Spring comes slowly here in Minnesota. Beginning in March, there may be a few days that tease the winter-dulled senses and low, gray moods, but it's just a trick of nature. April shows promise, but too often the clouds hang low and dark and are filled with chilly rain and wet snowflakes.
And all the while, little by little, the snow melts away, the ground begins to green up, buds suddenly appear, little daffodil shoots push through the muddy soil and then comes May. And in May, Minnesota awakens from that long winter nap.
Our spring is short-lived and generally chilly, then warm and maybe hot, on occasion, but it gives way to long, beautiful, warm, sunny days full of leaves and grass and flowers and late walks and picnics and concerts at the bandshell and baseball games and swimming at our favorite lake and the sounds of kids calling to one another as they run yard to yard all afternoon and late into the evening….summer…the long awaited season.
And while our spring lasts a month to two months tops, I have a list of my spring must dos. Some begin our summer traditions, some are once a year events, but all are done with a renewed sense of life (mostly outdoors) and community.
Friends School Plant Sale. This one is coming up soon; May 9, 10 and 11 at the Minnesota State Fair Grandstand. It's HUGE (2,300 varieties of plants), and it's a lot of fun picking out all the tomatoes and herbs and interesting and tried and true veggie varieties and flowers, etc. If you go, bring a wagon or cart of any kind; they'll have boxes for you to carry home your little treasures. They have the BEST selection of tomato plants….so many to choose from. I always go on Friday; Saturday can be too late for some selections. Oh, and it's a fundraiser for a school; something you can feel good about.
Flint Hills International Children's Festival. This free festival in St. Paul is always a fun time. Art and culture and history and theatrics and dancing and music and ice cream and food and crafts and fancy ladies on stilts and a magnificent setting at Rice Park. The acts strolling through or on the various stages are amazing, daring or beautiful and often all three. Oh, and don't miss the ice cream man dressed as a clown, pedaling through on his bike/cart selling blue bunny bars that come with a side of a balloon animal or pirate sword; always a line and always worth it.
Open Field at Walker Art Center. Opens June 14th (still spring here in MN). Closed last year for Walker construction, it's back this year. I'm SO excited. It is what it sounds like, but so much more. If you haven't spent a lazy Sunday afternoon or a warm, breezy weekday evening here at the Open Field, you really should plan to do so this summer. It's a great big, grassy field with a great hill in the middle and a patio with some tables and chairs and benches with an outdoor café with a grill and a view of downtown and right across the street from the Sculpture Garden. What do you need to bring? Nothing. There are board games and arts and craft supplies and instruments and balls and Legos and kites and yoga mats and so much more. You can choose to do a little bit of everything or nothing at all. Sometimes we bring a picnic and sometimes we buy a meal from the café. Let the kids run and play and bring a book for any quiet moments you get in between running and playing. We love this space.
Minnesota Orchestra Bugs Bunny at the Symphony. We can't wait for this event. There are several family friendly events at the orchestra this spring and summer. Check out their upcoming events.
Concert and Picnic at Lake Harriet Bandshell. This is something we enjoy doing all summer long. Picnic, music, fabulous playground, lots of families, a view of the sparkling lake; one of my most favorite traditions of all. Concerts are free and scheduled every single night of the summer starting on May 26th.
Mother's Day with my Mom. Last May, my parents moved from Texas to Minnesota just in time for my mom and me to spend Mother's Day together. Last year, we ate brunch and then frittered away the afternoon going through little shops in south Minneapolis; something we rarely have the time to do.
Farmers Market. Yes, the big markets run year round, but our local market doesn't open until mid-May. I love the market, but it's really an experience that belongs to my husband and my boys. They like to get up earlier than I do, and then go to the market and grab a muffin for breakfast, pick up for fruits, honey, veggies and more, and then play at the park before coming back home with all their market finds. This leaves me with a quiet house for lovely, peaceful rest.
May is the month almost every night is filled with baseball, soccer, evenings out with friends, social events and school activities. It's always a busy month and the kids have started counting down the days until summer…and so am I. I do love those three months of no school and no homework and very few scheduled commitments. It's a time of fun and playing and adventuring.
And so, we will begin prepping for this time of being footloose and fancy free with our month and half of spring. What's on your list? Over and out…