Don’t Miss this Weekend! International Eelpout Festival in Walker MN

eelpout-pregnant

Feb 19, 2015 – Feb 22, 2015

Found in the little northern town of Walker, is an unusual gathering that has been a winter staple for the past 30 years. Leech Lake, Minnesota’s 3rd largest lake, hosts it’s annual EELPOUT FESTIVAL this weekend- an homage to one of the ugliest bottom-dwelling freshwater fish. As any true Minnesotan, thousands of visitors swarm Walker and Leech Lake, in search of a quirky and fun outdoor experience. The opening ceremonies begin Thursday, February 19th at 5:00pm with lighting of the torches in Walker City Park, and will continue until Sunday night! For a one-of-a-kind time, check out the annual International Eelpout Festival this weekend in Walker, Minnesota!

Some of the many events scheduled for the Festival include:

Eelpout Ice Fishing Contest
Official Scale Times
February 20 @ 12:30 pm – 5:00 pm
Weight in @ Walker City Park
Friday 12:30pm-5:00pm
Saturday 9:00am-5:00pm
Sunday 9:00am-10:30am

DJ Dance Party and Karaoke Contest
February 19 @ 7:00 pm – 11:55 pm

Live Music all Festival long at the Chase’s 502 Bar and Restaurant.
Friday- American Bootleg 8pm-12:30am
Saturday- American Bootleg 8pm-12:30am
February 20 @ 10:00 am – February 21 @ 12:00 pm- Urban Myth

Eelpout Fish Fry
February 20 @ 10:00 am – 8:00 pm

Eelpout Curling
February 20 @ 11:00 am – 1:00 pm

 2nd Annual Kids Perch Jerk
February 21 @ 12:00 am – 1:00 pm
Savings Bonds will be awarded to the three biggest perch caught. Holes will be drilled for kids to use. Please bring the poles and bait for them to use. Other small prizes will be giving out also!

EelPout Rugby
February 21 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Bemidji State Rugby team come by and watch and play!

Polar Pout Plunge
February 21 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
In Front of the Chase on the Lake. The Main Event that you do not want to miss. Freeze your butt off for Charity!

Eelpout Derby
February 21 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
In Front of City Park Coors Castle. Race for fastest fish for a chance to win prizes!

Fishing Contest Awards Ceremony
February 22 @ 11:00 am – 11:30 am
At the Walker City Park

For more information, email: info@eelpoutfestival.com

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St. Paul Winter Carnival: Don’t Miss the LAST week!

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January 22nd- February 1st 2015

With parades, scavenger hunts, sledding, Beer Dabblers, scantily clad cat shows, and races for people and snow plows alike- there is something for everyone at St. Paul’s Winter Carnival! Oh yeah, not to mention the towering man-made ice castle, an event that goes back to 1885!

This weekend is your last chance to get in on the action. Listed below are just a few of the festival’s events for the remaining 6 days:

  • RICE PARK STAGE SHOWS

Where: Rice Park     109 4th Street W, Saint Paul, MN     Phone: 651-223-7400

Friday Jan 30, 2014

6:30 pm – 7:30 pm Ben Rogue

8:00 pm – 10:00 pm Devon Worley

Saturday Jan 31, 2015

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Rachel Schroeder

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Sleigh Belle Dancers

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm Priya Vedula

3:30 pm – 4:00 pm Pie Eating Contest

4:00 pm – 5:30 pm Grateful Red

5:30 pm – 7:30 pm PARADE and Overthrow

8:00 pm – 9:30 pm Verretta

  • LIVE MUSIC AND YOGA AT THE LANDMARK

Where: Landmark Center Cortile     75 W 5th St, St Paul, MN 55102

When: Wednesday January 28th 12:00-1:00pm

Nona Marie Invie is a current member of the chamber folk sextet Dark, Dark, Dark, and has recently experimented with fusing her music with mind-body movement work (an idea growing out of her participation in St. Paul’s Yoga Rocks the Park). In January, Nona and fellow band member Fletcher Barnhill will collaborate with yoga teacher Alyssa Hill to bring live music and yoga to the Landmark Center’s Cortile. In addition to connecting the two worlds of music and movement, it will also be an open invitation to the people of St. Paul to stretch themselves over their lunch hour. Bring your yoga mat!

