Minnesota Homegrown Kickoff
May 31-June 2
One of four annual festivals run by the Minnesota Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Association, the Homegrown Kickoff offers live music, jam sessions, music classes, camping, and crafts and food.
Grand Old Day
St. Paul’s Grand Avenue welcomes the entire family for entertainment, kids’ activities, food, drink, art fair, parade—pretty much everything you need.
Chmielewski International Polka Festival
More than 100 musicians will contribute their talents to this three-day extravaganza. Think you know everything about polka? Think again—this festival will introduce you to all kinds of ethnic variations, including Polish and Slovenian.
Worthington Windsurfing Regatta and Unvarnished Music Festival
A windsurfing championship combined with an indie music festival. Makes sense. See the website for this year’s musicians.
Why swim when you can portage and canoe?
The Caramel Roll
Go on a beautiful bike ride—and eat caramel rolls along the way. Could it get any better?
See the Cities after hours, and see what kinds of creativity take place.
Montevideo—the Minnesota version—celebrates its sisterhood with its Uruguayan counterpart. Parade, queen coronation, live music, dance, canoe races, and visits from Uruguayan dignitaries.
Judy Garland Festival
The birthplace of Judy Garland will host its 37th annual festival in 2012. Events include a poppy seed planting at the Museum, musical entertainment, Judy Jeopardy, The Wizard of Oz on the big screen, kids’ activities, and Beyond the Rainbow: Judy at Carnegie Hall, performed by Judy impersonator Jody Briskey.
Visit the maypole, listen to music, enjoy a Scandinavian smorgasbord (including fresh lefse!). Take a slight detour out of town to visit the Pioneer Village, a beautiful recreated village of original pioneer buildings.
A celebration of all things Rochester, this is a busy week: lumberjack championships; volleyball and fishing tournaments; cemetery walks; music and dancing; treasure hunt; historic walking tours; parade; and even a hot air balloon race.
Stone Arch Bridge Festival
It’s hard to imagine a more scenic location for this jack-of-all-trades festival: juried art show, Art of the Car display, and live music.
Land of the Loon Festival
A celebration of the various ethnic groups that settled into northeastern Minnesota. Food, music, arts and crafts from around the world.
Great River Shakespeare Festival
June 26 - Aug. 4
The annual Shakespeare Festival offers three of the Bard’s plays: Twelfth Night, King Henry V, and Macbeth. See website for schedule and ticket information.
Granite City Days
Celebrate the Granite City’s heritage at this annual festival, complete with fly-in pancake breakfast, tours of historic homes, and bike races.
Scandinavian Hjemkomst Festival
A joint Scandinavian festival presented by local Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Icelandic, and Swedish groups, this annual celebration includes a LEGO art show, Scandinavian music groups, puppet shows, and of course—lots of Scandinavian food.
Parades, tournaments, food and music—and a sauerkraut eating contest. Are you up to the challenge?
Held at the lovely Gammelgarden Museum, this festival offers Swedish music, a pig roast smorgasbord, Swedish Hambo dancers, and all manner of crafts and activities (butter making, hoop rolling). Or just enjoy a beautiful summer day at this living history site which features several original immigrant homes and buildings.
Twin Cities Pride
Parade, boat cruise, concerts, picnic, art show—this is one packed weekend. And should be especially meaningful this year.
Twin Cities Jazz Festival
Enjoy a (hopefully) beautiful visit to Mears Park while soaking in the musical stylings of Kenny Werner, Cyrus Chestnut, Walter Smith III, and Matt Slocum.
26th Annual Winona Dixieland Festival
Live Dixieland bands, all day, outside. Perfect summer event.
June 29-July 1
You gotta love an event with the tagline: “Jeffers Outlaw Days: Bring Your In-Laws.” Street dance, tractor pull, kickball and softball and bean bag tournaments.
Note: A huge variety of events and festivals are listed on the website of the Minnesota Historical Society.