What's all the buzz concerning August's awesome culture in Minot, you may ask? Easy answer - just grab your calendar and flip the page to August, and be prepared to mark the pages with myriad cultural events you will want to be a part of and enjoy for free.
At 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 2, in our beautiful Scandinavian Heritage Park, you can hear Minot's own Nodakords, led by the baton of 19-year veteran Gordon Troxel. Gordon says that 22 or 23 jovial gentlemen will be harmonizing - as they always do - simply because they like each other, love to sing, and generously want to share their love of harmonizing. As per usual, Troxel says there will be some quartet vocalizing too. When he turns his face to you it might be said that even after 19 years he still smiling. And you will be smiling too.
Again in our Scandinavian Heritage Park on Aug. 4 at 7 p.m., band lovers, which includes all of us, can sit back on whatever you bring to sit on while the prestigious U.S. Army Band fills the August evening air with their own awesome music. A special reason for you to attend this concert will be seeing and hearing the third generation member of the Lowe family, James. He follows his grandfather Jim and father, Philip, in the beautiful business of flowers. For this band concert James will display another somewhat hidden talent as master of ceremonies. James could be following in another famous master of ceremonies' footsteps - Bill Kolb, who is now perspiring in Surprise, Ariz. While you are at the park, why not take time to chat with Kathleen Cunningham about her book exchange event.
You can be a part of the awesome entertainment on Aug. 9 in Scandinavian Heritage Park when the darlings of feminine vocal music in Minot fill the air with their tantalizing, toe-tapping contagious tunes. Again this summer, the Treblemakers - saddled shoed and poodle skirted - will be bouncing around with their harmonizing and awesome tunes. Two sisters, their cousin and a couple of friends make up the "Treblemakers at The Hop." You'll drink root beer floats, courtesy of the Sons of Norway and eat gyros put together by members of the Greek Orthodox Church. So get your saddle shoes and poodle skirts, or concoct your own version. You will be among the hoppers while you are cruising around, drinking floats and eating gyros. Take time to admire the shiny vehicles that members of the Dakota Cruisers will have on display and chat with the proud owners of these cars. You know, of course, about the strategically located money buckets in the park waiting for your monetary contributions, which promise to keep alive and well our Summer in the Parks entertainment.
One of the best parts of attending summer cultural events in Scandinavian Heritage Park is that you do not have to be Scandinavian - or show your identification to prove thus upon entering the park - to visit at any time with its rippling waterfall, and authentically carved and constructed stave. It is for sure that you could even have your marital knot tied there, which could last for 50 or more years.
You do not have to like or eat tomatoes to be a part of the 24th annual Great Tomato Festival on Aug. 8 in the 4-H Hall at the North Dakota State Fair Center. What you will be doing will be enjoying an absolutely awesome evening with a host of friendly folks. You will, however, have fat, red, beautiful fresh tomatoes all around the room to set the scene, thanks to the generosity of Minot's Marketplace Foods. Thanks also go to a dedicated bunch of volunteers. There will be tables set for nibbling before the real meal, tiny stuffed tomatoes, chips and Haider's Salsa dip, and of course coffee, water and wine. Eventually, thanks to the expertise of some of Minot's male chefs, smoked pork chops will also be served. If the pork chops are too large for you, your pets left at home could be sharers of this 24th annual Great Tomato Festival. The brownie dessert, it is safe to say, will not go home for your pets. Besides the friendly chatter and banter, which will be part of the evening, you are sure to enjoy Dakota Dixie's music. From time to time you will likely take several trips to the area containing silent auction goodies on which you have placed your bids. These goodies include a variety of awesome dinners here in Minot, as well as one in Mandan for which Peggy Miller and likely others will prepare for you when you are the successful bidder. Minot area artists and artisans will have their awesome creations on display awaiting your viewing and bidding. You'll see the talents of the likes of, for example, Margaret Lee, Nancy Walker and Bob Wheeler for sure. And, at the end of yet another Great Tomato Festival, you will not only have had an awesome time, but you will have benefited our Minot Public Library, the Taube Museum of Art and The Lewis and Clark Fort Mandan Foundation. For this festival, doors will open at 5:30 p.m.; visiting time follows from 6 to 7 p.m., when dinner is served. Tickets are $25 - $30 at the door in case you did not purchase them in advance at the Minot Public Library, Taube, Art Main, The Computer Store or Minot Air Force Base Tires Plus.
Ever been on stage, or ever wanted to be on stage? If your answer is positive, Minot's Mouse River Players are ready, willing and able to fulfill your wants and wishes. From Sept. 20-23, a large cast, making use of a variety of ages, will perform a hilarious comedy farce portraying an Iowa family's fun trip. According to director Ron Haider and his assistant Kelly Thom, you will find it difficult to keep from laughing as you travel with the Iowa family as they venture away from familiar sights and sounds. Auditions for this September farce will be held Aug. 6-7 at 7:30 p.m. in the Arlene Theater. Take your chances to be awesome on stage. And by the way, when you call 838-3939, you'll be able to purchase season tickets for another awesome season in the Mouse River Players' Arlene Theater.
Many of you remember - nostalgically sometimes - what was on Main Street. Often as you either drive or walk or shop in downtown Minot, you may either try to remember those bygone days. You'll perhaps happen to remember, if you are 100 or just 75, just what was here and there - like for example the Leland Parker Hotel or J.W. Samuelsons Shoe Store or the Fair. On Aug. 18 at 11 a.m. in the Taube Museum, for free, you will be able - through wonderful digital work - to take a nostalgic trip down old Main Street in Minot. Thanks to Dr. Bethany Andreason, head of Minot State University's History Department, project director Amy Lisner, and history major intern Lisa Crawford, you will take a digital trip down Main Street of yesteryear, courtesy of the Digital Minot Project. This digital trip happens to be part of the annual Festival on Main Street in Minot. There will be dancing on the street, a petting zoo, face painting, vendors with their awesome wares, music and Main Street merchants will pull out all the merchandising stops as they make this year's festival truly festively awesome. From 1-5 p.m., plan to take a trip from the Main Street that was to Main Street as it is today - forever truly awesome.
Minot's Dan Hansen will once again serve as a shining example of "Some people see a need, simply ignore it and do nothing - others see a need and do something," on Aug. 25. For several years, Dan has seen a number of what he felt were needs and put together what he called "Rock the Leaves." Until last year when the ravaging Mouse River played havoc on Dan's favorite venue, Oak Park leaves really rocked. Not one to be dissuaded by the likes of the Mouse, his Rocking took place in 2011 in the leafless Grand International Inn. Still this year, Oak Park will not be the scene for Dan's Rock the Leaves. The Scandinavian Heritage Park from 2-10 p.m. will awesomely "rock." Dan's "need" this year is the Oak Park bandshell, a necessary part of events we all enjoy every summer. Dan has put together music he says is for everyone, so one could call it a family Rock the Leaves. There will be a variety of music produced by a variety of bands ranging from well-known local bands to national and international bands. There will foods and drinks available - "no alcoholic drinks," Dan pointed out. It is a fundraiser for an important part of our legendary Oak Park, so Dan suggests a $5 contribution would be appreciated. What an example for all of us - Dan plus his volunteer movers and shakers.
Time to buzz off - do enjoy an awesome cultural August in Minot.