A&E plans your summer. You’re welcome.

The best events, music, books and ways to party hard this summer.

Heidi ho, vacationers! Finals are winding to a close and soon the friends you made at that sorority formal are back off to their hideaways in rural Wisconsin. Fret not! A&E has put together an agenda to fill up your immense free time this summer. If youâÄôre sporting that full-time internship during the more blessed Minnesota months, weâÄôve got projects to fill up your idle time and parties to hail the coming of each weekend. OUTINGS Water Parks It isnâÄôt necessary to drive all the way out to Wisconsin to find a water park. Spend a few hours soaking up your required Vitamin D at Jim Lupient Water Park on Northeast Johnson Street by the Quarry or sneak into the indoor Depot Water Park on Third Avenue S outh, which features a giant arcade just one room over. Taste of Minnesota Harriet Island, St. Paul July 2 – 5 Free Entrance before 3 p.m . Celebrate everything that makes Minnesota wonderful at this annual festival, which reads much like a classed-up Hennepin/Ramsey co-county fair. Though A&E is hesitant to endorse the opening night band, Staind, former Poison frontman Bret Michaels will be rocking the grandstand on July 5. The fair is chock full of knock-off designer sunglasses, Minnesota-inspired keychains, deep-fried food and even has a few rides if youâÄôve got a strong stomach. âÄúPopâÄù by ARENA Dance Co. The LAB Theater May 14 – 17 $20 Artistic Director Mathew Janczewsk melded the natural rhythms that bodies fall into with the up-tempo electronic DJ Alexander East for a piece that showcases the versatility of dance. âÄúPopâÄù highlights the emotional expression mastered by performers as the dance unfolds. Aquatennial July 17 – 25 As the land of 10,000 lakes, it would seem like a crime to not celebrate our own tagline. The Aquatennial is a yearly chance to sprawl out on Saint Anthony Main , watch fireworks with your summer fling and exalt our foremost natural treasure. Summer Concerts Here are a few highlights for any summer music taste. Hit happy hour and then dance the night away. The Kills: First Ave., May 11 Santigold: First Ave., May 28 Yeah Yeah Yeahs: First Ave., May 30 Carbon Leaf: Varsity, June 9 Metric: First Ave., June 13 No Doubt: Xcel, July 5 Beyonce: Target Center, July 16 The Fray/JackâÄôs Mannequin: Target Center, July 21 Twin Cities Pride Jun. 27 – 28 Oh my gay! Complete with a super-glam pride parade (think fabulous drag queens plus hot, stripping firemen), Pride isnâÄôt just about unending happy hours at Twin Cities gay bars (though admission to the beer garden during the festival is only five bucks). Sign-up has already started for commitment for those unable to legally wed. Admission to the headline concert is $12 in advance. The show features hip-hop singer Kat DeLuna and Mara Levi, a pop singer-songwriter from Washington, D.C . THEME PARTY IDEAS Garden Party Channel Daisy Buchanan and Jay Gatsby with a 1920s garden party. Fix yourself up with some bright blazers and bowties or strings of thick pearls and plaited hair. Scotch on the rocks and pink champagne are most appropriate for a foray into the jazz age. Bonus points if some party members dress like dandies, with monogram-print vests, top hats and shiny wooden canes. The Royal Tenenbaums /Wes Anderson Whether it be Margot with her thick fur coat and overkill eyeliner, Chas and children in Adidas sweatsuits, or Team Zissou, guests can gear up for the most pretentious party of the summer. The theme makes catering that much easier, because very few of the guests will eat solid food. Sexy Misc. Objects Party Why hold party members to a strict theme when everyone just wants an excuse to come skanked out anyway? Invite your friends to come to your house dressed as sexed-up versions of everyday objects. Ideas include a showy set of blinds or an ostentatious maple tree. NOTABLE SUMMER RELEASES Phoenix âÄúWolfgang Amadeus PhoenixâÄù âÄî The best part about Phoenix is that all of the French bandâÄôs dance-pop sounds pretty much exactly the same, but in no way is that depressing. Phoenix will play the Varsity Theater on June 23. Passion Pit âÄúMannersâÄù âÄî A&E loves Passion Pit. And why wouldnâÄôt we? TheyâÄôre synth-y, easily danceable, and produce a cacophony of ridiculously happy songs, like the âÄô70s-meets-âÄô80s âÄúThe ReelingâÄù and frenetic âÄúSleepyhead.