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Twin Cities Restaurant Room Rental Guide

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Some restaurants listed below advertised with Give Me the Mike to be highlighted in this guide. 

It’s a question I get frequently: ‘Please recommend a restaurant where you can rent a private room. I’m planning a birthday party for a friend.’

I get it. It sure beats out inviting randoms into your house — and then having to clean up after them.

After a while, I thought, ‘Heck, there must be an extensive guide out there listing all these restaurants.’  Well, there are a couple. One, from 2016, is extremely out of date. Many of the restaurants listed have closed. Another one I found is good, but it’s limited.

Wedding planners have their own rental guides, but you don’t need to rent out a 300-person reception hall for your cousin Janet’s 50th birthday. So, I did my research and created this guide.

Happy planning! And if you know of a restaurant not listed, let me know! Reach out to me by filling out this form.

Minneapolis

4 Bells

Seafood Platter (1).jpg
4 Bells, just on the edge of downtown Minneapolis, has incredibly fresh seafood.

1610 Harmon Place, Minneapolis 55403
(612) 904-1163, events@4bells.com
More information

Overlooking Loring Park; the sister restaurant to Butcher & the Boar
Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages
Final bill can be split amongst guests
Valet parking is available ($11, hosted for $13)
Surface pay lot available next door

Venue: Quarters

Quarters Park
There is lots of natural light in the Quarters Dining Room at 4 Bells in Minneapolis.

Private
Capacity (seated): 24
Capacity (cocktail): Not available
Includes access to smart TV
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $1,000

Venue: Roof Top Atrium

4 Bells Roof top.jpg
Roof Top Atrium at 4 Bells.

Private or semi-private
Capacity (seated): 100
Capacity (cocktail): 130
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, private bar, private restrooms, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies depending on night and time of year (ranges from $1,500-9,500)
Additional experiences: includes indoor and outdoor spaces for guests

Venue: Parkside Room, Lounge Room & Hickory Room

4 Bells Hickory Room
Hickory Room at 4 Bells.

Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 40 (Parkside), 30 (Lounge), 14 (Hickory)
Capacity (cocktail): 30 (Lounge)
Handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $750-2,500

508 Bar + Restaurant

508 lower level 2
508 Bar + Restaurant is just one block north of Target Center.

508 North First Avenue, Minneapolis 55403
(612) 339-0036, events@the508mpls.com

Close to Target Center and Target Field
Final bill can be split amongst guests

Venue: Lower Level

508 lower level
The Lower Level at 508 Bar + Restaurant has no rental fee and no food and beverage minimum.

Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 150
Capacity (cocktail): 347
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in music, access to projector, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $0

Venue: Pool Room

508 pool room
The Pool Room is located downstairs at 508 Bar + Restaurant.

Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 40
Capacity (cocktail): 60
Includes access to projector, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $0

Butcher & the Boar

Butcher & the Boar.jpg
The Beer Garden at Butcher & the Boar in Minneapolis.

1121 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis 55403
(612) 338-8888, events@butcherandtheboar.com
More information

Just a couple blocks from Minneapolis’ Theater District
Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages
Final bill can be split amongst guests
Valet parking is available ($11, hosted for $13)

Venue: Boar Room

Boar Room table & bar.jpg
The Boar Room in the basement of Butcher & the Boar in Minneapolis.

Private
Capacity (seated): 32
Capacity (cocktail): 40
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, private restrooms, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $1,500

Venue: Butcher Room
Private
Capacity (seated): 18
Capacity (cocktail): not applicable
Includes access to microphone, access to smart TV, private restrooms, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $1,000

Venue: Beer Garden
Private and semi-private options available
Capacity (seated): 80
Capacity (cocktail): 100
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, private bar, private restrooms, private entrance, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies depending on night and time of year (ranges from $2,500-9,500)

Cafe and Bar Lurcat

Cafe and Bar Lurcat, overlooking Loring Park in Minneapolis.

1624 Harmon Place, Minneapolis 55403
(612) 486-5500, lurcat@damico.com
More information

Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages
Valet parking is available ($13 if hosted, $11 cash)

Venue: Private Dining Room

The Private Dining Room at Lurcat.

Private
Capacity (seated): 55
Capacity (cocktail): 70
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, ability to rent private bar with additional charge, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $1,500 Sunday to Thursday evenings, $6,000 Friday and Saturday evenings — all exclude tax and service charges
Additional experiences: Bose Sound Tower/microphone available for rental; includes access to back patio from June 1st to October 1st for cocktail hour; offers large windows overlooking Loring Park

Venue: Lofted Bar Mezzanine

The semi-private Lofted Mezzanine at Lurcat provides a more intimate setting.

Semi-Private
Capacity (seated): 30
Capacity (cocktail): 30
Includes access to private restrooms
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $500 Sunday to Thursday, $1,000 Friday and Saturday — all exclude tax and service charges
Additional experiences: offers great views of the main bar floor; area for cocktail reception within the space

Venue: Bar Buyout

Planning a big party? Turn Lurcat’s bar into a dance floor!

Private
Capacity (seated): 150-180
Capacity (cocktail): 225
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, private bar, private restrooms, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $500 Monday to Thursday, $2,000 Friday and Saturday, $500 Sunday
Food and beverage minimum: $10,000 Monday, $12,000 Tuesday and Wednesday, $15,000 Thursday, $20,000 Friday and Saturday, $12,000 Sunday — all exclude tax and service charges
Additional experiences: part of the restaurant can turn into a dance floor with room for a band

Erte’ & the Peacock Lounge

323 13th Avenue NE, Minneapolis 55413
More information

Venue: Chef’s Table Private Dining Room
Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 20
Capacity (cocktail): not available
Handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $25 per person, minimum of 12 people

Venue: Erte’ Main Dining Room
Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 100
Capacity (cocktail): not available
Includes access to plug in own music, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies depending on night and time of year

Venue: The Peacock Lounge
Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 54
Capacity (cocktail): not applicable
Includes access to plug in own music, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies depending on night and time of year

FireLake Grill House and Cocktail Bar

PDR(1).jpg
FireLake Grill House and Cocktail Bar inside the Radisson Blu Minneapolis Downtown.

31 South Seventh Street, Minneapolis 55402
(612) 216-3473
More information

Located inside the Radisson Blu Minneapolis Downtown

Venue: Private Dining Room

PDR(2)
Private Dining Room at FireLake.

Private
Capacity (seated): 40
Capacity (cocktail): 60
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $600-2,000

Venue: Half Private Dining Room
Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 20
Capacity (cocktail): 25
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $300-1,000

Venue: Board Room

Boardroom
Board Room at FireLake Grill House and Cocktail Bar in the Radisson Blu Minneapolis Downtown.

Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 14
Capacity (cocktail): not available
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $200-700

The Freehouse

Freehouse Beer.jpg
Guests at the The Freehouse can go on their own on-site brewery tour.

701 North Washington Avenue, Minneapolis 55401
(612) 339-7011, michelle.dimuzio@blueplateco.com
More information

Part of the Blue Plate Restaurant Company
Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages
Final bill can be invoiced or split amongst guests
Adjacent pay ramp available (Nordic Parking Ramp)
Valet parking is available ($7)

Venue: Volstead Lounge

Volstead Lounge 3.jpg
Volstead Lounge at The Freehouse.

Private, curtains can be drawn closed
Capacity (seated): 50
Capacity (cocktail): 75
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to projector and screen, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies depending on night
Additional experiences: go on an on-site brewery tour or add a beer tasting or cocktail class for your group! The Volstead Lounge also offers beer and wine paired dinners.

Venue: Back Bar Area

Freehouse 3.jpg
The Freehouse in the North Loop neighborhood of Minneapolis.

Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 25
Capacity (cocktail): 40-50
Handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $250 per hour

Gluek’s Bar & Restaurant

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Gluek’s Bar and Restaurant is in the heart of downtown Minneapolis.

16 North Sixth Street, Minneapolis 55403
(612) 338-6621, party@glueks.com
More information

Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages
Final bill can be invoiced or split amongst guests

Venue: Banquet Room

_DSC3912.jpg
The Banquet Room at Gluek’s has no rental fee.

Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 60
Capacity (cocktail): 60+
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies depending on night
Additional experiences: includes access to Beer Garden  

Hell’s Kitchen

hells kitchen.jpg
Hell’s Kitchen is centrally located downtown Minneapolis, within walking distance to downtown hotels, U.S. Bank Stadium, Target Center and the Convention Center.

80 South Ninth Street, Minneapolis 55402
(612) 238-1427, events@hellskitcheninc.com 
More information

Venue: Hell’s Kitchen Underground Room

Underground 2up_
The Underground Room at Hell’s Kitchen comes with a full stage, a 12-foot projector screen, and no rental fee.

Private or semi-private
Capacity (seated): 160
Capacity (cocktail): 325
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies
Additional experiences: full stage; 12 foot projector screen; professional sound system, unique Hell’s Kitchen photo booth offers guests fun keepsakes from their visit; attached parking ramp which goes into lobby; connected to Minneapolis skyway system

Venue: Hell’s Kitchen Minnesota Room

MNRoom 2up_
The Minnesota Room at Hell’s Kitchen in downtown Minneapolis.

Private or semi-private
Capacity (seated): 135
Capacity (cocktail): 200
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies
Additional experiences: attached parking ramp which goes into lobby; connected to Minneapolis skyway system

Venue: Hell’s Kitchen Far Side Pub

Far Side Pub2up_
Hell’s Kitchen is connected to the Minneapolis skyway system and the restaurant has a parking ramp attached to its lobby.

Private or semi-private
Capacity (seated): 50
Capacity (cocktail): 60
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies
Additional experiences: attached parking ramp which goes into lobby; connected to Minneapolis skyway system

Venue: Hell’s Kitchen Full Restaurant Buyout
Private
Capacity (seated): 345
Capacity (cocktail): 425
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies
Additional experiences: 2 full bars; private restrooms; 12 foot projector screen, professional sound system, unique Hell’s Kitchen photo booth offers guests fun keepsakes from their visit, attached parking ramp which goes into lobby, connected to Minneapolis skyway system

Masu Sushi & Robata

The Nomu Room Bar and Private Dining 2
Masu Sushi & Robata’s location in Northeast Minneapolis has a private room with no rental fee.

330 East Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis 55414
(612) 332-6278, info@masusushiandrobata.com

Located in the heart of Northeast Minneapolis
Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages (with two weeks notice)
Final bill can be split amongst guests

Venue: Nomu Room

The Nomu Room Private Dining.jpg
The Nomu Room at Masu Sushi & Robata in Northeast Minneapolis has its own bar and private restrooms.

