Four free things to do this week

In this installment of free stuff to do we have lunchtime ballet, a special beer party, and a potato bar. Come take a look and plan your week on the cheap.

Picnic Operetta Kickoff Party

(Eat Street Community Garden, 2416 1st Ave. S., Minneapolis)

Each year, the fine folks at Mixed Precipitation put together a series of performances that take place in urban farms and community gardens. During events, folks dine on delicious local offerings from the gardens while taking in an operetta. Yes, it's as fun as it sounds, and it's one of the more delightful theater offerings of the summer. To kick off their 2014 tour, folks will gather at Eat Street Community Garden for an evening of chit chat and baked potatoes. Here, you'll be able to learn a bit about this season's show, Henry Purcell's King Arthur, as well as support and volunteer opportunities. Spuds and drinks will be provided, but bring your favorite fixings to share. For more info, visit Tuesday, 6-9 p.m. 

Saint Paul Ballet: Sleeping Beauty


(Landmark Center, 75 W. 5th St., St. Paul, 651-292-3293,

Are ballet tickets something you covet, but are a little too spendy for you right now? Do you work in downtown St. Paul? Then this lunchtime offering is for you. This noontime performance will be the last of Landmark's Ballet Tuesdays of the season. Here, professional dancers and students will be presenting Sleeping Beauty. They will also be inviting guests to try some moves after the show. Tuesday, noon. 

Representative Keith Ellison

(Common Good Books, 38 S. Snelling Ave., St Paul, 651-225-8989,

Meet your representative! This Tuesday, Representative Keith Ellison will be in town to discuss and read from My Country, 'Tis of Thee: My Faith, My Family, My Future, his memoir examining his life starting from his youth to his time as the first Muslim elected to Congress. Tuesday, 7 p.m. 

Third Thursday: Beerfest

(Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 2400 3rd Ave. S., Minneapolis, 612-870-3131,

This Thursday, the MIA will celebrate beer. As always, Summitwill be on tap, but this time they will be upping their game, offering a special cask on brew infused with Dogwood coffee. There will also be special flights available, activities like beer label making, and live music by Black Diet. Thursday, 6-9 p.m.