Explore Downtown: Go Outside with Hennepin County

Downtown Minneapolis is a blast in the summer. You can go down to the Stone Arch Bridge and feel the restorative spray of St. Anthony Falls blowing up at you. You can go see the Twins massacre those other bums (sometimes). You can go on a toot at all the bars and clubs without having to worry about losing your fingertips to frostbite during the long crawl home. It’s a regular estival festival.

The Grandstand at the State Fair

Bob Dylan, Nobel laureate lyricist. Prince, visionary pop sensation. Harold Loeffelmacher, legendary trombonist and leader of the polka band the Six Fat Dutchmen. When it comes to musicians, Minnesota has blessed the world with more than our fair share. That’s why when we hold our annual State Fair, the world owes it to us to send their very best musicians in return. Here are some of the tributes to our greatness we’re hosting at the Grandstand this year.

Game Show Battle Rooms

I’ve always loved game shows, dating all the way back to Nickelodeon’s heyday with Legends of the Hidden Temple and Double Dare. (I even got to go on Wild & Crazy Kids when I was eight. It wasn’t televised, so magazine writing is my late-life grab at a claim to fame.) As I grew older and more sophisticated I fell into classics like Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune, and of course the very cerebral Supermarket Sweep — seeing how much ham and cough syrup you can stuff into a shopping cart in 40 seconds is a thinking man’s game.

Jest Murder Mysteries

Solving a murder mystery in real life is no fun at all. You’ve got to investigate the crime scene, gather clues, interview witnesses, weigh motives, get a warrant, and finally make an arrest. You’re tripped up all along the way by annoying obstacles like habeas corpus, the Fifth Amendment, and relentless dockside shootouts and high-speed car chases through farmers’ markets. On top of all that, even the most meticulous detective risks having all their work undone during trial by some hotshot lawyer in a sharkskin suit.