Private
Capacity (seated): 40
Capacity (cocktail): 40
Includes access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, private restrooms, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $1,200

Saint Paul

DeGidio’s Restaurant & Bar

DeGidios 2.jpg
DeGidio’s is located along West 7th in Saint Paul, not far from downtown, but quite accessible for guests.

425 Seventh Street West, Saint Paul 55102
(651) 291-7105, info@degidios.com
More information

Final bill can be split amongst guests
Complimentary on-site parking available
Valet parking is available (for events and after 5:00 p.m. Friday & Saturday nights October – March)

Venue: DeGidio Event Venue

DeGidios 3
The Event Venue at DeGidio’s and seat up to 160 people and does not have a rental fee.

Private
Capacity (seated): 40 to 160
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0 (deposit of $100 required for Sunday – Thursday nights and $500 for Friday – Saturday nights)
Food and beverage minimum: There is a $22 food minimum per adult in the DeGidio Event Venue. Beverages do no count toward the minimum. There is a $1,000 food minimum for events with less than 45 guests on Friday and Saturday evenings. There is a $750 food minimum Sunday – Thursday evenings for events with less than 35 guests. Children under 10 are half price.

Holman’s Table

Holmans Table 1
Holman’s Table is dinner and a show. Diners get a view of the tarmac of airplanes taking off at the Saint Paul Downtown Airport.

644 Bayfield Street, Saint Paul 55107
(612) 800-5298, contact@holmanstable.com
More information

View of the Holman Field tarmac
Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages
Final bill can be invoiced and split amongst guests (based on event)
Valet parking available for hire

Venue: Earhart Room
Private
Capacity (seated): 80
Capacity (cocktail): 100
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in music, access to smart TV, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $20 – 100 depending on day, time and capacity
Food and beverage minimum: $200 – 3200 depending on day, time and capacity

Venue: Airfield Room
Private
Capacity (seated): 50
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in music, access to smart TV, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $20 – 100 depending on day, time and capacity
Food and beverage minimum: $200 – 3200 depending on day, time and capacity

Venue: River Room
Private
Capacity (seated): 30
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in music, access to smart TV, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $20 – 100 depending on day, time and capacity
Food and beverage minimum: $200 – 3200 depending on day, time and capacity

Venue: Boardroom
Private
Capacity (seated): 12
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in music, access to smart TV, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $20 – 100 depending on day, time and capacity
Food and beverage minimum: $200 – 3200 depending on day, time and capacity

Bloomington

FireLake Grill House and Cocktail Bar

FireLake Private Dining Room 2.jpg
FireLake Grill House and Cocktail Bar inside Radisson Blu Mall of America.

2100 Killebrew Drive, Bloomington 55425
(952) 851-4040, reservationsmoa@firelakerestaurant.com

Inside the Radisson Blu Mall of America; connected to the Mall by skyway
Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages
Final bill can be split amongst guests up to 5 ways
On-site parking is available ($17)
Additional on-site parking is available in the Mall of America ramps
Valet parking is available ($12 event parking, $25 overnight parking)

Venue: Dining Room

FireLake Private Dining Room 1.jpeg
The Semi-Private Dining Room at FireLake Grill House and Cocktail Bar at the Radisson Blu Mall of America.

Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 60
Capacity (cocktail): 75
Includes access to smart TV (additional fee), private bar (additional fee), handicap accessible
Rental fee: $50
Food and beverage minimum: Varies

Venue: Lounge

FireLake Cocktail Bar Pool Tables.jpg
Guests in The Lounge at FireLake can enjoy a game of pool.

Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 46
Capacity (cocktail): 100
Includes access to smart TV (additional fee), private bar (additional fee), handicap accessible
Rental fee: $50
Food and beverage minimum: Varies
Additional experiences: includes 2 pool tables

Lela Restaurant

Lela PDR
The Private Dining Room at Lela Restaurant in Bloomington.

5601 West 78th Street, Bloomington 55439
(952) 656-5980, events@lelarestaurant.com
More information

Attached to the Sheraton Bloomington Hotel
Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages
Final bill can be invoiced or split amongst guests

Complimentary on-site parking available

Venue: Lela Private Dining Room
Private
Capacity (seated): 36
Capacity (cocktail): 20-40
Includes access to smart TV,  handicap accessible
Rental fee: varies
Food and beverage minimum: varies

Venue: Lela Lounge

Lela Lounge
The Lela Lounge gives you access to happy hour prices.

Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 58
Capacity (cocktail): not available
Includes access to microphone, access to smart TV, handicap accessible
Rental fee: varies
Food and beverage minimum: varies
Additional experiences: happy hour menu available in this space

Venue: Lela Wine Room

Lela Wine Room
The Wine Room at Lela Restaurant in Bloomington.

Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 10
Capacity (cocktail): not available
Includes access to smart TV, handicap accessible
Rental fee: varies
Food and beverage minimum: varies

Venue: Restaurant Buyout

lela buyout

Capacity (seated): 175
Capacity (cocktail): 225
Includes access to microphone, access to smart TV, private restrooms, handicap accessible
Rental fee: varies
Food and beverage minimum: varies

Chanhassen

Chanhassen Dinner Theatres

Chanhassen Fireside.jpeg
Whether your group has 4 people or 300, the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres has a venue to accommodate you.

501 West 78th Street, Chanhassen 55317
(952) 934-1524, randerson@chanhassendt.com
More information

The Chanhassen Dinner Theatres isn’t just for date nights and wedding receptions!
Final bill can be invoiced or split amongst guests
Complimentary on-site parking available
Discounts or packages for groups of 12 or more may be available for performances in the Main Dinner Theatre, Stevie Ray’s Comedy Cabaret, and the Fireside Theatre Concert Series. Call (952) 934-1547 for details.

Venue: The Club

Club1.jpg
The Club at the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres.

Private
Capacity (seated): 175
Capacity (cocktail): 225
Includes access to microphone, access to smart TV (additional fee), private bar, handicap accessible, private entrance
Rental fee: varies
Food and beverage minimum: varies

Venue: Garden, Jonathan and Carver Rooms

Ballroom1.jpg
From 50 to 300 people, the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres can accommodate groups of all sizes!

Private
Capacity (seated): 250 — the rooms can be divided and closed off for smaller parties (as few as 50)
Capacity (cocktail): 300
Includes access to microphone, access to smart TV (additional fee), private bar, handicap accessible (note: dancing area is not handicap accessible)
Rental fee: varies
Food and beverage minimum: varies

Venue: Director’s Suites — available for Main Stage shows at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres

Private
Capacity (seated): 4 or 33 (two Suites available)
Capacity (cocktail): 33
Includes access to smart TV (additional fee), private bar (additional fee)
Rental fee: guests must purchase dinner and show tickets
Food and beverage minimum: a minimum of 20 people for larger space

Edina

Tavern on France

TavernOnFrance_FrontDoor.jpg
Tavern on France in Edina.

6740 France Avenue S, Edina, MN 55435
(952) 358-6100
More information

Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages
Final bill can be invoiced or split amongst guests
Complimentary on-site parking available

Venue at Tavern on France

Edina_Interior_PrivateDining_3.jpg
The semi-private space at Tavern on France in Edina has no rental fee and only a $500 minimum Mondays thru Thursdays.

Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 55
Capacity (cocktail): 55
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV (no sound), handicap accessible
Complimentary black or white linens, gift/check-in table available
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $500 Monday – Thursday, $1200 Friday – Saturday

Maple Grove

Lookout Bar and Grill

Banquet room
The Lookout Bar and Grill in Maple Grove.

8672 Pineview Lane, Maple Grove 55369
(763) 424-4365
More information

Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages
Final bill can be invoiced or split amongst guests
Complimentary on-site parking available

Venue: Patioview and Fireside Rooms

patioview 3
The Fireside Room at the Lookout Bar and Grill.

Private
Capacity (seated): 60 (if booked together)
Capacity (cocktail): 70 (if booked together)
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies
Additional experiences: Patioview comes with a private patio space

Minnetonka

Spasso

SpassoExterior.jpg
Spasso in Minnetonka.

17523 Minnetonka Boulevard, Minnetonka 55345
(952) 224-9555, customerservice@spassomn.com
More information

Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages
Final bill can be invoiced or split amongst guests
Complimentary on-site parking available

Venue: Spasso Private Dining Room

SpassoPDR4
Food and beverage minimums at Spasso in Minnetonka start at $250.

Private
Capacity (seated): 56
Capacity (cocktail): 85
Includes access to plug in own music, includes access to smart TV,  handicap accessible, dimmable lighting
Rental fee: a 5% event fee is added on to the final bill in lieu of a rental fee
Food and beverage minimum: lunch event: $250; Sunday-Monday evenings $250, Tuesday-Wednesday evenings $450, Thursday evening $650, Friday-Saturday evenings $850

Saint Louis Park

Park Tavern

Park Tavern.jpg
Throw a bowling party at the Park Tavern in Saint Louis Park.

3401 Louisiana Avenue South, Saint Louis Park 55426
(952) 929-6810, reservations@parktavern.net
More information

Final bill can be invoiced or split amongst guests
Complimentary on-site parking available

Venue: Atrium

Park Tavern Atrium
The Atrium inside Park Tavern.

Private
Capacity (seated): 36
Capacity (cocktail): not applicable
Includes access to smart TV, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $0

Venue: Party Room

Park Tavern Party Room
There is no food and beverage minimum for the Party Room at the Park Tavern.

Private
Capacity (seated): 40
Capacity (cocktail): not applicable
Includes access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $0

Venue: Bowling Lanes

Semi-private or private
Capacity (seated): 200
Capacity (cocktail): not applicable
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, private bar, handicap accessible, private entrance
Rental fee: No flat fee — determined by when event is held
Food and beverage minimum: No flat fee — determined by when event is held
Additional experiences: 20 bowling lanes; 3 buffet areas; children’s arcade; smoking patio

Venue: 11th Frame

Park Tavern 11th Frame
Rent out the entire 11th Frame, which can turn into a private bar for your group.

