Stacy Bengs has been a photojournalist at the Red Wing Republican Eagle since 2010. She holds a bachelors degree in journalism and art from the University of Minnesota.
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Sunglasses, check. Phone, check. Free weekend, check. It’s that time of the year again. The sweet, sweet sounds, sun and steady stream of family fun that is the summer festival season. From biking around Lake Pepin to the celebration of all things cheese, festivals are filling the weekends of the region’s summer calendar. Check out the list below for a spoiler alert of what this upcoming season has to offer. June Covered Bridge Music & Arts Festival
The tiny town of Durand, Wisconsin, opens its doors during GoPaint! — an annual weeklong artist celebration. Painting kicks off with the Quick Paint event 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday May 14 at the Old Courthouse Museum. All are welcome to participate or just come and observe the artists competing for the “Best Quick Paint” awarded at 4 p.m., notes Jean Accola, founder and coordinator of GoPaint!. The artists will set up within the Washington Square block surrounding the Old Courthouse and elsewhere within visual range of the Old Courthouse.
The Bells of the Bluffs Handbell Ensemble rings in May Day with a matinee concert featuring a wide range of music eras and genres. Music starts 2 p.m. Sunday May 1 at First Lutheran Church, 615 W. Fifth St., Red Wing. Bell ringers will play five octaves of handbells, chimes combined with the group’s unique bass note percussion system. Area musicians will be added for selected songs and Joyful Noise, the First Lutheran Church handbell group, also will play.
Tribute shows breathe fresh life back into songs found in the musical catacombs of iconic artists and memorable sound. Crossing at Carnegie Director Marie Marvin says tribute bands give people the chance to “relive the fun times we had growing up.” Zumbrota’s State Theatre will house two different tribute concerts performed by bands known for their uncanny impersonations of the music they bring back. See the Fabulous Armadillos pay homage to some of the biggest musicians never known in “Songs by the Wrecking Crew.”
The Red Wing Singers will bring to life whimsical music from “The Little Mermaid,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “Frozen” and more at the “Family Fun Fest” concert Saturday April 9 at the Sheldon Theatre. Showtimes are 3 and 7 p.m. Hear musical selections including “Kiss the Girl” from “The Little Mermaid” to “Circle of Life” from “The Lion King” to classics nursery rhymes such “Sing a Song of Sixpence” set to music by John Rutter. In addition to the Red Wing Singers choir, there will be instrumentalists, Mother Goose rhymes, audience participation and Ogden Nash poetry.
The month of March marks the annual time for basketball tournaments, St. Patrick’s Day parties and, this year, Easter.
The University Theatre at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls presents “The White Snake” Feb. 25-27 and March 3-5. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. in the Blanche Davis Theatre of the Kleinpell Fine Arts building on campus. “The White Snake,” by Tony Award-winning Mary Zimmerman, is a lively reimagining of an ancient Chinese legend. In the story, two learned snakes, White Snake and Green Snake who have been cloistered on a mountaintop for centuries, begin to imagine what it would be like to join the two-legged creatures below.
If you love rockabilly and love songs, then you’ll love Robby Vee, says Crossings at Carnegie director Marie Marvin. The second-generation rocker returns to Zumbrota with his caravan for his “Vee for Valentine” 7:30 p.m. concert Saturday Feb. 13 at the State Theatre. “Robby Vee is always a blast. He absolutely exudes rock ‘n’ roll energy on stage, and his Valentine’s Day shows are extra special,” Marvin adds. Vee is the son of 1960s American teen pop singer Bobby Vee and has six studio records of his own.
Last year the Cannon Community Theater resurrected its dinner theater series after a decade hiatus with “The Odd Couple.” Next weekend the theater group returns to stage with Neil Simon’s “The Sunshine Boys.” The show runs Friday Feb. 12 to Sunday Feb. 14 and Friday Feb. 19 to Sunday Feb. 21 in Cannon Falls. The comedic play, produced for Broadway in 1972, tells the story of Al Lewis and Willie Clark, who were top-billed vaudevillians together for more than 40 years. Now they aren’t speaking.
This year is a leap year, meaning an extra day is added in the miniature month of February. But the shortest month of the year has a full plate of area art classes and educational workshops. Even the last day of the month has a few opportunities to try something new. Kids ages 8-12 can learn the art of making pizza in an afternoon class Monday Feb. 29 with the new Kids in the Kitchen series. Students will learn how to make and roll out pizza crust and also make a dessert pizza.