Block party bonanza

The Get Out Guide features all the events to get you out and around Minneapolis

Boarfest. Submitted photo

Every August, the streets of Minneapolis fill up with block after block of parties hosted by area restaurants and breweries.


Pizza Lucé Block Party

Since 2003, Lucé’s bash has been supreme among Minneapolis summer block parties, with a stellar live music lineup of acts ranging from big names to local favorites, with genres spanning hip hop, punk rock and everything in between. This year’s event touches down in downtown Minneapolis outside of the eatery’s storefront with a bill that includes a solo set from Minneapolis native Craig Finn of the Hold Steady, rising hip-hop star Allan Kingdom and singer-songwriter Haley (formerly known as Haley Bonar), plus pizza by the slice, brats and locally brewed beer, cider and spirits from Surly Brewing, Loon Juice and Tattersall Distilling.

When: Noon–10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 12

Where: Pizza Lucé, 119 N. 4th St.

Cost: Free



Borough Block Party

This 5th-annual event is hosted by foodie haven Borough and its speakeasy-esque cocktail bar Parlour, so you know the food and drink are going to be top-notch. The party also includes live music by Viva Knievel (a hard-rocking cover band with a full horn section), all-brass band Black Market Brass, neo-soul group Nooky Jones and Private Oates (a Hall & Oates cover band).

When: Noon–8 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 13

Where: Borough, 730 Washington Ave. N.

Cost: Free

NE Brewers Block Party

Northeast Minneapolis is home to more breweries per capita than any other part of the state. Take advantage of the opportunity to try them all during this block party hosted by Sociable Cider Werks, who will host nine other neighborhood breweries, plus four food trucks, games and live music from atmospheric indie-rock band Enemy Planes and electro-pop three-piece Apollo Cobra.

When: 2 p.m.–9 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 20

Where: Sociable Cider Werks, 1500 Fillmore St. NE

Cost: Free; $5 drinking wristband, $40 VIP




While Butcher & the Boar’s 7th-annual summer party technically isn’t a block party — it takes place in the beer garden and covered patio outside the restaurant — it features all the trappings of one. The event will feature Surly beer, selections from Butcher and the Boar’s extensive collection of bourbon, boar brats, sausages and oysters. Live bands are also slated to perform throughout the day. (21+)

When: 1 p.m.–9 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 20

Where: Butcher & the Boar, 1121 Hennepin Ave.

Cost: Free


Prince Pre Fame Photography Exhibition

In 1977, one year before the release of his debut album, a local musician named Prince Rogers Nelson came to the attention of Minneapolis music agent/manager Owen Husney and his partner Gary Levinson. The pair approached photographer Robert Whitman to take promotional photos of the young artist, who would one day become one of the most important musicians of the 20th century. The resulting images are part of a photography exhibition dubbed “Prince Pre Fame,” which includes three never-before-exhibited images. Whitman photographed Prince in his Minneapolis studio, in Husney’s Linden Hills home, and on the streets of downtown Minneapolis, including the front of the mural of Maurice Ravel’s “Gaspard de la Nuit” painted on the side of the Schmitt Music store. The opening night party includes hosted hors d’oeuvres, cash bar and Prince music all night long. A portion of ticket sales benefits Hopewell, a local organization supporting music education for north Minneapolis youth.

When: On view Aug. 18–Sept.r 15. Opening night party: 5:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m. (VIP) and from 7:30 p.m.–11 p.m. (general admission) Thursday, Aug. 17

Where: Mpls Photo Center, 2400 N. 2nd St., #200

Cost: Free to view; $35 general admission, $100 VIP for opening night party


“Graveyard Shift” and “Low Visual Distance”

Abstracted landscapes with a psychological bent are the connecting thread between two new visual art exhibitions by Minneapolis artists Jim Hittinger and Shannon Estlund. In “Graveyard Shift,” Hittinger creates sparsely populated, otherworldly landscapes littered with empty lots, chain-link fences and abandoned suburban parking lots with oozing oil paint and smudged graphite. The desolate palette of black, white and gray is interrupted only by an occasional pop of color — a neon sign, a pair of yellow balloons — as if to further emphasize the bleakness. Similarly, the abstract landscapes of Estlund’s “Low Visual Distance” use the contrast between light and dark to psychological effect. Inspired by Rice Creek and the surrounding forest, the paintings are brimming with expressive color and repeating pattern, contrasting with the starkness of Hittinger’s works.