Semi-private or private
Capacity (seated): 100
Capacity (cocktail): not applicable
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: No flat fee — determined by when event is held
Food and beverage minimum: No flat fee — determined by when event is held
Additional experiences: space includes 13 TVs, 4 pool tables, 5 dart boards, Big Buck Hunter video game, Golden Tee video game, Skee Ball machine, TouchTunes juke box, seasonal outdoor patio with additional 120 seats available

Wayzata

6Smith

294 Grove Lane North, Wayzata 55391
(952) 698-7900, party@6smith.com
More information

Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages
Final bill can be invoiced or split amongst guests
Complimentary on-site parking available
Valet parking is available ($8)

Venue: Revel Room

Revel+Room.jpg
The Revel Room at 6Smith includes panoramic views of Lake Minnetonka and a private patio.

Private or semi-private
Capacity (seated): up to 50
Capacity (cocktail): 50
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, private bar upon request, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies depending on time, day of week and time of year (ranges from $1,250-3,000)
Additional experiences: includes panoramic views of Lake Minnetonka, private patio space

Venue: Knotty Room

Knotty+Room.JPG
The Knotty Room at 6Smith in Wayzata.

Semi-private
Capacity (seated): up to 14
Capacity (cocktail): 25
Includes access to microphone, access to smart TV, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies depending on time, day of week and time of year (ranges from $500-1,250)

Venue: Revel & Knotty Rooms 

6Smith+Revel+Knotty.JPG
Combine the Revel & Knotty Rooms at 6Smith for additional space.

Private or semi-private
Capacity (seated): up to 86
Capacity (cocktail): 100
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, private bar upon request, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies depending on time, day of week and time of year (ranges from $2,000-4,200)
Additional experiences: includes panoramic views of Lake Minnetonka, private patio space

Venue: The Tavern

Semi-private
Capacity (seated): up to 64
Capacity (cocktail): 50
Includes access to smart TV, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies depending on time, day of week and time of year (ranges from $1,000-5,000)
Additional experiences: includes panoramic views of Lake Minnetonka

Woodbury

Angelina’s Kitchen

Angelinas 1.jpg
Angelina’s Kitchen in Woodbury.

2170 Eagle Creek Lane, Suite H, Woodbury 55129
(651) 998-0474, angela@angelinaskitchen.com
More information

Final bill can be split amongst guests
Complimentary on-site parking available
Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages

Venue: Tuscany Room

Angelinas 2
The Tuscany Room at Angelina’s Kitchen has no rental fee.

Semi-private or private
Capacity (seated): 70
Capacity (cocktail): 100
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart Apple TV, access to private restrooms, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0, a service fee of $30 per hour per staff member will be charged; staff count will be determined by guest count, menu and service style
Food and beverage minimum: private events: $1,500 Monday – Thursday, $2,000 Friday – Saturday; $0 for semi-private

With the crowdsourced list of restaurants below, it’s recommended you visit their websites to ensure they offer the private dining options you need. 

Minneapolis

Saint Paul

Arden Hills

Apple Valley

Blaine

Bloomington

Brooklyn Center

Brooklyn Park

Burnsville

Champlin

Chanhassen

Coon Rapids

Eagan

Eden Prairie

Edina

Excelsior

Golden Valley

Hastings

Hopkins

Long Lake

Maple Grove

Maplewood

Mendota

Minnetonka

New Hope

Plymouth

Richfield

Rogers

Rosemount

Roseville

Saint Louis Park

Savage

Shakopee

Spring Park

South Saint Paul

Stillwater

Vadnais Heights

Wayzata

Woodbury

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2019 Minnesota Holiday Lights Display Guide

Scroll below for more than 50 MN holiday light shows and displays. All of these holiday light displays are verified for 2019 by the organizers or homeowners — nothing is outdated!

Give Me The Mike’s 2019 holiday lights display guide is presented by Sam’s Christmas Village & Light Tour

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Sam’s Christmas Village & Light Tour is home to more than 4 million Christmas lights! It’s located less than 20 minutes northeast of Stillwater in Somerset, Wisconsin. If you go on a Monday or Tuesday night, you are able to drive-through their display, making it more accessible for those who aren’t able to walk around the half-mile light tour. Between Wednesday and Sunday nights, Sam’s Christmas Village is closed off to vehicles and is a walk-through experience.

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Read more about my visit to Sam’s Christmas Village & Light Tour.

Sam’s Christmas Village & Light Tour
710 Spring Street
Somerset, WI 54025

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  • November 29th, 2019 – January 5th, 2020 (closed December 24th – 25th)
  • Tickets: $10 adults, $5 kids ages 4 – 10, free kids 3 and under
    • $8 for those 65 and older
    • $5 for members of the military (bring your military ID)
  • Parking is $10 Wednesday – Sunday nights
  • 7 nights a week (5:00 – 9:00 pm Monday and Tuesday, 5:00 – 9:00 pm Wednesday – Thursday, 5:00 – 10:00 pm Friday – Saturday, 5:00 – 9:00 pm Sunday)
    • Monday & Tuesday are drive-through only
    • Wednesday – Sunday are walk-through only
  • Supporting the following non-profit organizations: The Pinky Swear Foundation, The Best Christmas Ever, Toys for Tots, and Somerset Community Food Pantry
  • Dogs are allowed!

Submit information about your holiday light display here.


View all of these light displays on an interactive map!

View 2019 Holiday Light Display Guide in a full screen map


Albert Lea

Carter Christmas Lights Show
1905 Brookside Drive
Albert Lea, MN 56007

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The Carter Christmas Lights Show in Albert Lea loops every 10 minutes. Submitted photo.
  • November 23rd – December 31st, 2019
  • 7 nights a week (5:00 – 9:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:00 – 10:00 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • The homeowner asks that you use Bayview Drive for optimal viewing and traffic flow. More information can be found here
  • The 2019 display has 4,000 more lights (38,000 total) and features four jumbo stockings, a mistletoe, along with Santa and his reindeer on the roof
  • Turn your radio to 93.5FM to hear music that goes with the synchronized light display
  • The light show runs every 10 minutes
  • 100% of donations will be donated to JDRF, an organization looking to find a cure for type 1 diabetes

Albertville

Albertville Lights
5669 Large Avenue
Albertville, MN 55301

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Sing, choir of (blow mold) angels! Submitted photo.
  • November 28th, 2019 – January 6th, 2020
  • 7 nights a week (5:00 – 10:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:00 – 12:00 am Friday – Saturday)
  • Stop by to see 20,000 lights and “too many blow mold figurines to count”
  • Weather permitting, see 20 foot tall inflatables, too
  • Turn your radio to 89.1FM to hear synchronized music

Andover

Cairl Family Christmas Lights
2342 145th Avenue Northwest
Andover, MN 55304

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Check out a 20′ tree at this display in Andover. Submitted photo.
  • November 28th, 2019 – January 4th, 2020
  • 7 nights a week from 5:30 – 9:30 pm
  • Includes 54,000 LED and flood lights synchronized to music. Tune in to 99.1FM
  • New this year: a 20 foot pixel mega tree
  • The display raises awareness and money for the 23rd Veteran, a non-profit dedicated to providing happier, healthier lives for veterans living with trauma

Apple Valley

Lights on Flagstaff
13452 Flagstaff Avenue
Apple Valley, MN 55124

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Lights on Flagstaff has over 100 blow mold figurines. Photo credit Lights on Flagstaff/Facebook.
  • November 28th, 2019 – January 1st, 2020
  • 7 nights a week (5:00 – 9:30 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:00 – 10:00 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • The display includes more than 100 figurines on the lawn
  • The owners are using their display to raise awareness for Lyme disease. After being misdiagnosed several times, the owner received a diagnosis about two years ago

Apple Valley

Lights on Guthrie
14440 Lower Guthrie Court
Apple Valley, MN 55124

  • Thru January 5th, 2020
  • 7 nights a week from 5:00 – 10:00 pm
  • Includes 10,000 lights
  • Turn your radio to 91.9FM to hear music synchronized to lights

Apple Valley

Porter’s Holiday Light Show
13596 Hollins Court
Apple Valley, MN 55124

  • November 28th – December 31st, 2019
  • 7 nights at week (5:00 – 9:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:00 – 10:00 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • See more than 20,000 lights and a 20 foot tall mega pixel tree
  • Turn your car radio to 88.9FM to hear 27 songs synchronized to the lights
  • Reminder to avoid blocking driveways and to turn off your car’s lights when you approach the display

Blaine

Durrant Family Lights
1750 130th Avenue Northeast
Blaine, MN 55449

  • November 29th, 2019 – January 1st, 2020
  • 7 nights a week (5:00 – 9:30 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:00 – 10:30 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • Features more than 10,000 lights
  • Tune in to 87.9FM to hear tunes

Bloomington

Dancing Trees
10201 Rich Road
Bloomington, MN 55437

  • November 30th, 2019 – January 5th, 2020
  • 7 nights a week from 5:00 – 9:00 pm
  • Includes 10,000 lights

Chaska

Christmas on Savanna
4441 Savanna Trail
Chaska, MN 55318

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A 20′ nutcracker is a highlight at this holiday display in Chaska. Submitted photo.
  • November 22nd – December 25th, 2019
  • 7 nights a week (6:00 – 9:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:00 – 9:00 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • Display includes 20,000 lights
  • Tune your car radio to 91.1FM to hear music synchronized to lights
  • You won’t be able to miss the 20 foot inflatable nutcracker!

