Updated: 04/17/2016 7:02 PM | Print Story |  Email

5 Worthy Event Picks April 18-24 from Twin Cities Live's Local Guy About Town

After recommending events for years, I have a (useless) talent of remembering what happens on a particular weekend. Grand Old Day(s) is the first weekend of June, Highland Fest is the third weekend of July, and for some reason, no one likes to plan events the weekend before the State Fair starts (minus the Japanese Lantern Lighting Festival at Como Park Zoo). And like clockwork, the second to last weekend of April is when the warm weather events season begins. We go from a short list of things to talk about to dozens of events happening around town. For me, it's like the fishing opener. Just like how there are 10,000 (plus) different lakes to fish in Minnesota, there are so many events, but oh so little time. 
 
I'm here to help. From now, the second to last weekend of April, until we stuff our face with fried food at the State Fair, I'll post a weekly roundup of events worth your time and dollar bills. There are plenty of event listing websites out there, so first, thanks for checking mine out, but my goal here is to provide those insider tips instead of only sharing information. I'm honored to visit many venues around the Twin Cities, and I can help you navigate through traffic, find cheap parking, and save you time and money. 
 
So take five and check out my five picks happening April 18-24. Thanks for reading! And if you know of something happening in your neighborhood, let me know! Find me on Facebook, Twitter, or send me an email.
 
Have a great week!
-Mike Marcotte
 
 
1. FAMILY-FRIENDLY: Free Concert at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts - Saturday, April 23
 
 The GTCYS (Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies) is hosting a FREE family-friendly concert at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday, April 23rd at 10:30 am. They're including choral music, too -- members of the Minnesota Boychoir will sing as part of the performance. Listening to GTCYS isn't like listening to the violin lessons you got in 2nd grade; the 900-member GTCYS are trained by artistic staff and coaches from the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and Minnesota Orchestra. Go and further your child's love for the arts.
 
When: Saturday, April 23, 2016
Time: 10:30 am
Where: Ordway, St. Paul
Cost: Free, BUT you need a ticket. You can request those online.
Parking: For any event near Rice Park, I always recommend parking at the Lawson Commons ramp. The Ordway is just over one block away. 
Food: M ST. Cafe in the basement of The Saint Paul Hotel is a hidden gem that is surprisingly kid-friendly. Plus, they'll validate your parking ticket for 2 hours when you park at the Lawson Commons ramp.
 
2. SOMETHING ‘NEW’: Minnesota Craft Beer Festival – Saturday, April 23
 
So beer festivals aren’t new ‘round these parts. However, the Minnesota Craft Beer Festival, taking place inside the Minneapolis Convention Center on Saturday, definitely has potential. And with tickets just $40, the price is right compared to similar events happening later this summer. Over 80 breweries will be pouring 3 ounce samples with over 220 brews to navigate through. Each participant is required to bring a beer only available in their taproom or a rare limited-release option. Proceeds from the event are donated to Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity. Again, I’m optimistic for this one. If you go, please let me know what you think! 
 
When: Saturday, April 23, 2016
Time: 3:00-6:30 pm
Where: Minneapolis Convention Center
Cost: $39.99 (also selling designated driver tickets for $19.99)
Parking: If you’re patient, look for a spot on the street to the southeast of the Convention Center. I typically have good luck around Nicollet and 15th. Otherwise, the ramp attached to the Hyatt is easy. 
Food: I would navigate south of downtown for food (and please, make sure to eat before you go so there’s something to soak up that booze). The Copper Hen Cakery and Kitchen has never disappointed me. They’re on the tip of Eat Street (Nicollet), which is full of options, including Eat Street Social.
 
3. WIN BIG: Designer Purse Bingo at Blue Heron Grill in Hugo – Sunday, April 24
 
I was never one for playing sports. I did soccer camp for about half a day when I was eight and the only reason why is because my parents signed me up for the wrong camp. However, there’s one game I love: bingo. Typically taking place on the last Sunday of the month, Designer Purse Bingo at Blue Heron Grill in Hugo draws quite the interest: their Facebook event has over 300 interested. I chatted with the restaurant, and they confirmed that prizes are coming from Michael Kors himself. Coach and Valentino, too. Seems like a perfect Sunday funday with the girlfriends (or your husband if he owes you). 
 
