The Sheldon Theatre has two highlights each summer: Rolling River Music Festival and the Phoenix Theatre musical.
Before those July events, however, look for charming puppet shows and thrilling movies.
The 2017 summer events will run every Thursday evening June 8 through the end of August — with a few more dates thrown in. It all begins with the first of three outdoor Puppet Picnics.
"Sheldon summers focus on community connection, bringing the arts outside, and pure fun for everyone," Executive Director Bonnie Schock said in a news statement. "It's all designed for hanging out together with friends and family, surrounded by art. If it's Thursday, you should be at the Sheldon."
The nationally recognized Open Eye Figure Theatre is back for a second summer, bringing its "Driveway Tour" to the porte-cochere on the Sheldon's west side. ArtReach will provide a hands-on puppet making activity to add to the experience. Performances are free, with a pass-the-hat opportunity to contribute as people are able.
The 45-minute puppet shows will be "The Amazing Cow Boat," June 8; "Molly and the Magic Boot," July 13; and "Tucker's Robot," Aug. 10.
Also on Thursdays is the Summer Adventure and Thrills Film Series. Footage of four family adventure favorites and four classic films for adults will roll at 7 p.m. on the theater's silver screen. Visit sheldontheatre.org for details.
Red Wing's free outdoor music festival starts at 5 p.m. Saturday, July 15, at the Central Park Band Shell.
The Girls Guns and Glory, an Americana band that Rolling Stone Country named as one of 10 "artists you need to know," is the headliner for the Rolling River Music Festival. Nashville's Sam Lewis also stars.
Setting the stage for those performances are Horseplay, hailing from Belle Plaine, Minn., and students from the Universal Music Center in Red Wing.
The Sheldon presents the Rolling River Music Festival in partnership with the Jones Family Foundation and other local sponsors.
Local talent will stage "Urinetown, the Musical." The plot centers on a 20-year drought that has led to a government-enforced ban on private toilets. The citizens must use public amenities, regulated by a single malevolent company that profits by charging admission for one of humanity's most basic needs. Amid the downtrodden masses, a hero plans a revolution.
Local performances of this Tony Award-winning show are July 21-22 and 27-30.
For more information about the summer schedule, visit www.sheldontheatre.org.