âÄù âÄúThe BachelorâÄù Patrick Wolf âÄî Patrick Wolf , musician-slash-model (and not the other way around), plays a multitude of instruments, even the theremin! Will he use it on the forthcoming âÄúThe Bachelor?âÄù ItâÄôs possible. Honorable mentions: âÄúAbnormally Attracted to Sin,âÄù Tori Amos (May 19) âÄúPreliminaires,âÄù Iggy Pop (May 19), âÄúRebirth,âÄù Lil Wayne (June 9), âÄúLines, Vines and Trying Times,âÄù Jonas Brothers (June 16), âÄúFar,âÄù Regina Spektor (June 23). RECOMMENDED READING Put down that paperback copy of âÄúTwilight.âÄù Put it down, we say! ThereâÄôs no use in spending your entire summer reading vapid fiction (though in small doses, itâÄôs kind of great, all vampire-lit aside), so take instead: âÄúSag HarborâÄù by Colson Whitehead âÄî This 1980s-set novel focuses on Benji Cooper, who is 15, a student at an elite private school, and black. Benji leaves Manhattan to spend the summer with his little brother in Long Island, and âÄúSag HarborâÄù tells the story of BenjiâÄôs typical teenager summer: summer jobs and first kisses. Whitehead, a New York-based writer, has been praised highly by both his hometown paper (The New York Times) AND by the late John Updike. âÄúPerfect FifthsâÄù by Megan McCafferty âÄî McCaffertyâÄôs Jessica Darling was a personal heroine, journaling all the same trivial high school woes smart, observant girls had back in ninth grade. Author Megan McCafferty has brought her snarky and relatable narrator back not once, twice, but now five times, due to popular demand. SheâÄôs aged along with her target demographic, now in her mid-20s, and âÄúPerfect FifthsâÄù concludes her romantic entanglements, career woes, and coming-of-age. So what if it might be considered YA (young adult) literature? Emotional ties call for a wrap-up! âÄúPygmyâÄù by Chuck Palahniuk âÄî âÄúPygmyâÄù sets an entirely different tone for your summer reading; in the novel, a group of young terrorists attend American schools posing as foreign exchange students in order to take down the country. The book, PalahniukâÄôs 10th, is written in the voice of one of the students, Pygmy, whose English-learner style grammar is preserved in the prose. STYLE Ladies: Layered tank tops in bright, punchy summery colors sound like a good idea, but once you notice, âÄúOh, hey, IâÄôm wearing six shirts,âÄù perhaps itâÄôs time to take one or two off. Minimalism = so hot right now. Another thing to ex-nay in the summertime are Old NavyâÄôs legendary (and much-beloved to the dorm-shower crowd) $2 flip-flops. The rubbery wonders are all very well and good when a) showering in Territorial or b) showering at Bonnaroo music festival, but letâÄôs leave them there. Especially if they were once white, but have mysteriously turned black. Peasant skirts âÄî why are these still being worn? They hit at mid-calf, never a good angle, and theyâÄôre, well, still a trend best left in 2004, much like gaucho pants. Other summertime blunders: a full face of makeup and the beach, plaid shorts from A&F . Things that never fail when the weather heats up: straw hats, gingham print, breezy sundresses, Essie bright-color nail polishes (the hue âÄúHot ShortsâÄù is particularly effective on tan feet and hands). Guys: Remember, the goal is to channel the late John F. Kennedy ; drop those plaid shorts from Buckle that have been hiding in your closet since last year. This year, try some flat front shorts that fall just on top of the knee. Add a simple, solid colored oxford and some nice loafers or boat-shoes and youâÄôll be strolling on the beach with the Jackie O. of your dreams. When it comes to bathing suits, consider your body type, and please stay away from hibiscus-print board shorts. Longer board shorts are most flattering when youâÄôve got the long torso to balance it out. Obviously, itâÄôs not necessary to blow your summer budget on summer apparel. Make sure to shop the clearance section of the major department stores. If all else fails, remember that most summer apparel goes on final sale the first week of July, so it should be no problem to find the perfect August BBQ outfit. SUMMER PROJECTS As much as we love summer vacation, drinking beer every day and watching âÄúAll My ChildrenâÄù can get old by mid-July. So donâÄôt let your academic excellence stagnate! Take on some projects, like these below: Plant a garden Adopt a highway Write your debut novel Learn to upholster furniture Go to flea markets and farmersâÄô markets Start collecting something, like figurines of the Virgin Mary Volunteer Sell things on eBay Run a lemonade stand on your street