When: Sunday, April 24, 2016
Time: 3:00 pm
Where: Blue Heron Grill, Hugo
Cost: $26 gets you 6 cards to play for 13 games; if you want to go wild, chip in $4 more and get an additional 3 cards per game
Parking: Worry more about what lucky dauber you’ll use
Note: if you can't go this month, the May bingo date will be May 22 with the Memorial Day holiday
 
4. LAST WEEKEND: “Buyer & Cellar” at New Century Theatre – April 21 through 24
 
It’s a little known fact: there’s a shopping mall in the basement of Barbara Streisand’s home in Malibu. Babs was tired of battling crowds (and fans) at the stores but liked shopping in general, so she bought a bunch of stuff and put it on display so she could go down to the cellar and purchase it…again. That’s the premise of “Buyer and Cellar,” a one-man show at the New Century Theatre in downtown Minneapolis. Entering its final weekend, the show takes that nugget of truth (seriously, Barbara has a mall in her basement), and tells the fictional story of Alex, a struggling actor who lands the job as the mall’s only employee. Sasha Andreev is the one-man who will share this story and does a phenomenal job sharing all the emotion. His performance made me appreciate how hard it is to be on stage by yourself for over 90 minutes. 
 
When: Thursday, April 21 – Sunday, April 24, 2016
Time: 7:30 pm Thursday – Saturday, 2:00 pm Sunday
Where: New Century Theatre, downtown Minneapolis
Cost: $34.50 Thursday, Friday, and Sunday; $39.50 Saturday. Use promo code APRIL24 to get 50% off tickets online.
Parking: Highland Court ramp at 8th and LaSalle is my go-to ramp for any event in the theater district. 
Food: Date night: 112 Eatery. With a group: Butcher and the Boar. On the cheap: City Works. That last restaurant opened in March in Mayo Clinic Square (formerly known as Block E). They have the best tap beer selection in Minneapolis and a decent happy hour. For $7, you’ll get a select tap and an appetizer. I highly recommend the deep-fried Chicago Dogs. I wouldn’t recommend dinner there; my burger was overcooked and the fries were boring.
 
5. SHAMELESS PLUG: Q&A with ‘Twin Cities Live Book Club’ Authors – Saturday, April 23
 
Four times a year, the Twin Cities Live Book Club gathers at Radisson Blu Mall of America. There’s no membership fee, no form to fill out. Heck, you can be a member even if you don’t know how to read but just enjoy drinking wine. (I tell folks to like the Book Club Facebook page so you know what we’re reading and when the next event is). In January, TCL host Steve Patterson picked not one, but FOUR books written by Minnesotans. On April 23rd, they’ll all gather at the Barnes and Noble in Blaine for a Q&A, emceed by yours truly. Stop by if you’re looking for some good reads for the cabin this summer or would like a hug from me. The Barnes and Noble website has the list of books.
 
When: Saturday, April 23, 2016
Time: 2:00 pm
Where: Barnes and Noble, Blaine
Cost: Free
Parking: You’ll be fine. You’re in Blaine. 
Food: Carol’s restaurant is a scratch kitchen in a sea of chain restaurants. Originally located in nearby Lexington, the established was dislocated after a fire and decided to rebuild off of Highway 65 in Blaine (north of the Barnes and Noble). I remember going to Carol’s original location as a kid. You can’t go wrong with caramel rolls. I hear the Reuben is well worth it.
 
But that's not all!
Other events happening this week I have on my radar:
 
Junk Bonanza at Canterbury Park (Thursday - Saturday)
Cocktail Tour at Scena Tavern in Minneapolis (Thursday)
Saint Paul Art Crawl (Friday - Sunday)
Music in the Zoo tickets on sale (Saturday)
"Love Between the Covers" at the Heights Theater (Thursday)