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Best Bets: Park Point Art Fair, Rhubarb Festival and more

Find something to do this weekend in the Northland.

Park Point Art Fair
The Park Point Art Fair, seen here in 2006, expects over 10,000 patrons this year.
File / Duluth News Tribune
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It was one of the more quixotic endeavors in Duluth's history, which is really saying something: The founders of the Park Point Art Fair established the event in hopes of selling art to smelters. A half-century later, the art out-draws the smelt, with over 10,000 people expected to cross the Aerial Lift Bridge on Saturday and Sunday for a juried selection of work by painters, photographers, sculptors, ceramicists and more. Live music, food trucks, and family activities will also be available at the event.

For more information, see parkpointartfair.org.

Everybody cut ...

Five people wearing jeans, sneakers, and colorful button-down shirts dance in front of a green shipping container bearing an advertisement for "Footloose."
The cast of "Footloose" are ready to kick up some dust at the NorShor Theatre.
Contributed / Terry Cartie Norton

It was only in December that the Duluth City Council officially rescinded a Prohibition-era law requiring venues to apply for a dancing license if they also serve alcohol. Councilor Roz Randorf called it "the 'Footloose' ordinance," and now a musical based on that hit 1984 movie is coming to the NorShor Theater, running Friday through July 17. The musical, which landed four Tony nominations when it debuted on Broadway in 1998, turns the movie's chart-topping soundtrack into a songbook, and "rehearsals have been a joyous, nonstop party," according to Duluth Playhouse producing artistic director Phillip Fazio. If the spirit moves you to kick off your own Sunday shoes, go right ahead: The NorShor doesn't even need a license.

For tickets and information, see duluthplayhouse.org.

If you screen it, they will come

082021.F.DNT.FreeRange
The 2022 Free Range Film Festival is taking place Friday and Saturday.
Steve Kuchera / 2016 file / Duluth News Tribune

You've got to give it to the Free Range Film Festival organizers: They know what makes their event distinctive. "We show movies in a barn." What's the barn like? "It's super pretty," says the festival website. Some screenings even happen in the hayloft. The Wrenshall event, now marking 18 years since its founding, runs for two nights — Friday and Saturday — with several shorts preceding a feature each night. "How can you tell the entire story of bees in one minute?" asks the description for the 60-second film "Hive Mind."

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If you'd like to find out, see freerangefilm.com for tickets and information.

Local and international filmmakers will be showcased Friday and Saturday.

AICHO Food and Art Markets

At a produce vendor stand, a woman takes payment from a man bearing an armload of sunflowers. In the foreground are boxes with carrots, cucumbers, and tomatoes among other fresh-grown foods.
Fresh-grown foods and flowers were on offer at this AICHO Food and Art Market in 2021.
Contributed / Ivy Vainio

There's a lot to take in at the American Indian Community Housing Organization's Food & Art Markets, which will take place every two weeks through Oct. 1 starting Saturday. Each market includes 20-25 "established and emerging American Indian and BIPOC food producers and artists," according to organizers, with products ranging from wild rice to maple syrup to beadwork. Saturday's market, which runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., will feature a drum group to open the season and a book signing by Sam Zimmerman, Grand Portage Band of Ojibwe direct descendant and author of "Following My Spirit Home." Typically, the events will take place at the One Roof Parking Lot (12 E. Fourth St.); due to potential thunderstorms this weekend, Saturday's inaugural event will take place at AICHO's Dr. Robert Powless Cultural Center, 212 W. Second St.

For more information, see aicho.org. While you're on their site, you can also learn more about an ongoing exhibition of Shaun Chosa paintings at AICHO's Gimaajii-Mino-Bimaadizimin community center.

Trans Joy Fest

Bronze sculpture in outdoor setting, with stylized depiction of two bears bending over a tulip. Vertical sculpture with shiny golden metal is visible in the background.
Public sculptures at Duluth's Gichi-Ode' Akiing (Lake Place Park), where Trans Joy Fest will take place, include "Green Bear" and, in background, "Water and Friendship."
Jay Gabler / Duluth News Tribune

Trans Northland co-founder Sean Hayes was thinking about "how much tough stuff the trans community has had to get through" recently, he told the News Tribune. "We really need to have some joy around here, just uplift people's spirits to remind folks that there is a community of people who love and care about each other and take care of each other." That led to the planning of Duluth's inaugural Trans Joy Festival, taking place at Gichi-Ode' Akiing (Lake Place Park) on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The free event will include 25 vendors, as well as music, poetry, yoga, art activities, a kids' play area and a raffle. "All of these things are going to be led by trans and gender non-conforming and two-spirit people," explained Hayes. There will also be education and training opportunities; the festival welcomes "anyone who has kindness in their heart."

For more information, see facebook.com/transjoyfest.

Return of the rhubarb

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A print made from a rhubarb leaf dried on a clothesline during the 2019 Rhubarb Festival.
Clint Austin / File / Duluth News Tribune

"COVID put a damper on just about everything," wrote Beatrice Ojakangas in her latest News Tribune column. "Except rhubarb." As Ojakangas noted, the returning Rhubarb Festival isn't just a way to use up all those stems — it's a fundraiser for Duluth's Churches United in Ministry, an organization serving those in need. Founder Steve O'Neil "likened the profusion of the rhubarb to the profusion of the people in need," explained Ojakangas, who admitted this year's event is a little scaled back. Instead of over 1,000 pies, there will "only" be several hundred at Stella Maris Academy on the Holy Rosary campus this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information, see chumduluth.org.

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This story was updated at 12:54 p.m. June 20 to correct the number of rhubarb pies to be served at the Rhubarb Festival, as well as to add a link to a newly published story about the Free Range Film Festival. It was updated again at 1:03 p.m. June 23 to add information about a change of location for this weekend's AICHO Food and Art Market. It was originally posted at 8 a.m. June 20. Regarding the rhubarb pies, the News Tribune regrets the error.

Related Topics: ARTTHEATERMOVIESTOURISM
Arts and entertainment reporter Jay Gabler joined the Duluth News Tribune in February 2022. His previous experience includes eight years as a digital producer at The Current (Minnesota Public Radio), four years as theater critic at Minneapolis alt-weekly City Pages, and six years as arts editor at the Twin Cities Daily Planet. He's a co-founder of pop culture and creative writing blog The Tangential; and a member of the National Book Critics Circle. You can reach him at jgabler@duluthnews.com or 218-279-5536.
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