Bob Dylan's 71st birthday brings celebrations all over Minnesota

It would seem that each and every year in the illustrious, celebrated career of Bob Dylan is a good one. But as Dylan celebrates his 71st birthday today, he can no doubt look back at the past year with an added feeling of pride. Not only did he witness the 50th anniversary of his debut record, but it was also recently announced that Dylan will be presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom later on this year. Add all of that to the countless live shows that the tireless bard continues to perform all over the world (but sadly, not in Minnesota as of late), and you have the makings for quite an exciting year for the venerable Mr. Dylan.

Since today is indeed Dylan's 71st birthday, there are celebratory events scheduled all over Minnesota for our acclaimed son of the North Country. Dylan's birthplace of Duluth has been celebrating Bob's birthday all week with the second annual Duluth Dylan Fest, which runs from May 18-26. And of course, there is an extra special event planned for his big day, with the Blood On The Tracks Express set to roll out of Duluth at 6 p.m. to Two Harbors, with music provided by Alan Sparhawk's the Black-Eyed Snakes, Dirty Horse, Sarah Krueger, Silverback Colony, the Freewheelers, the Bitter Spills, and Jim Hall.

The train returns later tonight to the Fitgers Brewhouse, where Brothers Burn Mountain will close out the festive night with a set of live music. Tickets are available at the Brewhouse Beerstore and Duluth's Electric Fetus. Celebrations continue throughout the rest of the weekend in Duluth, with scheduled performances from the Erik Koskinen Band, and the Murder Of Crows, amongst others. Check out for more information on Duluth Dylan Fest.

Not to be outdone, Dylan's childhood home of Hibbing has some big parties planned of their own, as they celebrate '50 Years Of Bob' as part of their 11th annual Dylan Days. This year's events begin today with a welcome reception at Zimmy's followed by a performance by the Adjustments, and continue all through the weekend, with a literary showcase, a singer/songwriter contest, a bus tour highlighting the Hibbing that Dylan knew, and other live performances and special events.

Dylan Days co-founders Bob and Linda Stroback are also the proprietors of Zimmy's, the Dylan-themed bar and restaurant in Hibbing where the original celebrations began. "The idea behind Dylan Days is to keep the arts alive in Hibbing and celebrate that creative spirit that Dylan himself found here and took out with him into the world to succeed."

In Minneapolis, the 400 Bar is celebrating with a Bob Dylan Soundalike Contest, where fans of Dylan can bring their best Bobby impersonations to the 400 Bar stage for what is sure to be a festive night filled with sincere homages as well as playful performances poking fun at Dylan's "unique" vocal delivery.

However you choose to celebrate Bob Dylan's 71st birthday today, the simple fact remains that we should all be thankful that Minnesota's most famous son is still around making music that continues to resonate with generation after generation of music fans. Cheers to you on your birthday, Bob! May you celebrate many, many more.

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