  • FREEZE YOUR BAGS OFF TOURNAMENT

Where: Rice Park

109 4th Street W, Saint Paul, MN

When: Saturday, January 31st  12:00 pm2:00 pm

Take part in the inaugural Frozen Bean Bag Tournament.  This is an 8-team bean bag tournament that takes place on 4th Street near the James. J. Hill Library in Rice Park.  It is outside so come prepared!

The cost is $25.oo per team.  Entry fee includes entrance into the tournament; 2 drink tickets (one for each member of the team) for the ice bar (non-alcoholic options available for participants under 21) and prizes for winning teams.

The tournament will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis. Must be registered for the event.

There is way too much fun to list here, so check out this link for more information, and come on down to St. Paul for the last week of our Winter Carnival! https://www.wintercarnival.com/

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If it’s the Holidays, it must be lutefisk time!

pic of lutifisk (Small)It is the holiday season and many Minnesotans will eat lutefisk. It is one on our most infamous foods – dried cod that has been reconstitute in a bath of water and food-grade lye. It doesn’t have much of a taste and looks like a serving of gelatinous goo. But for thousands of us, it is a celebration of the tradition and heritage.

Where do Minnesotans eat it? They eat lutefisk dinners in church basements, restaurants and VFW posts across the state. Many families cherish a tradition of serving it every Christmas, along with Swedish meatballs.

The tradition of lutefisk started in Norway several hundred years ago as a way to preserve all of the cod that was caught in the spring. Folklore says it was the food of the Vikings, but lutefisk experts don’t know for sure. In the 1800’s, Minnesota Scandinavian ancestors brought the food to the Upper Midwest.

The largest producer of lutefisk in the country is right here – the Olsen Fish Company in North Minneapolis. All of their dried fish comes from Norway. The company reconstitutes it back to its original form in the plant. This process takes two weeks and involves soaking it in water and food-grade lye, or sodium hydroxide. The chemicals are used to “fluff” the fish up and to help preserve it. In 2012, they sold 450,000 pounds.

Does everyone like it? Many Minnesotans have never tried the stuff because of the look or the smell. Andrew Zimmern, of the Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods, said it is one of the worst foods in the world and he eats anything!

So maybe if you haven’t tried the Minnesota tradition of lutefisk yet, this will be the year to do it!

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Minnesota Hot Dishes

Fall is here and Minnesota natives love to make and serve hearty hot dishes for their families and friends.

tater-tot-hot-dish-11 (Small) (Small)Hot dish is a casserole which typically contains a starch, a meat and a canned and/or frozen vegetable, mixed with canned soup. The hot dish is cooked in an oven and served hot in a single baking dish and commonly appears not only at family dinner tables as the main course, but at communal gatherings such as family reunions, potlucks and church suppers or funerals. When served at gatherings, they are served with potato salad, coleslaw, Jell-O salads and pan-baked desserts known as bars.

The history of the hot dish goes back to when “budget-minded farm wives needed to feed their own families, as well as congregations in the basements of the first Minnesota churches.”[1] The most typical meat for a hot dish is ground beef, and cream of mushroom remains the favorite canned soup. Pasta is the most frequently used starch, but tater tots and wild rice are very popular also.

Just how popular is the “hot dish”? It frequently appears, along with other unique Minnesotan dishes such as lutefisk, in the radio program A Prairie Home Companion and is also described in Howard Mohr’s book How to Talk Minnesotan. It is an integral element of the book Hot dish to Die For, a collection of six culinary mystery short stories in which the weapon of choice is hot dish written by Pat Dennis. Minnesota public television station, KSMQ in Austin, Minnesota, produced a 2012 documentary video entitled “Minnesota Hot dish”[2] providing a historical and humorous look at the popular dish. Hot dish is so popular Senator Al Franken holds a hot dish competition for the Minnesota congressional delegation! This year’s winner was Rep. Tim Walz for his “Turkey Trot Tater-Tot Hot dish”!