Chaska

Winter Lights at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
3675 Arboretum Drive
Chaska, MN 55318

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Indoor and outdoor light displays await for you at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Submitted photo.
  • Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays November 22nd, 2019 – January 5th, 2020
    • Also open Monday, December 23rd and daily from December 26th, 2019 – January 2nd, 2020
  • 5:00 – 9:00 pm
  • Tickets: $15 for those 16 and older, free for those 15 and under
    • Members of the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum are free
  • Stroll through eight miles of lights
  • Buy a s’mores kit to roast over a roaring fire, warm up with hot cocoa in the Visitor’s Center, and take a photo in front of the Arboretum’s 25 foot poinsettia tree
  • A free shuttle is available on Friday and Saturday nights. Learn more here
  • Parking at the Arboretum is free with admission

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Circle Pines

Barno Family Lights
4102 88th Lane NE
Circle Pines, MN 55014

  • November 29th, 2019 – January 1st, 2020
  • 7 nights a week (6:30 – 10:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, 6:30 – 11:00 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • Includes 30,000 lights
  • Turn your car radio to 106.7FM to hear synchronized music
  • The family is collecting donations for the Ronald McDonald House Charities

Duluth

Bentleyville “Tour of Lights”
Bayfront Festival Park
700 Railroad Street
Duluth, MN 55802

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Bentleyville, located on the shores of Lake Superior, is the country’s largest free walk-through light display. Submitted photo.
  • November 23rd – December 28th, 2019
  • 7 nights a week (5:00 – 9:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:00 – 10:00 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • With 5 million lights, Bentleyville is America’s largest free walk-through lighting display
  • It’s located at Bayfront Festival Park, a 20-acre park located on the shores of Lake Superior
  • Complimentary hot cocoa, cookies, popcorn and roasted marshmallows are provided
  • Get your photo taken with reindeer
  • Kids 10 and under who visit Santa receive a knit hat
  • Bentleyville is an official collection site for the Salvation Army. Bring a non-perishable food item or new, unwrapped toy when you visit. Donations are distributed to Salvation Army Corps in Duluth, Cloquet, Virginia, Grand Rapids, Hibbing, International Falls, and Superior, WI

Duluth

Exhibition Drive Holiday Sound and Light Show
2725 Exhibition Drive
Duluth, MN 55811

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This home has won Duluth’s lighting contest every year since 2013. Submitted photo.
  • December 1st – 31st, 2019
  • 7 nights a week (5:00 – 10:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:00 – 11:00 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • They have won Duluth’s lighting contest every year since 2013
  • Includes 10,000 lights
  • Tune your car radio to 99.9FM as you pull up

Duluth

Spirit of the Lights at Glensheen
3300 London Road
Duluth, MN 55804

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The Spirit of the Lights now has a new home at Glensheen in Duluth. Submitted photo.
  • December 10th – 28th, 2019 (closed December 24th – 25th)
  • 4:00 – 9:00 pm
  • Spirt of the Lights is an outdoor light display that was previously located at Park Point in Duluth. It now has a new home at Glensheen
  • Includes 300,000 lights
  • Admission to the grounds of Glensheen is free

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Eagan

Cinnamon Ridge Circle Lights
4462 Cinnamon Ridge Circle
Eagan, MN 55122

Cinnamon Ridge
This lawn is full with more than 100 blow molds and 25 inflatables. Submitted photo.
  • November 28th – December 31st, 2019
  • 7 nights a week (5:00 – 10:00 pm Monday – Thursday, 5:00 – 11:00 pm Friday – Sunday)
  • Includes more than 100 blow mold figurines, 25 inflatables and 4,000 lights

East Bethel

Manners Magnificent Lights
19509 Rochester Street NE
East Bethel, MN 55011

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Check out this display of 20,000 lights in East Bethel. Submitted photo.
  • November 28th – December 30th, 2019
  • 7 nights a week from 5:00 – 10:00 pm
  • Includes 20,000 lights
  • Turn your radio to 90.9FM to hear synchronized music

Eden Prairie

Christmas Lights at Sunrise
15482 W Sunrise Circle
Eden Prairie, MN 55347

  • November 28th, 2019 – January 6th, 2020
  • 7 nights a week from 5:00 pm – 12:00 am
  • Includes a show of 10,000 lights designed by the homeowner’s son who designs the circuit boards and enhanced by his dad who welds the trees on display
  • Turn your car’s radio to 89.7FM

Elk River

Warnke Christmas Lights
17978 Fresno Street NW
Elk River, MN 55330

  • Thru January 1st, 2020
  • 7 nights a week from 5:00 – 10:30 pm
  • More than 3,500 red and white LED lights synchronized to music

Faribault

Christensen’s Light Display
7168 240th Street
Faribault, MN 55021

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Look for 17,000 lights and a manger scene outside of this Faribault house. Submitted photo.
  • November 28th – December 31st, 2019
  • 7 nights a week from 5:00 – 10:00 pm
  • Includes 17,000 lights, a manger scene and 10 large blowups
  • Tune your car’s radio to 88.1FM to hear synchronized music

Ham Lake

Mellem Family Christmas Lights
17438 5th Street NE*
Ham Lake, MN 55304

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60,000 lights are on display at this home in Ham Lake. Submitted photo.
  • November 30th – December 26th, 2019
  • 7 nights a week from 5:00 – 9:00 pm
  • * = This house is in a new development and Google Maps does not recognize a new road built. See the below image for directions. Do not rely on Google Maps!
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The blue line is a brand new road (173rd Lane NE) that does not exist on any maps program yet. It can be accessed from 175th Avenue NE or 175th Lane NW. You can also search 599 175th Avenue NE, Ham Lake, MN 55304 in Google Maps and it will take you to the entrance of the neighborhood. Submitted photo.
  • Includes 60,000 lights synchronized to music; set your radio to 88.1FM
  • Raises awareness and funds for HOPE 4 Youth

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Inver Grove Heights

Doocy’s Winter Wonderland
8020 Claymore Avenue
Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076

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Check out Santa’s Workshop and Disney characters in Inver Grove Heights! Submitted photo.
  • Until December 31st, 2019
  • 7 nights a week from 5:00 – 10:00 pm
  • Stop by to see many Disney characters, Santa’s workshop and upwards of 5,000 lights!

Inver Grove Heights

Lundell’s Lights
3892 72nd Street E
Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076

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View 6,500 lights on display outside of this home in Inver Grove Heights. Submitted photo.
  • November 28th, 2019 – January 5th, 2020
  • 7 nights a week (5:00 pm – approximately 10:00 until mid December, then 5:00 pm – dawn until January 5th)
  • Includes 6,500 lights

Inver Grove Heights

Radant Xmas Display
8160 Carmen Avenue
Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076

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This is one of many homes with bright lights in Inver Grove Heights. Submitted photo.
  • November 27th, 2019 – January 5th, 2020
  • 7 nights a week from 6:00 – 10:30 pm
  • Includes more than 5,000 lights
  • Santa makes an appearance on the weekends
  • The homeowners collect donations for Toys for Tots

Inver Grove Heights

Soldier’s 6 Christmas Light and Santa Display
8238 Copland Way
Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076

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  • Through January 1st, 2020
  • 7 nights a week from dark until 11:00 pm
  • Appearances by Santa and a special reindeer on select dates
  • Includes 2 18′ inflatables and 2 15′ inflatables
  • Raises awareness for Soldier’s 6, an organization providing service dogs to police officers, military vets, firefighters, 911 dispatchers, corrections officers and EMS at no cost
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Support Solider’s 6 at a Breakfast with Santa on December 8th.

Inver Grove Heights

Strandlof’s Christmas Lights
7050 Blaine Avenue
Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076

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There’s a 19-foot ferris wheel at this home in Inver Grove Heights. Submitted photo.
  • November 28th, 2019 – January 1st, 2020
  • 7 nights a week from 5:00 – 10:00 pm
  • You can’t miss a 19′ ferris wheel!
  • Display includes over 10,000 lights
  • Turn your car radio to 87.9FM to hear synchronized music

Inver Grove Heights

Waldhauser’s Christmas Lights
2005 67th Street East
Inver Grove Heights, MN 55077

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Lights actually cross the road at this display in Inver Grove Heights. Submitted photo.
  • November 28th, 2019 – January 2nd, 2020
  • 7 nights a week from 5:00 – 10:00 pm
  • Includes 5,000 lights

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Jordan

Trellis Lights
1135 Trellis Street
Jordan, MN 55352

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7,000 lights are synchronized to music outside of this home in Jordan. Submitted photo.
  • November 29th – December 25th, 2019
  • 7 nights a week from 6:30 – 9:30 pm
  • Includes 7,000 lights
  • Tune in to 87.9FM to hear synchronized music

Kasson

Nevala Family Christmas Light Show
406 Sixth Street Court NE
Kasson, MN 55944

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The Nevala family hosts a kids coloring contest when their light display is up. Two lucky winners get bicycles! Submitted photo.
  • November 22nd – December 31st, 2019
  • 7 nights a week from 5:00 – 9:00 pm
  • Includes 32,000 lights
  • Turn your car radio to 88.1FM to hear Christmas tunes synchronized to the lights
  • The family will collect donations for Kasson Fire & Rescue
  • Kids can participate in a coloring contest with two winners receiving new bicycles!

Lake Elmo

Rockpoint’s Valley Lights
5825 Kelvin Avenue N
Lake Elmo, MN 55045

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Valley Lights at Rockpoint Church has 100,000 lights along with free wagon rides on select dates in December. Submitted photo.
  • November 28th – December 31st, 2019
  • 7 nights a week from 5:00 – 10:00 pm
  • Free to attend
  • Includes 100,000 lights!
  • Tune your radio on 97.9FM to listen to music synchronized to the lights
  • Check out free wagon rides on December 6th, 7th, 13th and 14th from 6:00 – 9:00 pm

Lino Lakes

Cinnamon Teal Holiday Lights
7188 Cinnamon Teal Court
Lino Lakes, MN 55014

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Cinnamon Teal Holiday Lights in Lino Lakes will get a visit by Santa every Friday and Saturday night between November 29th and December 21st. Submitted photo.
  • November 22nd – December 31st, 2019
  • 7 nights a week from 6:00 pm – 1:00 am
  • Includes 15,000 lights
  • Collecting donations for the Centennial Food Shelf along with toys for local churches
  • Santa will make an appearance on Friday and Saturday nights from 6:00 – 9:00 pm November 29th – December 21st

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Mankato

Kiwanis Holiday Lights
900 Mound Avenue
Mankato, MN 56001

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Over 1 million lights along with a skating rink, horse drawn wagon rides and live reindeer await at Kiwanis Holiday Lights in Mankato. Submitted photo.
  • November 29th – December 31st, 2019
  • 7 nights at week (5:00 – 9:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:00 – 10:00 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • Features 1.8 million lights!
  • Upon entering Sibley Park, turn your car radio to 88.1FM to learn about Kiwanis Holiday Lights and listen to holiday music. Once you’re in the loop, flip over to 90.1FM
  • For more information on how to get to Kiwanis Holiday Lights, click here
  • Admission is free for all vehicles. You can also walk through the display
  • In addition to all the lights, stop by for a skating rink, horse drawn wagon rides, live reindeer, and Santa Claus

Minneapolis

CSE Winter Light Show at the University of Minnesota
Civil Engineering Building Courtyard
500 Pillsbury Drive SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

UMN CSE LightShow
Students of the University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering design and program a show with 250,000 lights on select dates in early December. Submitted photo.
  • Select dates: Thursday, December 5th, Friday, December 6th, Saturday, December 7th and Saturday, December 14th, 2019
  • 5:30, 6:00 and 6:30 pm on nights listed above
  • The students of the University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering design and program a winter light show featuring 250,000 lights. If you’re seeing this in time, it’s a must-see
  • The shows are free and open to the public. No ticket necessary
  • On Friday, December 6th from 5:00 – 6:30 pm, they are hosting a premiere party in the Civil Engineering Building on the second floor. Stop by for free hot chocolate and cookies

