We don’t have Taste of Minnesota’s gaudy July 4th blow-out anymore, it’s true, but the City of St. Paul has its own plans again this year for a splashy civic fireworks display along downtown’s Mississippi riverfront area. If you’d like to bring the family, grab a blanket and a few lawn chairs, because Harriet Island will be open Wednesday evening to visitors wishing to watch the show from there.
City of St. Paul’s July 4th fireworks display will begin at dusk (about 10:15 p.m.). For more information, visit www.stpaul.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=1442.
But don’t stop with Independence Day — St. Paul is home to an abundance of al fresco civic cultural events throughout the warmer months. Thursday nights in particular are a hot ticket for high summer outdoor arts programming this year. Already well underway, the Ordway’s annual Summer Dance Series is simply wonderful. All walks of life convene in Landmark Plaza each Thursday night, from mid-June to early August, to boogie the night away together in this free, social dance event. Spry old folks, irrepressibly antsy littles and their parents, courting young couples and intrepid gaggles of teens — all gather early, at 6 p.m. for an hour of en masse instruction in the basics of a new genre of dance each week, taught by professional dance companies. Then the night’s featured local band comes out, and everyone gets to try out their freshly minted skills on the dance floor with live music through the evening. This year’s roster of dance and music includes West African dance beats, funk, ballroom, salsa, tango and swing.
Find a full schedule and all the details for Ordway’s Summer Dance Series, which runs Thursday nights from June 14 through August 9, Landmark Plaza in downtown St. Paul (at 5th and Market Street): www.ordway.org/summerdance/
For more outdoor concert options, head over to Lowertown for Music in Mears, also on Thursday nights. Now in its ninth season, this music series in Mears Park has become a beloved summertime tradition. This year’s lineup of artists is pretty impressive, including the likes of Charlie Parr, No Bird Sing, the Honeydogs, Mayda, Communist Daughter and the New Standards. On a related note, look for Comcast Movies in the Park as well, skip-hopping through various St. Paul parks and rec centers all summer long, offering free outdoor screenings of family-friendly films.
Music in Mears is a series of free outdoor concerts by local musicians held Thursday nights in Mears Park, from 6 – 9 p.m. through August 30. To find a detailed schedule of performers, visit www.musicinmears.com. For details about film screenings, dates and locations for all of Comcast Movies-in-the-Park events, hosted by various parks throughout the city from July 13 through September 14, visit www.stpaul.gov/index.aspx?NID=3233.
Finally, at summer’s end look for the return of Minnesota Museum of American Art’s popular Patio Nights @ City House live music series. For three Thursday nights in August, St. Paul’s City House will host live local music, dance, food and drink by Café 128. This year’s performance schedule was just announced a week ago, and it looks both eclectic and promising: “baroque folk pop” from the Brian Just Band; Anglo-rockers, the Greycoats; and country blues/roots outfit, Jack Klatt and the Cat-Swingers.
Patio Nights @ City House will take place August 2, 16 and 30 from 6:30 – 9:30 (music at 8 p.m.) at City House, Upper Landing Park, Shepard Road and Old Chestnut Street, St. Paul. For details: www.mmaa.org/pages/Upcoming1.