Tag: uncle chunk
With the additions of more locally-made food and homegrown music than ever, this year’s Taste of Minnesota is tastin’ a bit more Minnesotan. The annual outdoor concert, food festival and fireworks destination held on Harriet Island has new owners this year (as well as a newly instated entry fee of $10, but I’ll get to that shortly), and a greater focus on all things local.
For one, there’s locally-brewed beer from Grain Belt and August Schell, which totally beats previous year’s offerings (Budweiser, anyone?). There’s also some welcome local additions to the food offerings: Popular Middle Eastern deli Holy Land, St. Paul sandwich shop Blink Bonnie, mobile food shack Walleye Wagon, family-owned Steffens Brothers Meat Market, and Minneapolis-based chain Buffalo Wild Wings (though non-local Funnel Cake Factory, Donut Man Joe’s and Dog House will return to serve up their fair-style foods).
Also stronger than ever are the music offerings. 2009’s lineup just might boast the biggest-name acts to ever perform at the Taste, including headliners Elvis Costello (Saturday), Bret Michaels (Sunday), Judas Priest and Whitesnake (Friday). Of course, you can’t beat a free* outdoor show by living legend Elvis Costello – but I have to admit to having a morbid curiosity to see what kind of spectacle Bret Michaels (of Poison and “Rock of Love” fame) will put on.
For the truly curious, you can win a chance to meet the man himself via an online contest.
But the local acts are just as worth checking out. Though there are the usual State Fair/Taste of Minnesota suspects (The Big Wu, Martin Zellar, Uncle Chunk), be sure to check out local rock ‘n roll supergroup The 757s (Friday, 12:30 p.m., Main Stage), country-rock band Hitchville (Sunday, 2 p.m., August Schell Stage), soul and blues acts Jason Shannon (Sunday, 12:30 p.m., Main Stage), rockin’ reggae band Ipso Facto (Saturday, 2 p.m., August Schell Stage), which has toured with the likes of UB40 and Tracy Chapman, and sweet three-piece sibling act Lynhurst (Friday, 12 p.m., August Schell Stage). Check out the Full Schedule for more.
A lot of people are grumpy about the fact that the Taste isn’t “free” this year, but there is an upside: The ticket price gets you a $10 coupon for food and drink. Aside from the fact that you’re checking out some bands that usually charge top dollar for their shows and catching some of the best 4th of July fireworks in the state (closing out the night each evening at 10 p.m.), I’d call that a pretty good deal.
(Noon-10:40 p.m. Thu.-Sun. Harriet Island, tasteofmn.com)