Minneapolis

House on Howard
2418 Howard Street NE
Minneapolis, MN 55418

  • November 29th – December 29th, 2019
  • Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights from 6:00 – 9:00 pm
  • Includes more than 11,000 lights

Montrose

Mindy Lane Holiday Display
135 Mindy Lane
Montrose, MN 55363

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30,000 lights are used for this display in Montrose, located off of Highway 12 in the west metro. Submitted photo.
  • November 28th, 2019 – January 5th, 2020
  • 7 nights a week (5:00 – 10:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:00 – 11:00 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • Includes 30,000 lights
  • Tune your car radio to 105.9FM to hear music synchronized to lights on display

New Hope

Larson’s Lights
3549 Ensign Avenue North
New Hope, MN 55427

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Enjoy this New Hope light display by foot — with outdoor music speakers — or in your car. Submitted photo.
  • November 29th, 2019 – January 3rd, 2020
  • 7 nights a week (4:30 – 10:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, 4:30 – 11:00 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • Includes more than 25,000 lights
  • Outdoor speakers will stay on until 9:00 pm. You can also listen to music on 87.9FM
  • The homeowner tells Give Me The Mike they will not run the show in the rain. Check their Facebook page before you go to see if the show is canceled the night you would like to go

North Mankato

Omega Ct Christmas Lights Display
14 Omega Court
North Mankato, MN 56003

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The homeowners at this light display are collecting toys to be donated to a hospital pediatric ward on December 19th. Submitted photo.
  • November 26th, 2019 – January 5th, 2020
  • 7 nights a week from 5:00 – 10:00 pm
  • Includes 100,000 lights
  • Turn your radio to 88.1FM to hear the 11 minute loop of music synchronized to the lights. There are also outdoor speakers if you decide to hop out of your car
  • The homeowners are collecting unopened toys (no plush toys, please), which will be donated to the pediatric ward of a local hospital on December 19th

Oakdale

Christmas Fantasy
6953 26th Street Court N
Oakdale, MN 55128

  • December 2nd – December 31st, 2019
  • 7 nights a week from 4:30 – 10:00 pm
  • Check out 27 hand painted wood signs on a 60 foot fence along Stillwater Boulevard near Hadley Avenue
  • A Nativity scene and hand painted figurines are in the front yard, along with 10,000 lights
  • Word is that Santa stops by occasionally

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Owatonna

Murray Street Lights
1014 Lincoln Avenue
Owatonna, MN 55060

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This is one of three homes in a close proximity that goes bright for the holidays. Submitted photo.
  • November 28th – December 31st, 2019
  • 7 nights a week (5:00 – 10:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:00 – 11:00 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • Includes three homes! One on Lincoln Avenue and two around the corner on Murray Street
  • The radio station for the home on Murray Street is 94.7FM

Plainview

Hanson Family Christmas Lights
315 Fifth Street W
Plainview, MN 55964

  • December 1st, 2019 – January 1st, 2020
  • 7 nights a week (5:00 – 9:30 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:00 – 10:30 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • Includes 400,000 lights synchronized to music
  • Turn your car radio to 88.1FM

Plymouth

PD Shimmers
4120 Juneau Lane
Plymouth, MN 55446

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PD Shimmers has a light for every person in the United States diagnosed with Parkinson’s this year. Submitted photo.
  • November 28th – December 28th, 2019
  • 7 nights a week from 5:00 – 10:00 pm
  • The show contains window displays from the old Dayton’s store in downtown Minneapolis
  • Tune your car radio to 97.9 FM to hear music synchronized to the lights
  • Display includes more than 60,000 lights — one for each person in the United States diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2019. The display raises money for the Mike Justak Foundation for Parkinson’s Disease.

Plymouth

Joy of the Season
4810 Orchid Lane North
Plymouth, MN 55446

  • November 27th, 2019 – January 1st, 2020
  • 7 nights a week from 6:00 pm – 12:00 am
  • The show of 5,000 lights lasts about 15-20 minutes
  • Raises awareness and funds for the Animal Humane Society

Plymouth

Quantico Christmas
535 Quantico Lane N
Plymouth, MN 55447

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11,000 lights are on display at this house in Plymouth. Submitted photo.
  • November 26th, 2019 – January 2nd, 2020
  • 7 nights a week from 4:30 – 10:00 pm
  • Santa and his reindeer make an appearance on the roof every night!
  • Your kids can leave letters for Santa
  • Display includes 11,000 lights and 10 blow up displays

Prior Lake

Ken’s Kreation
16424 Fillmore Avenue SE
Prior Lake, MN 55372

  • Thru January 1st, 2020
  • 7 nights a week (4:30 – 10:00 pm Sunday – Thursday,  4:30 pm – 12:00 am Friday – Saturday)
  • Display also on from 4:00 – 8:00 am 7 days a week
  • Includes more than 6,000 lights

Prior Lake

Lights at the Cove
3490 Cove Point Circle NW
Prior Lake, MN 55372

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  • November 28th – December 31st, 2019
  • 7 nights a week (5:00 – 10:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:00 – 11:00 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • Includes 5,000 lights
  • Listen to music synchronized to light show on 91.9FM

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Ramsey

Sedok House
5716 162nd Crossing NW
Ramsey, MN 55303

  • December 7th – 28th, 2019
  • 7 nights a week from 6:00 – 9:00 pm
  • Stop by to watch a 25 minute projection video featuring Rudolph, Frosty, Elsa, Christmas Vacation, Trans Siberian Orchestra and the Nativity story.
  • The whole show is set to music — tune your radio to 98.7FM
  • Candy and small toys will be handed out to those who stop by

Rosemount

Kojak House
13826 Addison Avenue
Rosemount, MN 55068

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Over 25,000 lights are on display outside of this home in Rosemount. Submitted photo.
  • November 23rd, 2019 – January 2nd, 2020
  • 7 nights a week from 4:30 – 10:30 pm
  • The homeowners lost count at 25,000 lights
  • They do have a drop box for Toys for Tots donations

Saint Michael

Holiday Lights on 20th Street
11594 20th Street NE
Saint Michael, MN 55376

holiday lights on 20th
If you visit this display in Saint Michael on the weekend, bring a non-perishable food donation for the Hanover Food Shelf. Submitted photo.
  • November 29th – December 29th, 2019
  • 7 nights a week (5:30 – 9:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:30 – 9:30 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • Includes 25,000 lights
  • Turn your radio to 99.3FM to hear synchronized music
  • If you go on Friday, Saturday or Sunday, bring a donation for the Hanover Food Shelf

Saint Paul

Canadian Pacific Holiday Train at Union Depot
214 Fourth Street E
Saint Paul, MN 55101

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The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train rolls into Union Depot on Tuesday, December 10th with a free concert at 7:00 pm. Submitted photo.
  • Tuesday, December 10th from 6:45 – 7:30 pm
  • Stop by to see the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train and enjoy a free concert from 7:00 – 7:30 pm
  • VIP tickets are $10 and get ticketholders access closest to the stage. Click here to purchase
  • Those attending are encouraged to bring a cash or heart-healthy food donations for Merrick Community Services

Saint Paul

Holiday Lights on York Avenue
1526 York Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55106

  • November 29th – December 31st, 2019
  • 7 nights a week from 5:00 – 10:00 pm
  • Includes 65,000 lights
  • Tune your car radio to 91.5FM
  • Bring a non-perishable donation for Merrick Food Shelf

Saint Paul

Illumination at the Science Museum of Minnesota
120 W. Kellogg Boulevard
Saint Paul, MN 55102

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The Science Museum of Minnesota has a whole new take on a light show with Illumination. Submitted photo.
  • November 29th – December 28th, 2019
  • Friday – Saturday nights from 5:00 – 10:00 pm
  • It’s a holiday “light” show in a new sense. Experience large-scale and hands-on experiences, glow-in-the dark cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages, a puppet shadow room, and more
  • Illumination is included in the cost of admission to the Science Museum of Minnesota ($19.95 adults, $13.95 ages 4 – 12 and seniors). You can buy tickets in advance online

Saint Paul

Rice Park powered by Xcel Energy
At Rice Park
109 W 4th Street
Saint Paul, MN 55102

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The lighting of the holiday tree in Rice Park is accompanied by a fireworks show. Photo credit Visit Saint Paul.
  • Holiday tree: November 23rd, 2019 – February 9th, 2020
  • Lighted trees: November 23rd, 2019 – March 17th, 2020
  • 7 days a week from 6:00 – 8:00 am and 4:00 pm – 12:00 am
  • The holiday tree has 15,000 lights

Shakopee

Sever’s Holiday Lights
3121 50th Street West
Shakopee, MN 55379

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Sever’s Holiday Lights is new in 2019. Submitted photo.
  • November 8th, 2019 – January 5th, 2019
  • 7 nights a week (5:00 – 9:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:00 – 10:00 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • Drive through a display with more than 1 million lights synchronized to holiday tunes
  • $5 per person, $20 per car maximum (tax not included)
  • Vehicles with more than 8 people are charged $35 (tax not included)
  • The route is a half mile
  • Plus, enjoy hot cocoa, mini donuts, caramel popcorn from Drew’s Concessions and more

Shakopee

Shakopee Winter Wonderland
921 Shakopee Avenue East
Shakopee, MN 55379

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A ferris wheel of light! Photo credit Shakopee Winter Wonderland/Facebook.
  • December 1st – 25th, 2019
  • 7 nights a week from 6:00 – 9:30 or 10:00 pm
  • Stop by between December 13th – 24th for crafts, cookies, hot cocoa and Santa

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Sleepy Eye

Sleepy Eye Holiday Lights in Motion
Sportmens Park
West side of State Highway 4 (northwest side of Sleepy Eye and the north side of Sleepy Eye Lake)

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Sleepy Eye Holiday Lights in Motion. Submitted photo.
  • November 28th, 2019 – January 1st, 2020
  • 7 nights a week from 5:00 – 9:00 pm
  • Includes more than 300,000 lights
  • You can drive through the park to enjoy the lights. Tune your car’s radio to 89.1 FM to hear synchronized music. The music is also broadcast throughout the park if you want to get out of your car to see things up close.
  • Everything is free! That includes wagon rides, free concessions, and free horse drawn carriage rides on December 14th and 21st. Donations are accepted.

