Do I bring my mask? Twin Cities summer events are back, but what exactly will they be like?

A&E’s rundown of a handful of local summer highlights and what their requirements and COVID-19 restrictions will be.

by Frankie Carlson

After a year and a half of masks and social distancing, in person events are back on. Here is a run down of local summer happenings and how they will be different for the summer of 2021.

Juneteenth Celebrations: (June 13 – 19)

Juneteenth celebrations are on for the summer of 2021. From the 13 through the 19 of June, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board will be hosting several events leading up to and on Juneteenth, all of which will enforce minimal restrictions related to COVID-19. The schedule of events is set to include literature readings, drive-in movie screenings and virtual community panel discussions, as well as live music and kite-flying in Bethune Park.

Pride: (Lead up events: June 9 – 27 — Pride Festival: July 17 – 18)

It is truly not a summer in the Twin Cities without Pride, and after an unspeakably difficult year the celebration is back on. The Grand Marshal MASKqueerade Party event will be held at two locations for smaller gatherings, and the Rainbow Run 5k will go off in groups of 250 at 9 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 10 a.m., etc. for spacing of runners. For the Pride Festival itself, booths have been removed along the lake side of Loring Park to ease congestion.

Stone Arch Bridge Festival: (June 19 – 20)

The yearly art and music gathering on and beside the historic Stone Arch Bridge will be going forward for 2021 with minor changes to the usual arrangements. With live music, a culinary arts market and a local car show, there is something for everyone. Artists’ tents will be spread out — offering a good amount of space between each tent — and all of the large music events have been scaled back. While the event typically features several stages with a full lineup of performances stretching into the evening, this year there will be two stages featuring primarily acoustic sets of one or two performers.

Loring Park Art Festival: (July 31 – Aug. 1)

Mark your calendars for the weekend of July 31: The annual community arts festival and market is back in full swing. A bustling art celebration across from the Walker, this event will once again be bringing local art, delicious food and a fun loving atmosphere to the Loring Park neighborhood. There will be hand sanitizers throughout the park and there will be limited entertainment and activities to eliminate gathering points.

“The safety of our guests, artists and partners is paramount,” said Pat Parnow, director of the event. “We are working closely within the guidelines set forth by the CDC and the State of Minnesota, and we have been strategizing and sharing best practices with art festival directors locally and nationally for many months.”

Uptown Art Fair: (Aug. 6 – 8)

Come August, the streets of Uptown will be bustling with artists and art lovers once again. As the second most attended event in Minnesota, this event will be packed with folks selling and purchasing visual art of all kinds. The executive director of the Uptown Art Fair, Jill Osiecki, commented on the uphill climb to put on this event after having only recently been given the green light by the state.

“The real challenging thing is that we’re planning an event, essentially in two months, that normally takes us a full year,” Osiecki said. “The fair impacts so many different people, not only 300 plus artists, but also our community. We feel it’s super important to make it happen.”

Minnesota Renaissance Festival: (Weekends Aug. 21 – Oct. 3)

Granted the current condition of the pandemic continues to improve as expected, organizers at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival will once again open doors to their fantasy kingdom in Shakopee, Minnesota. The director of marketing and events at Mid-America Festivals, Stephanie Whipps, shared how the organizers are still unsure what restrictions will look like for what will be the festival’s 50th anniversary summer.

“We are hopeful to have a normal renaissance festival experience, but will do whatever we have to do. If we have to operate with some restrictions, then we will,” Whipps said.

Rock the Garden: (Canceled)

Unfortunately, this cherished Twin Cities music festival will not be taking place this summer. Due to the difficulties of scheduling during the pandemic, it will likely be another year before music lovers can once again gather on the Walker Art Center grounds for a day of loud music and high spirits.

Minnesota State Fair: (Aug. 26 – Sept. 6)

Whether your fix is a bucket of Sweet Martha’s cookies, a ride on the giant slide or wandering into random RVs you could never afford, the great Minnesota get-together is coming back with all of the foods and events you’ve been missing. At this time, the State Fair does not anticipate daily attendance limits and masks will not be required for fair guests; however, organizers are strongly encouraging the use of masks for those not fully vaccinated, the Minnesota State Fair announced. Additional announcements regarding the 2021 Minnesota State Fair, including the free entertainment lineup, new foods, full Grandstand lineup and more will be released in the coming weeks.