[1] Harron, Hallie. (February 1996), Vegetarian Times

[2] “Minnesota Hot dish: The Documentary,” MinnPost.com, Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 11, 2103

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When is the best time to buy or sell a house in Minnesota?

blog man (Small)I hear this question a lot: What is the best time to sell my home or to buy a different one? Let’s take a look at the retail world of clothing. Consumers get the best deal on summer clothes after July 4th or later, just as they get the best deal on winter clothes at the end of winter. So does this trend hold true for the purchase and sale of homes? Not really. There are some considerations a buyer or seller should think about that could have an impact on the transaction.

What time of the year is a better time for buyers to buy?

First off, you can’t ever time a home purchase. It is not like going out to buy a car or a cell phone. Buying a home is a journey done in your own time and after you have done the research, looked at homes and have your finances in order. At any time there are buyers coming into the market and there are other buyers who have done their research and are serious buyers. No one gets to control this ever changing flow. What is important to remember is that the inventory of homes fluctuates by the season. In spring (March-May in Minnesota), there is an increase of homes on the market and more homes means more options for buyers. It also means more buyers are looking, which means more competition to get that perfect home. While there are fewer homes listed from October-December, buyers may find the best buys during those slower selling months of the year.

When should sellers sell then?

Conventional sellers most likely would not list their home before the holidays or in the dead of winter for obvious reasons (snow and cold….brrrr). But serious buyers really don’t care about the season or timing. They are motivated when they are ready to buy. After the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s festivities are done, buyers start to think about resuming their home search or entering the marketplace as a new buyer. So what are the pros and cons to listing then? Listing January-June/July, sellers will have more competition, however there will be more buyers in the marketplace looking for homes then. If you list in the “off season” (August-December), you may be ahead because there will still be serious buyers out there and they will have fewer homes to choose from.

So as buyers and sellers strategize about when is the “BEST” time, the reality is – it is never easy, and it truly depends on your situation, what you have to buy or sell, and the market in general. Major retailers like Target can control inventory and monitor competitive activity. In real estate, there is not one buyer or seller – they are all unrelated and disconnected and there are all types of homes at all price ranges making it nearly impossible to pick the “perfect” time to buy or sell. I would be happy to help you figure out what time of the year is best for you to start your home search or put your home on the market.

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Minnesota State Parks and Trails will keep you current with Minnesota’s fall colors!

fall leaf (Small)Minnesota’s wet early summer should produce a colorful fall leaf display, but experts warn that it could come and go faster than usual. Patricia Arndt of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ Park and Trails Division, says the fall color display will move across the state quickly. If you enjoy viewing the color or walking the trails at any of our state parks – don’t miss the wonderful fall scenery.

Colors typically peak mid-September to early October in the northern third of Minnesota, late September to early October in the central third and late September to mid-October in the southern third. Peak fall color typically lasts about two weeks, but that can vary widely, depending on location, elevation and weather.

The DNR has an online fall color finder map (http://www.mndnr.gov/fallcolor) that can help you find the best shows. The site is updated each Thursday with the latest fall color information.

To get into state parks and recreation areas, a $5 day permit is needed, or an annual $25 permit is accepted.

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Twin Cities Life is Healthy!

vegetable standTime and time again the Twin Cities are nominated as a top place to live and to be healthy. The Travel Channel has chosen the Twin Cities as the healthiest place to live in or travel to in the US.

Why were we chosen?

  • We are in the Midwest where farming is big but unless you actually get the fresh produce, what good does it do you? The Twin Cities has farmer’s markets all over the place, from the big Minneapolis Farmer’s Market to the Mill City Farmer’s Market to local markets in the suburbs, to markets in store parking lots. Click here to find a Farmer’s Market near you!
  • We have biking and walking trails that are used year round! We are the top biking city in the US according to Bicycling magazine and more people are biking to work during all seasons.
  • Minnesota has golf courses galore. People are out on the links at all ages and as often as they can.
  • We have playgrounds and parks in just about every neighborhood and the kids are actually out there using them.
  • Activities are planned indoors and outdoors all year to keep us residents out and about in any weather.

We like to eat healthy and we play a lot. We get out and enjoy nature all year long and all that contributes to us staying healthy!

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