Waconia

The Spirit of Winter at Sovereign Estate
The Winery at Sovereign Estate
9950 North Shore Road
Waconia, MN 55387

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Over 20 miles of lights are on display at this winery in Waconia. Submitted photo.
  • November 21st, 2019 – January 5th, 2020
  • Friday – Sunday nights plus Monday, December 23rd
    • 4:00 – 9:00 pm Friday – Saturday
    • 4:00 – 8:00 pm Sunday
  • Over 20 miles of lights on display!
  • View lights and see Santa, play boot hockey, and sip on wine
  • Tickets are $5 for ages 3 and older. You can buy them online or at the door (cash only at the door)
  • The Winery at Sovereign Estate donates tickets so kids can attend on Thursday nights

White Bear Lake

Our Last Holiday Light Show
5590 West Bald Eagle Lake Boulevard
White Bear Lake, MN 55110

  • Until January 9th, 2020
  • 7 nights a week from 6:00 – 10:00 pm
  • The homeowner trimmed down the light display, but it still includes 100,000 lights

Willmar

Celebrate the Light of the World
Robbins Island Regional Park
Highway 71 North
Willmar, MN 56201

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Celebrate the Light of the World is ranked as one of the 5 best holiday light displays in Minnesota. Submitted photo.
  • November 28th, 2019 – January 1st, 2020
  • 7 nights a week from 5:00 – 10:00 pm
  • Celebrate the Light of the World is a free, drive-through display featuring 800,000 lights
  • When you drive-through, turn your car radio to either 88.7FM or 90.3FM to hear music
  • Freewill donations will be collected for the Salvation Army of Willmar, Habitat for Humanity of West Central Minnesota, Kandiyohi County Food Shelf and The Link

Woodbury

Crazy Christmas Display
7401 Wyndham Way
Woodbury, MN 55125

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150 pieces line the lawn of a Crazy Christmas Display in Woodbury. Submitted photo.
  • November 28th – December 30th, 2019
  • 7 nights a week (dusk – 9:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, dusk – 10:00 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • Includes 10,000 lights and 150 pieces on the lawn

Woodbury

Holiday Lights of Woodbury
8846 Glacier Road
Woodbury, MN 55125

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You can’t miss this bright yard in Woodbury. Submitted photo.
  • Through January 1st, 2020
  • 7 nights a week (5:00 – 10:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:00 – 11:00 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • Tune your radio to 97.9FM to hear synchronized music

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The best birthday freebies in the Twin Cities

Most of these freebies were verified as of May 2019. Enjoy! If you know of others not listed, please let me know about them. Connect with me with the form at the bottom of this page.

From a bottle of wine worth your age to free car washes, I rounded up the best freebies you can snag on your birthday. Check out my segment on KSTP-TV’s Twin Cities Live.

Featured spots:

Free bottle of wine worth your age at Tria Restaurant

  • Located in North Oaks
  • Required to purchase two entrees
  • Must go during your birthday week (3 days before until 3 days after)
  • Credit can be used towards a more expensive bottle
  • Don’t want wine? You can get a free dessert instead

$25 towards dinner at Lindey’s Prime Steak House

Up to $1,000 in slot play at Mystic Lake Casino Hotel

  • Located in Prior Lake
  • Must register to be a Club M member and visit guest services the month of your birthday
  • You’ll spin a virtual wheel to win prizes, including free bingo, blackjack play, or up to $1,000 in slot play

Up to $1,000 in slot play and a free buffet at Treasure Island Resort and Casino

  • Located in Welch (near Red Wing)
  • Must register to be a Island Passport Club member and visit a kiosk the month of your birthday
  • You can win up to $1,000 in free slot play
  • You will also receive a free buffet coupon along with a $20 bingo coupon
  • Thanks to Aaron Moy for the tip!

Up to $50 in Grand Play at Grand Casino

  • Note: their freebie has changed since the segment above originally aired
  • On any day during the month of your birthday, head to Grand Casino Mille Lacs or Grand Casino Hinckley
  • Spin the wheel for your chance at $5-50 in Grand Play along with free food based on your Grand Rewards membership tier
  • Go on your actual birthday and receive match points for that day’s play

Free car washes at Paradise Car Wash

  • Locations in Apple Valley, Eagan, Bloomington, Savage, Woodbury and Maple Grove
  • Go on your birthday and be ready to show an ID

Other freebies:

Free concert tickets

  • Even if a show is sold out, you and a friend will get in to a show at the First Avenue Mainroom or 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis for free on your birthday
  • Not only do you get in for free, you will get a bottle of bubbly or a drink ticket
  • This deal also applies to First Avenue’s other venues, the Fine Line in Minneapolis and Turf Club in Saint Paul
  • Don’t forget your ID

Free comedy show tickets

  • At ACME Comedy Company in Minneapolis
  • You and three guests can select to attend one Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday night show for free the month of your birthday
  • You must submit your request online no later than 3 p.m. the day prior you would like to attend

$10 to IKEA

IKEA Family

  • Minnesota location in Bloomington
  • You must be a member of the IKEA Family program
  • The IKEA website says you receive a “surprise on your birthday” that is valid during your birthday month; I can confirm that it’s $10 to IKEA (with no minimum purchase required) along with a free meatball dinner at their restaurant (it used to be $15, but as of March 2020, I’m told it’s $10)

IKEA Family certificate
Click here to learn more about this amazing freebie

Free mini golf at Can Can Wonderland

  • Can Can Wonderland is right off Pierce Butler Route in Saint Paul
  • On a Thursday during your birthday month, bring at least 3 friends to play mini golf and you will play for free
  • You will also receive a birthday drink of your choice
  • If you would rather play in the arcade, the birthday person can choose to receive 2 hours of unlimited arcade play along with a birthday drink instead
  • Note that only the birthday person receives the freebie, all others must pay

$25 to The Local Minneapolis, The Local West End, Kieran’s Irish Pub, or The Liffey

  • You must sign up for Cara Irish Pubs’ Pub Club at one of the above locations. They say you can reverse register online but I got an error when I tried to do so
  • You will have to register your card once you have it
  • You receive a free appetizer upon activating your card
  • Accounts with no activity for 24 months are automatically deactivated
  • Thanks to Jessica Jensen for the tip!

Free filet mignon dinner at Cherokee Tavern

  • Located in West Saint Paul
  • Head there on Thursday night during the week of your birthday
  • You must show proof of your birthday with a valid ID at the hostess stand
  • Someone at your table must order an entree of $15 or more
  • Thanks to Emily DeCorsey for the tip!

A free burger at Red Cow

  • Three locations in Minneapolis and one in Saint Paul
  • You must be a member of Red Cow’s eClub and you will receive an e-coupon for their Ultimate Burger for your birthday
  • If you don’t want the Ultimate Burger, the coupon can be used for a discount of equal or lesser value
  • The coupon expires 3 weeks from the date it was sent. Mine was sent 4 days before my actual birthday
  • You also get a free order of cheese curds when signing up (coupon is good for three weeks from sign up date)

A free burger at Red Robin

  • Locations in Shoreview, Bloomington, Plymouth and Apple Valley
  • You must be a member of the Red Robin Royalty program
  • Credit is loaded onto your account the first day of the month of your birthday

A free Juicy Lucy at Crooked Pint Ale House

  • Minnesota locations in Apple Valley, Chaska, Duluth, Fairbault, Maplewood, Minneapolis, Rochester, and Waite Park
  • You must be a member of their Crooked Rewards program
  • You receive a free Juicy Lucy of your choice for your birthday

Free entree at Houlihan’s

  • Participating locations in Chanhassen, Eagan and Richfield
  • You must be a member of the Houlihan’s email program
  • You also get a $10 credit when signing up

Free entree from La Casita

  • Locations in Columbia Heights, Coon Rapids, Roseville and Waite Park
  • You get a free entree if another food item of equal or lesser value is purchased
  • It must be redeemed on your actual entree and an ID is required
  • Thanks to Kimberly McKay for the tip!

Free deep dish pizza from Green Mill

  • 19 Minnesota locations
  • You must be a member of the Green Mill Rewards Club
  • You receive a certificate for a small one-topping deep dish pizza

Free pizza from Park Tavern

  • Located in Saint Louis Park
  • You must be a member of their EClub
  • You will receive an e-coupon good for a 12″ pizza with up to 3 ingredients. That coupon expires two weeks after it was sent. Mine was sent and marked June 27th, although my birthday is July 1st
  • You also receive $5 off your next meal when you sign up. That certificate expires 1 month after registering

A pizza worth up to $17 from Old Chicago

  • Locations in Roseville, Eden Prairie, Apple Valley, Saint Cloud and Duluth
  • You must sign up for their OC Rewards program at a restaurant or online
  • You must visit an Old Chicago once in the 12 months prior to your birthday in order for the credit to upload to your account
  • The credit is added to your account 7 days prior to your birthday and stays on up to 10 days after your birthday. For my July 1st birthday, my certificate arrived June 24th and expired on July 9th
  • Any unused credit does not apply towards future purchases

A free meal at HopCat

  • Minnesota location in Minneapolis
  • You must be a member of their HopCat Rewards program (phone app)
  • You are emailed a free birthday meal on your birthday
  • That certificate is good for 30 days
  • Once you join the program, you also receive a free appetizer. That is good for 14 days after signing up
  • If you know someone who has a membership, have them refer you. They will receive points which can be redeemed for free food

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Also on Give Me the Mike:
A review of HopCat, the Nicollet Mall bar with 80 beers on tap

Four hours of free beer at Skinner’s Pub

Three hours of free drinks at Wild Bill’s Sports Saloon

  • Minnesota locations in Apple Valley, Blaine, Rochester and Woodbury
  • On the Friday of your birthday week, grab three friends
  • You get free drinks from 9 p.m. – 1 a.m.
  • They will get $3 you-call-its from 9 p.m. – midnight
  • You also get a free t-shirt, mason jar, birthday shot, and birthday toast

Free personalized bottle of wine at Pazzaluna

  • Located in Saint Paul
  • You must fill out this form in advance
  • You must dine the week of your birthday (up to 3 days before and up to 3 days after)
  • You receive a bottle of wine from their Birthday Wine List along with a free dessert
  • You are required to purchase 2 entrees

A free glass of wine at Red Rabbit

  • Locations in Minneapolis and Saint Paul
  • You must be a member of the Red Rabbit eClub
  • You will receive an e-coupon good for a glass of wine, not to exceed $15
  • The coupon expires 3 weeks from the date it was sent. Mine was sent 4 days before my actual birthday
  • You also get a free New World Margherita Pizza when signing up (coupon is good for three weeks from sign up date)

A free cannoli at Mario’s Italian Kitchen

  • Located in Watertown
  • You can also get a free drink instead, but why do that when you can get a cannoli

Free dessert at 6SMITH

  • Located in Wayzata
  • Free piece of chocolate cake with your meal
  • Bonus: let them know in advance you’re celebrating a birthday and they will decorate the table and give you a birthday card that contains $15 off your next visit!

