Weekend To-Do List: Dragon Festival, Outdoor Dance and more

Every Thursday, as some of you know, I go on the Stephanie & Meridith show at FM 107.1 in the 2 p.m. hour (Listen live here). The purpose of this segment is to give listeners ideas for the best things to do on the ensuing weekend.

Since I already compile weekend activity suggestions for 107.1 FM every Thursday, why not share them first with you, the online reader? You are, after all, my heart's delight. If you check out one of these fine events at my behest, perhaps you'll think fondly of me too.

These are the events we'll be talking about. As always, remember to check our calendar for the latest and greatest.

Dragon Festival Phalen Lake Park, St. Paul July 12-13, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Dragon Festival, full of cultural performances, martial arts demonstrations, curry cooking, and most visual of all, dragon boat racing. Having observed these races in Asia, I can report that the hum and spectacle is fun regardless of who wins or loses. Any place with this type of food and entertainment, there won't be losers anyway.

Dances at the Lakes Rose Garden at Lake Harriet July 11-12, 7:30 p.m. The Christopher Watson Dance Company's most popular annual event encourages people to "come with friends and family, bring a lawn chair or blanket and some snacks or a picnic dinner to make it a celebration," Watson says. "Every year people tell us how much they enjoy the unique opportunity of seeing dance performed in the beautiful setting of the Rose Garden." Hope for good weather, pack some great food and take in a free show.

Blueberry Picking Bauer Berry Farm 10830 French Lake Road, Champlin, 55316 Strawberry season is just about done, but the blueberries should be in this weekend. Among the numerous places to pick, I had good luck at the Bauer Berry Farm in Champlin earlier this year, but if you have other suggestions, please leave them in the comments. A fun family activity or a great date.

Kaiser Cartel Bryant Lake Bowl July 13, 3:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., $10 Let me quote Jen Paulson's preview here:

The first time I ever saw KaiserCartel was in the basement of a south Minneapolis coffee shop and it blew me away, as their charmingly understated personalities were in contrast to their passionate sound. The release of their new album, March Forth, released earlier in June, showcases Courtney Kaiser's delicately strong voice, reminiscent of Aimee Mann, beautiful and clear as a bell. She intertwines romantically with musical partner and boyfriend Benjamin Cartel's warm, enveloping voice with a sweet, barely noticeable Southern twang, the two voices lavished with xylophone and sweet flourishes of whistling and slightly poppy handclaps one moment while woeful and moody the next. This duo's approach might seem simplistic, but they have a seemingly effortless ability to produce lovely tunes. So hold on tight, three shows are taking over the Bryant-Lake Bowl this evening—a 3 p.m. kids' show, a 7:30 p.m. set with the Mad Ripple, and a 10 p.m. performance with that dreamy foursome Romantica. -- Jen Paulson

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