means wild 1980s rockers Run Westy Run. Non-musical offerings include great beer from Utepils and Wabasha Brewing Co., wine from Alexis Bailly Vineyard, and a rotating cast of 20 food trucks. Free. 6-9:30 p.m. 221 5th St. E., St. Paul; find more info here. Thursdays through August 24—Jay Boller

Driveway Tour Theater

Various Locations

In the summer, theater troupes take to the parks, lawns, and lakes of the cities to perform free shows for the sunburned masses. That includes productions for kids, thanks to Open Eye Theatre, which heads to your neighborhood driveways, backyards, and front lawns each year. The 2023 lineup will feature two plays: Tucker’s Robot (June 10-July 16) tells the tale of a kid facing his fears thanks to a time-traveling mechanical friend, while Molly and the Magic Boot (July 19-August 27) is about tech-free adventures on a farm. Open Eye estimates that they visited around 51 communities in 2022, and that number continues to increase. Locations vary from week to week; this weekend they’ll be popping up at Dancing Bear Chocolate on the north side and Arbeiter Brewing in south Minneapolis. Do you have a rad backyard? You can even sign up to host a show. All events are free and open to the public (donations are accepted). You can find the complete schedule at openeyetheatre.org/driveway-tour. Through August 27Jessica Armbruster

Skyline Mini Golf

Walker Art Center

Are we a mini-golf town? Signs point to yes, as we have trendy bar mini golf (Puttery, Arts + Rec), campy mini golf (Can Can, Betty Danger), old school mini golf (Big Stone, Golf Zone), and, yes, museum mini golf. For over 15 years, the Walker’s Mini Golf has been a sign of spring, whether it’s popping up in the sculpture garden or its more recent home on the skyline terraces. This year’s installation features 10 holes total; highlights include a Hmong textile-inspired hole created in collaboration with the Asian American Organizing Project’s Youth Action Team, and two holes from Native Youth Arts Collective. Returning hits include the hot dog hole, the one where you have to bounce off of ping pong paddles, and the one where you become the obstacles and hazards. Find more info at walkerart.org. $12. 725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis. Through October 1—Jessica Armbruster 

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