Free dessert and $15 gift card at Baldamar

  • Located in Roseville
  • If you make an advance reservation and let staff know you’re celebrating a birthday, they will decorate the table and treat the birthday person with a complimentary dessert and a $15 gift card to use on a future visit
  • Thanks to Donovan for the tip!

Free dessert at Buca di Beppo

  • Locations in Burnsville, Eden Prairie, Maple Grove, Minneapolis and Saint Paul
  • Sign up for their E-Club and you will receive an email for a free Colossal Brownie dessert on your birthday
    • Colossal Brownie voucher is only valid if you dine-in (no to-go orders)
  • Email comes to your inbox a few days before your birthday and expires at the end of your birthday month
  • You will also get $20 off a purchase of $40 or more
    • Discount can be used on online orders

$10 at GODIVA

A free bundtlet at Nothing Bundt Cakes

  • Minnesota locations in Blaine, Eagan, Eden Prairie, Maple Grove, Minnetonka, Rochester, St. Paul and Woodbury
  • You must be a member of their EClub

A free cupcake at Lunds & Byerlys

  • 27 Minnesota locations
  • Sign up for their Extras program
  • You will receive an email for a free cupcake that is to be redeemed within two weeks of your birthday
  • Thanks Michelle Koerth for the tip!

Free (s’mores dessert pizza) at Red’s Savoy Pizza

  • 18 Minnesota locations
  • You must be a member of their Thank You Rewards program
  • A credit (for what I’m being told is a s’mores dessert pizza) will be added to your card a week prior to your birthday
  • The deal expires 14 days after it is added to your card
  • Thanks Richard Harris for the tip!

A free cupcake at Nadia Cakes

  • Minnesota locations in Maple Grove and Woodbury
  • You must sign up for their mailing list

A free pastry, croissant, muffin, scone, sweet roll or cookie at Panera Bread

A free half hoagie and beverage at Hogan Brothers

A free sandwich and beverage at Jersey Mike’s

  • You must be a member of their Email Club
  • On your birthday, you will receive a coupon for a regular sub and a 22 oz drink
  • The coupon is good for one year
  • You must confirm your subscription to the Email Club at least 24 hours before the birthdate you provide, otherwise you won’t receive a coupon

A free sandwich at Which Wich

  • You must be a Vibe Club Rewards member
  • You need to sign up for the Vibe Club at least 30 days before your birthday
  • You may not receive a certificate if you haven’t purchase anything using your Rewards account in the last year

A free sandwich at Firehouse Subs

  • You must sign up for the Firehouse Rewards program before your birthday
  • You will receive a coupon for a free medium sub, which expires 6 days after your birthday
  • Parents are able to sign their kids up to receive a free sub as well
  • Thanks to Richard Harris & Danielle Rabe for the tip!

A free beverage at Caribou Coffee

  • You must be a Caribou Perks member
  • The perk can be used on any beverage, in any size
  • You have 7 days from your birthday to redeem

A free beverage or food item at Starbucks

  • You must a Starbucks Rewards member
  • You need to sign up for Starbucks Rewards at least 7 days before your birthday
  • The credit can be used for a handcrafted beverage, a food item or a ready-to-drink bottled beverage
  • You need to make one other transaction using your Rewards account prior to your birthday each year to receive the credit
  • The credit usually appears on your account 1 to 3 days before your birthday

$5 at Dunn Brothers Coffee

$10 off your dinner at Sunshine Factory Bar & Grill

  • Located in Plymouth
  • Go in to their restaurant and sign up in person for their email list
  • You will get $10 off your birthday dinner
  • The certificate is valid 2 weeks prior until 1 week after your birthday
  • If you go on the day of your birthday, you will also receive a complimentary appetizer or beverage

Free entree from Acapulco Restaurante Mexicano

  • Locations in Andover, Blaine, Ham Lake, Maplewood, New Brighton, Ramsey, Stillwater and Woodbury
  • You must sign up for their VIP Email Club
  • Heads up: the electronic coupon only good for 10 days from the day they send the email. My birthday is July 1st and coupon was sent and marked June 27th, meaning I only had until July 7th to redeem it.
  • You also get a free order of queso when signing up (coupon is only good for a week)

Free appetizer or side of ribs at Texas Roadhouse

  • Locations in Coon Rapids and Saint Cloud
  • You must sign up for their email or text list
  • You also get a free appetizer (cactus blossom, fried pickles, tater skins, cheese fries or rattlesnake bites) when signing up

Free dessert with the purchase of an entree at TGI Fridays

  • Locations in Saint Louis Park, Bloomington, Maplewood, Maple Grove, Burnsville and Coon Rapids
  • You must be a member of the Friday Rewards program
  • You also get a free appetizer or dessert when signing up

$10 at Jake’s City Grille

  • Locations in Eagan, Eden Prairie, Maplewood and Plymouth
  • You must become a Dining Rewards member (not available online)

$15 or $20 at Wildfire

  • Minnesota location in Eden Prairie
  • You must become a member of their Frequent Diner Rewards program
  • According to their website, you must have “recent activity on your account”
  • The credit is added the first day of the month of your birthday
  • Blue and silver level members get $15 off their meal; gold level members get $20 off their meal
  • To be a silver level member, you must spend at least $1,000 a year; gold members must spend $2,500
  • Birthday rewards do not expire, but are not cumulative

$30 at Benihana

  • Locations in Bloomington, Maple Grove and Golden Valley
  • You must join The Chef’s Table email list
  • You receive a $30 credit on a meal when another adult teppanyaki entree is purchased
  • The credit can only be used Mondays – Thursdays
  • The credit is valid 29 days from the date it was issued
  • You MUST print the certificate — it cannot be shown on a phone

A free Grand Slam breakfast at Denny’s

A free Magnificent Seven breakfast at Perkins

$15 at Finish Line

$5 to Arc’s Value Village

  • Available only at locations in Richfield, New Hope and Bloomington
  • You must be a member of their Village Rewards program

Discount on Botox at Uptown Dermatology & SkinSpa

  • Located in Minneapolis
  • They take $1 off of every year of your age on Botox
  • Get $50 off if you’re 50, $65 off if you’re 65, $75 off if you’re 75

$10 off your meal at Timberlodge Steakhouse

  • The chain restaurant collapsed: the only Minnesota location left is in Owatonna
  • Be weary here: I asked the location to verify this deal; they did not respond to my request

Half birthday deal at Stanley’s Northeast, The Howe, The Block, Al’s Place, Pub 819, and The Bar Draft House

  • You must sign up for the Craft & Crew Hospitality Loyalty program
  • You will receive an email for $13 off an entree, valid dine in only
  • Certificate expires 5 days following your half birthday

Know a birthday freebie not listed? Tell me!

The owner of PinKU Japanese Street Food is cooking up something good in Northeast Minneapolis

Originally published in Lavender Magazine, July 2020

You can say Chef John Sugimura has an obsession.

The Minnesota-born, third-generation Japanese American is fixated with Japan. The food, culture, temples, technology, architecture—you name it.

“Every time I travel to Tokyo and Kyoto, I learn something new about my own culture, values and beliefs,” Sugimura tells Lavender. “These cities are so important to me because they taught me everything I know about my own culture and brought me enormous self-love, which is very important to living well.” 

Sugimura captures the flavors of Japan and serves them at his restaurant, PinKU Japanese Street Food. The original location in Northeast Minneapolis opened in June 2016. 

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Chef John Sugimura.

“I cook updated classics with true spirit, fresh flavors, and ingredients that would make my chef grandmother proud,” Sugimura said. 

Sugimura’s grandparents immigrated to America in 1917, and his grandmother operated a thriving restaurant in Sacramento, California.

That was until World War II. On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. That document cleared the way for the forced removal of all Japanese Americans from the West Coast. By the spring of that year, 180,000 Japanese Americans were relocated into so-called assembly centers.

“My family was forced into Tule Lake,” Sugimura recalled. “They experienced incarceration behind barbed wire and were living in barracks. In 1946, my family left the war camp with five pieces of luggage. My family eventually moved to Minnesota where I was born and raised. Our strong spirit persisted.”

Because of his family’s history, Sugimura is an advocate for the culturally accurate retelling of the Japanese American experience. He became a chef to celebrate the values of traditional Japanese cuisine, and in turn, brings the culture to new audiences.

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PinKU Japanese Street Food in Northeast Minneapolis.

What’s cooking

As a protégé of the revered master sushi chef Katsuya, Sugimura apprenticed in Katsuya’s Little Tokyo School, now known as Miyaki Sushi and Washoku School, and part of the Japan Culinary Art Institute. He also worked in Katsuya’s California restaurants in Hollywood and Beverly Hills before returning to Minnesota to eventually start PinKU Japanese Street Food.

PinKU is the Japanese word for pink. “Pink is powerful. Pink can help us try to overcome stereotypes,” Sugimura said. “PinKU is my desire to educate and share the true Japanese American experience.”

And when it comes to the ‘Street Food’ part of the restaurant’s name, the experience is more upscale than ordering from a food truck. Sugimura tells me that in Japan, street food is used to describe any restaurant that isn’t high-end, fine dining.

As I entered PinKU in mid-June, you can tell the chef and his team made drastic changes to accommodate to COVID-19 guidelines. The Minneapolis ordinance requiring face masks is strictly followed inside, and upon entering, you’re greeted by a bottle of hand sanitizer.  

“The COVID-19 virus has created upheaval for PinKU,” Sugimura said.

I asked Sugimura if things will ever go back to the way they were before the pandemic. “Normal wasn’t working and broke,” he replied.

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PinKU Japanese Street Food opened in Northeast Minneapolis in 2016. In front: spicy crispy shrimp and cucumber wrapped with salmon and avocado specialty roll. Back left: spicy tuna on a crispy rice cake. Back right:  Cured and seared salmon with home-brewed soy.

If there’s one thing that hasn’t changed at PinKU, it’s the taste and quality of the food. I had the pleasure of eating at PinKU multiple times before my interview with Sugimura, and I knew the Gyoza, or Japanese pan-fried pork dumplings, are a must. 

I asked Sugimura what he would order. “When I’m really hungry, I will get two orders of the crispy shrimp,” he said as he pointed to wood planks on the wall depicting menu options. He encouraged me to try the spicy tuna on a crispy rice cake along with an order of the dumplings. 