When: On view Aug. 12–27 (Saturdays and Sundays noon–4 p.m.) Opening reception: 7 p.m.–10 p.m. (gallery talk at 7 p.m.) Saturday, Aug. 12

Where: Rosalux Gallery, 1400 Van Buren St. NE, #195

Cost: Free



Sounds for Silents: Film + Music

After 38 seasons, the Walker’s Summer Music and Movies is changing from a month of weekly concerts and film screenings to a single event. The free Monday-night events held at Loring Park, which began in 1973, became one of the most popular summertime traditions in the Twin Cities. Instead of Loring Park, Sounds for Silents: Film + Music will be held on the museum’s hillside, and features a world-premiere commission from Ryan Olson (Poliça, Gayngs) and his innovative noise ensemble Marijuana Deathsquads, with special guests including Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, the Pines’ Benson Ramsey and Poliça vocalist and songwriter Channy Leaneagh. The live, cinematic scores will be set to 1920s experimental short films by iconic avant-garde artists Hans Richter, Viking Eggeling and René Clair, drawn from the Walker’s Ruben/Bentson Moving Image Collection. Food trucks Hot Indian Foods and Fro Yo Soul will be on hand along with DJ Sean McPherson from 89.3 The Current.

When: Dusk (about 8:30 p.m.) Thursday, Aug. 17

Where: Walker Art Center (hillside), 1750 Hennepin Ave.

Cost: Free

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Minnesota Renaissance Festival

Where else but at RenFest can you drink mead (that’s fermented honey), eat a turkey leg as big as your biceps and see a jousting act that’s like a “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” outtake? Some of the comedy acts are hammy, but it’s hard to argue with the cool factor of live armored jousters, knife throwers and fire-juggling tightrope walkers. With its intimate village grounds, smaller crowds and plentiful (and largely free) entertainment and amusements, the Renaissance Festival is the quirkier, Dungeons-and-Dragons-playing little brother of the Minnesota State Fair. Highlights include Tuey, a fire-juggling ropewalker who’s been at it for more than 40 years, and Puke and Snot, known for their pirate witticisms and double-entendres. If you like bad jokes, dangerous stunts, traditional folk music, men in tights, handmade artisan goods, good food and fermented beverages, the RenFest is a must-go.

When: 9 a.m.–7 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays Aug. 19–Oct. 1, plus Labor Day and Sept. 29

Where: Minnesota Renaissance Festival Grounds, 12364 Chestnut Blvd., Shakopee

Cost: $23.95 adults, $21.95 seniors, $14.95 kids; $37.95 for 2-day pass; $94.95 (adults) or $54.95 (kids) for season pass

Info: 952-445-7361 or

Irish Fair of Minnesota

Since 2001, Harriet Island Park in downtown St. Paul has hosted Irish Fair of Minnesota, a celebration of Irish heritage with music, dance, family activities and food on the banks of the Mississippi. Said to be the largest free Irish festival in the U.S., last year’s event brought in 100,000 attendees. This year’s musical lineup includes Grammy award-nominated Irish fiddler Eileen Ivers, who was on the cast of the original “Riverdance” and a nine-time, all-Ireland fiddle champion, plus local bands including the Belfast Cowboys, who play a mix of Van Morrison covers and originals, and punk-infused guitar trio, the Tim Malloys. New to the fair this year is the Celtic Kitchen, which will host food-related events, such as demonstrations, sampling, competitions and unique Irish foods, throughout the weekend. The Celtic Kitchen will kick off with a special ticketed Friday night event. (7 p.m., $25)

When: 3 p.m.–11 p.m., Friday, Aug. 11; 10 a.m.–11 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 12; and 9 a.m.–7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 13

Where: Harriet Island, 200 Dr. Justus Ohage Blvd., St. Paul

Cost: Free