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20 events to welcome the sun this May

The beginning of May brings farmers markets, flower shows and the start of outdoor concert season.
Image by Mary Ellen Ritter

Aah, May. Will spring finally show itself? Who knows. It’s uncertain, but these events are a sure thing (probably). As the wait for a crumb of warm weather continues, hopefully these activities will encourage sunshine.

Many venues in the Twin Cities require proof of full vaccination or a negative test within three days of show dates. Events allow all ages unless otherwise noted.

1. May Markets at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
What’s better than a bit of shopping after a jaunt through some flower fields? Visit the arboretum this month to gaze at budding blooms, then stop by the market to peruse 60+ vendors’ wares. Tickets free for members, $15 for general public over the age of 16 at the entry gate. Nearly every weekend in May: April 30 & May 1, May 14-15, May 21-22, May 28-29

2. MSP International Film Festival at the Main
MSP Film Society’s movie-going extravaganza will be held in-person this year at the newly renovated St. Anthony Main Theatre (name change incoming) and will show more than 200 films from all over the world. Secure a pass for near-unlimited access at the fest or just grab tickets to the ones you’re most interested in. Passes start at $75 for students and $500 for general admission. Individual tickets start at $8 for students and $15 for general admission. May 5-19

3. Scream it Off Screen at the Parkway Theater
The weirdo gong-show short film competition returns this month. Visit the Parkway to vote for your favorite films using humanity’s greatest instrument: an ear-shattering scream. Submissions are currently open! More information here. Tickets start at $10. May 6

4. Friends School Plant Sale at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds
Visit the fairgrounds this Mother’s Day weekend to frolic among the massive selection of plants (and maybe pick up a gift or two). What’s more spring-y than that?
Free to attend. More information here. May 6-8

5. Ebb and Flow at St. Paul Student Center’s Larson Gallery
Multimedia artists Cheryl LeClair-Sommer and Michelle Wegler attempt to capture Minnesota’s ever-changing watery landscapes in this exhibit, coupled with poetry and prose written while painting en plein air, or outside. There will be a reception held May 12. Free. May 6 – June 17.

6. NE Neighborhood’s Makers Market & Bar Hop
Sip and shop at this charming little pop-up featuring more than 60 local artisans and vendors. Barhop locations include Indeed Brewing Co., Able Seedhouse + Brewery, 612Brew and Tattersall Distilling. Free to attend. May 7

7. Son Lux at Fine Line
If you’re in the mood for some ethereal instrumentals and experimental indie electronica, Son Lux has the right stuff. The trio, made up of Rafiq Bhatia, Ian Chang, and Ryan Lott, will be touring “Tomorrows,” their latest album (released in several parts), supported by composer slash vocalist Emily Wells. Tickets start at $22. 18-plus. May 7

8. mxmtoon at the Varsity Theater
Of early pandemic TikTok virality, mxmtoon (known to fans as just Maia) rose to fame with songs she wrote and produced in her parent’s guest bedroom, like “prom dress” and “mona lisa.” Chloe Moriondo, Detroit-born bedroom pop singer-songwriter, will be joining her on “rising (the tour).” Tickets start at $27. May 8

9. Old St. Anthony Mother’s Day Market at the Machine Shop
Take mom (or yourself!) out for a day of cocktails, trinket shopping and crafty goods. As the event page says, “It’s never too early for Mother’s Day shopping.” Free admission but registration is required. May 8

10. Salsa Sundays at Midtown Global Market
Join Salsa instructor René Thompson every other Sunday this month and next for free lessons, and wander the market for good eats. Free. May 8, May 22

11. Jesse McCartney at the Fillmore
Relive your adolescent dreams at the early 2000s pop icon’s show this month. The beautiful soul will be performing some hits from the early aughts along with recent works on his “‘New Stage’ Tour 2022.” This show was originally scheduled for November of 2021. Tickets start at $30. May 9

12. Black Fashion Week MN
Join Minnesota’s Black designers for a visual feast for a week of six shows (one each day). Festivities commence with Design of the Times at Paisley Park’s Soundstage, including live music and a Q&A with guest designer Debbie McGuan. Other shows include Fashion on the Rooftop at MAAHMG and Black Girl Magic at the W Minneapolis, among others. Ticket prices vary. More information here. May 11-20

13. Steve Martin and Martin Short: You Won’t Believe What They Look Like Today! At the Orpheum Theatre
The two comedy legends will be visiting the Orpheum this month for a night of laughter and absurdity accompanied by “very special guests” Jeff Babko and the Steep Canyon Rangers. Tickets start at $99. May 13

14. St. Paul Art Crawl at Union Depot
Peruse the work of 30 local painters, jewelry artisans and multimedia artists at Union Depot in the Head House. Free to attend. May 13-15

15. Oh Wonder at First Avenue
The English alt-pop duo (Josephine Vander Gucht and Anthony West), self-named the U.K.’s best kept secret, will be touring their latest set of albums: “22 Make” and “22 Break.” Tickets start at $35. May 18

16. Moulin Rouge! The Musical at the Orpheum
Glamor and glitter will abound in this updated rendition of the 2001 movie-musical directed by Baz Luhrmann. This performance was directed by Tony Award-nominee Alex Timbers, Justin Levine handled orchestration and Emmy Award-nominee Sonya Tayeh choreographed. Tickets start at $59. May 18 – June 5

17. Art-A-Whirl 2022
Wander through the studios and galleries of nearly 800 local artists at this year’s arts spectacular. Stops include private studios, galleries, local breweries and businesses. Free and open to the public. More information here. May 20-22

18. Minnesota Qeej Festival at St. Paul Landmark Center
Celebrate Hmong culture at the state’s first Qeej (bamboo pipe instrument) festival. There will be performances by Qeej masters, Qeej-making workshops, Hmong folk art exhibits and Southeast Asian food vendors galore. Free to attend. May 22

19. Bow Wow Film Festival: Short Films for the Love of Dog! at the Parkway
Visit the Parkway for an afternoon of cute and funny dog shorts, and feel good about it! All proceeds go to Wags & Whiskers Animal Rescue of Minnesota. Tickets start at $13 for adults in advance. Family tickets $30. May 22

20. HOMESHAKE at the Cedar Cultural Center
Montreal-based synth pop artist HOMESHAKE (Peter Sagar) will be performing works from “Under the Weather,” his fifth studio album, with support from climate scientist turned musician Salami Rose Joe Louis ( Lindsay Olsen). Tickets start at $22. May 24

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