Updated: 04/24/2016 8:45 PM | Print Story |  Email

5 Top Twin Cities Events Happening April 25 - May 1, 2016

It was a long week for Minnesota. Prince’s passing on Thursday was shocking. In the hours after his death, Minnesotans united to celebrate the life of an icon. From all-night dance parties to viewings of Prince’s “Purple Rain,” the mourning process is an opportunity for all of us to congregate. And after months of unrest in our community, I feel this was exactly what we needed: to let it all out. This week made me fall in love with this community in a new way. 
The last few days taught me how many different ways humans can process grief. There’s no wrong answer, and I feel that’s sometimes forgotten. Some unwind by laying flowers at Paisley Park and reflect in silence, others dance in the middle of the street in downtown Minneapolis. I lost both of my parents before I turned 25 years old, and in both cases, I was judged by those around me about how I dealt with the loss. Those people are no longer a part of my life. It’s easy to forget that we each take a unique path in life and are all wired differently.
My message to Prince: thank you for being a fine representative of this great state. I’ll crank up “Let’s Go Crazy” in honor of your love for Minnesota.
1. PURPLE REIGN: Prince Block Party Celebration - Saturday, April 30 and “Purple Rain” Viewing Parties, Monday, April 25 - Friday, April 29
Sabathani Community Center near 35W in south Minneapolis previously was Bryant Junior High School, which is where Prince attended school. The site is celebrating Prince for an entire week, with free screenings of “Purple Rain” April 25 – 29 at 6:00 pm. The movie is rated R, so organizers are requiring those 16 and younger attend with a parent or guardian. On Saturday, festivities head outside with a block party celebration featuring plenty of music, face painters, fun houses and more. It’s an opportunity to show kids how you can celebrate a life cut short without the heavy weight of grief.
When: Monday, April 25 – Friday, April 29, 2016
Time: 6:00 pm
Where: Sabathani Community Center – 310 East 38th Street, Minneapolis
Cost: Free
When: Saturday, April 30, 2016
Time: 1:00 – 6:00 pm
Where: Sabathani Community Center – 310 East 38th Street, Minneapolis
Cost: Free
Food: Cross over 35W and take advantage of red-hot restaurants on Nicollet Avenue. The Lowbrow is at 43rd and Nicollet and gets high remarks. If you have time, wait for a table at Revival and nosh on best fried chicken ever. The banana cream pie gets high remarks from many food critics in town, but I was underwhelmed – the ratio of cream to banana wasn’t right for my taste.
2. FIND A TREASURE: Northland Antique Toy Show – Sunday, May 1
I love hearing about events from Twin Cities Live viewers, and Bob Mannella tipped me off about the Northland Antique Toy Show, celebrating its 40th year with their 2016 event taking place at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds on Sunday, May 1. Dealers come from as far away as Texas to show toys, trains, dolls, and antique advertising that are available for purchase. Even if you don’t buy anything, it’ll be a great event to relive your childhood, no matter your age. 
When: Sunday, May 1, 2016
Time: 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Where: Minnesota State Fairgrounds Progress Center
Cost: $6 adults, kids 12 and under free (save $1 on admission with this coupon)
Parking: Enter through the main gate on Snelling Avenue. There’s plenty of free parking on the streets and lots.
Food: Located smack dab in the middle of a strip mall, Maverick’s Real Roast Beef near Larpenteur and Lexington in Roseville looks like a general run of the mill restaurant. When I lived in Roseville, it was a staple for me with cheap yet delicious roast beef sandwiches and French dips. This family-friendly spot also serves up good malts, too. It’s not the most romantic of restaurants, but definitely worth the trip.
3. PINT-SIZED TRAIN CONDUCTOR’S DREAM: Train Days at Union Depot – Saturday, April 30 – Sunday, May 1
Union Depot will fittingly play host to Train Days, a celebration of all things trains April 30 and May 1. The train station will feature historic locomotives, model train displays and merchandise, activities for the kids, and educational sessions. Amtrak’s Exhibit Train will make its inaugural stop in Minnesota and will be in Saint Paul to showcase the past, present and future of the railroads. That’s in addition to several other historic trains and equipment that you can see up close. Make a full day out of this and visit the Minnesota Transportation Museum in Saint Paul. They’ll have a vintage bus offering free rides from Union Depot. Plus, you’ll get a discounted ticket to that museum.
When: Saturday, April 30 and Sunday, May 1, 2016
Time: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm Saturday, 11:00 am – 3:00 pm Sunday
Where: Union Depot, downtown Saint Paul
Cost: Free
Parking: Union Depot has a ramp that has plenty of space. Since you’re going to a train event, consider taking the light rail. MetroTransit is offering free rides. Find the pass here.
4. THE BEST OF THE BEST: City Pages’ Best of the Twin Cities Party – Thursday, April 28
When I hear a great review of a restaurant or brewery, I add it to a list in my Gmail inbox. There’s over 100 places on it currently and it’s a bit overwhelming. Bottom line: there’s only so much time and there are so many great places to eat and drink in the Twin Cities. That’s why I’m headed to City Pages’ Best of the Twin Cities Party at International Market Square on Thursday. Every year, the City Pages staff creates the ultimate list of what makes Minnesota so great, including restaurants, music, and art. The party brings those winners together in one spot, giving you the chance to check off a bunch of restaurants without hopping in your car. The VIP ticket gives you access to free drinks from 6-7 pm, so if you can get there early, take advantage of that.
When: Thursday, April 28, 2016
Time: 7:00 – 10:00 pm (VIPs enter at 6:00)
Where: International Market Square, Minneapolis
Cost: $25-55, save money when you buy tickets in advance online
Parking: International Market Square has a decent sized parking lot and ramp, both are free
Food: There will be plenty of food there, but you might leave a little hungry
5. SPRING FLING: Art in Bloom at Mia – Thursday, April 28 – Sunday, May 1
Over 150 floral designs inspired by objects on display at Mia (Minneapolis Institute of Art) will be presented April 28 – May 1. Entering its 33rd year, Art in Bloom's fresh flowers give us all a sigh of relief that spring is here. Best of all, it’s free. Mia staff will give complimentary 45 minute tours of the displays all four days. 
When: Thursday, April 28 – Sunday, May 1, 2016 (family day is Saturday)
Time: During museum hours 
Where: Mia (Minneapolis Institute of Art), Minneapolis
Cost: Free
Parking: If you go past the museum, you’ll see a ramp right behind Children’s Theatre Company. There’s a surface lot right across the street. Both have a fee. Mia offers complimentary off-site parking and free shuttle service Thursday evenings and all day Saturdays at the Wells Fargo parking garage at 28th Street and Fourth Avenue South. They also offer valet service for $10.
Food: Mia is host to Agra Culture, a locally owned restaurant serving up food, cold-pressed juice, wine and beer.
Do you know of an event happening this week that isn’t listed? Tell me about it! Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, and email. Have a great week!