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Hungry? Follow Chef Sugimura’s advice and get two orders of the crispy shrimp. It’s incredible.

The crispy shrimp, served on seasoned rice with a spicy mayonnaise, is incredible. You will want two orders, and you won’t want to share. The food comes in smaller portions, and equally smaller price points, too. The crispy shrimp is $7 and an order of Gyoza will set you back $6. 

PinKU holds the highest rating on Yelp for any Japanese restaurant in the Twin Cities, and according to Sugimura, it has the highest Yelp rating for any Japanese restaurant in the United States. One reviewer says, “PinKU offers such high quality Japanese Street Food that is both casual yet refined…and is so good it kinda hurts. They value ingredient quality over quantity, and the food and variety is so worth it.”

A sense of belonging

Sugimura, who publicly identified as gay in college, has positive memories from telling those he loves most he is attracted to men. “I remember hearing my mom say, ‘I love my gay son,’” the restaurant owner recalled. “My parents treated me special and made sure I knew I was fine just the way I was.” 

The restaurant community can be more isolating for those who identify as LGBTQ. “Serving Japanese food and a gay chef is a very unique combination in the restaurant industry,” Sugimura mentioned. “Often, I feel like I am on my own island.”   

Sugimura understands that sometimes the only thing you crave is a safe place where you can relate. 

“In 1998, in Kyoto, I was waiting to cross at a busy intersection, and I was stunned to observe a sea of black-haired people,” Sugimura said. “For the first time in my life I was the majority. That experience defined me as a proud Japanese American, and unleashed my courage to become a highly regarded Japanese American chef to tell my story.”

With isolation real for so many people during COVID-19, I asked Sugimura for advice on overcoming adversity for those who feel alone. “I was raised to be courageous and I have the wherewithal to pursue what is right,” the chef said. Having courage will take you places.

Sugimura also credits his partner of 24 years, Brian, for help. “Navigating through the pandemic with someone by your side to help with problems as they arise has minimized the torture,” Sugimura said.

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He’s just getting started

In October 2019, a second PinKU location launched inside a brand new food hall inside Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. According to Sugimura, the process to open that location started three months after his first location started serving customers in Northeast Minneapolis. A 10-year contract was awarded in March 2017, and you will find PinKU overlooking the runway in Terminal 1.

In addition to being a restaurant owner, Sugimura is a corporate executive chef for Twin Cities based food management company, Taher. They provided him the platform to create exclusively Japanese cuisine for venues around the country, including the FBI Laboratory in West Virginia.

This year marks Sugimura’s 10-year anniversary teaching classes at Cooks of Crocus Hill. He also teaches principles of sushi and Japanese cuisine at Kitchen Window.

Sugimura recently became the first outside executive chef to join the team at Minneapolis-based Chowgirls Killer Catering, an invitation he calls humbling.

Don’t expect the end of PinKU, or the delicious creations from Chef John Sugimura, anytime soon.

“PinKU is small and lean and fit to survive,” Sugimura said.

Minneapolis nonprofit expected to deliver 700,000 free meals to those with life-threatening illnesses in 2020


In my Serve Our Society series, I shine the spotlight on nonprofits to see how COVID-19 has impacted them. If you would like to nominate an organization to be featured, please contact mike@givemethemike.com.


Originally published in Lavender Magazine, June 2020

A nonprofit that started amidst an epidemic nearly 35 years ago once again has stepped up to help Minnesotans in need during COVID-19.

Open Arms of Minnesota launched in 1986 when founder Bill Rowe cooked in his apartment and started delivering meals to men living with AIDS who had become too sick to cook for themselves.

Executive Director Leah Hébert Welles knows the organization’s past plays a large role in its future. “Our leadership has always been LGBT and our Board and staff have always included members of the community,” Hébert Welles says. “Over one-third of our clients are affected by HIV, and we will continue to honor our commitment to the HIV/AIDS community as our legacy.”

After 20 years of serving individuals living with HIV/AIDS, Open Arms expanded its client base and now serves meals to Minnesotans with cancer, MS, ALS and other life-threatening illnesses, along with their caregivers and children. In 2020, the organization expects to prepare and deliver nearly 700,000 meals, free of charge.

The mission is incredibly heartwarming, and it’s what drew me to the nonprofit as an employee. In April, I left a career as a television producer to help Open Arms expand its outreach.

Open Arms, based in Minneapolis, follows the notion that food is medicine. Organic vegetables are grown at five farms around the Twin Cities. That produce is used in the meals prepared by chefs and packaged with the help of volunteers. Open Arms has actively expanded their staff of Registered Dietitians, who guide trained chefs in developing healthy, delicious menu items tailored to specific illnesses.

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Open Arms of Minnesota started amid the AIDS epidemic in 1986, and the nonprofit continues to serve individuals impacted by HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening illnesses. Photo by Kurt Moses

A week’s worth of meals are then delivered to homes around the metro by volunteers. In a typical year, approximately 7,500 people volunteer with Open Arms. Mel Barr from Minneapolis has volunteered there for 18 years.

“I was immediately impressed with how well-run this nonprofit organization is,” Barr tells Lavender. “It’s been a great opportunity to be involved with such a dynamic group of individuals whose focus is on a very important and much-needed mission.”

Due to COVID-19, Barr’s duties have shifted. He carefully cleans and sterilizes the shelving, carts, and delivery bags meals go in. He volunteers every weekday for nearly three hours.

Says Barr, “I enjoy the variety of opportunities to connect with others and help those in need. The goal for everyone is providing healthy, nutritious food for people with life-threatening illnesses in the most efficient way possible while keeping the staff, the volunteers, and the clients safe.”

The passion of volunteers like Barr is what Leah Hébert Welles loves so much. “Many nonprofits use volunteers in their operations. Open Arms is powered by them. We were founded by a volunteer, operated for many years exclusively with volunteers, and today, volunteers continue to be the heart and soul of Open Arms. Over 7,500 volunteers a year make our work possible and they come from every community, background and walk of life. They are elderly, young, people of all races, religions and ethnicities, straight folks and members of the LGBT community. They give up time with their own families and friends and help vulnerable and ill people they don’t know, donating 70,000 hours of time every year to help our clients. We are building a community of kindness at Open Arms, and our clients feel that. Each delivery of medically-tailored meals sends a message of hope and love to a client who might be isolated or struggling that day.”

Ryan Atkinson from Minneapolis has received meals from Open Arms since 2018. “Receiving meals is extremely convenient. I have several meal options and varieties to choose from,” Atkinson says. “During this pandemic, Open Arms has been really helpful. I run out of food pretty quickly, and Open Arms steps in and fills in the gap.” Atkinson’s favorite meal is the turkey burger with Swiss cheese.

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Medically-tailored meals using fresh ingredients are made at Open Arms’ kitchen in South Minneapolis. Photo courtesy Open Arms of Minnesota/Amy Anderson

More demand with less resources

Like many nonprofits, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted how Open Arms operates. Since the first case of COVID-19 was reported in Minnesota, the nonprofit has seen a 25 percent increase in demand for its meal services. Between May and September 2020, it’s expected that 230,000 meals will be prepared and delivered to vulnerable clients. Anyone who is ill and needs help is currently not turned away.

“The health of our volunteers, staff and immunocompromised clients have to be our focus,” Hébert Welles says. “Because of that, virtually everything about how we operate has changed; from how many volunteers and staff are in our building at one time, to how much work we can get done by volunteers, to where we stage our meal delivery pick-up, to how we interact with our clients. We are seeing large ingredient cost increases, un-budgeted funds being spent on masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and other cleaners, added expenses for IT and computers, and increased staff expenses.”

In addition to changes at the Minneapolis kitchen, Open Arms was forced to cancel its largest yearly fundraising event, Moveable Feast, which was budgeted to bring in almost $500,000.

Open Arms accepts donations on its website and through Facebook. A $60 contribution provides a week’s worth of meals to a client.

For Hébert Welles, who has led Open Arms since 2013, the nonprofit’s mission has a profound meaning. “For one client, a favorite cookie made at Open Arms was the last thing he ate before he died, and that reminded me of our responsibility in the lives of our clients, and a humbling experience that makes me feel incredibly grateful to be here.”

Best bowling alleys in the Twin Cities

It’s an activity good for the whole family, fun for a date night, and it’s relatively inexpensive. I was on KSTP-TV’s Twin Cities Live with your votes for the best bowling alleys in the Twin Cities.

Note: the Groupon featured in this segment, along with the giveaway, are no longer valid. Prices mentioned may have changed.

elsies

Elsie’s, Minneapolis

  • Located just blocks from the banks of the Mississippi River in Northeast Minneapolis.
  • 16 lanes.
  • 21+ after 10:00 pm 7 days a week.
  • Elsie’s offers a shuttle to Target Field for all home Twins games.
  • Elsie’s has a restaurant and bar, also hosting banquets.
  • Karaoke is held every Saturday night from 9:30 pm until close.
  • They do have a surface parking lot and street parking in the neighborhood is easy to find.

town hall lanes

Town Hall Lanes, Minneapolis

  • Located in South Minneapolis; in the former home of Skylane Bowling.
  • 10 lanes.
  • Sister property to Town Hall Brewery and Town Hall Tap in Minneapolis and Town Hall Station in Edina.
  • Five beers brewed at Town Hall Brewery are on tap at Town Hall Lanes.
  • They also offer full pub fare, including flatbreads, half-pound burgers and Sunday brunch.

park tavern

Park Tavern, Saint Louis Park

  • Located in Saint Louis Park.
  • 20 lanes.
  • Can accommodate parties in the 11th Frame bar and other private rooms.
  • Offers free valet service during winter months and during private events.
  • Park Tavern is very accommodating for bowling group fundraisers and donations.
  • Known as a bar for Green Bay Packers fans.
  • Sign for their e-newsletter and get a free pizza on your birthday. Get details on my guide of the Best Birthday Freebies in the Twin Cities.

cedarvale

Cedarvale Lanes, Eagan

  • Located next to Twin Cities Premium Outlets off of Highways 13 and 77 in Eagan.
  • 32 lanes.
  • Cedarvale has a pro shop if you’re looking for bowling gear.
  • They have a full restaurant and bar, along with an outdoor patio.
  • Cedarvale hosts sand volleyball leagues during the summer.

 

Click here for more of my Best of Minnesota guides.

 

20 Minnesota nonprofits providing a platform for the Black community

It’s time to support the voices of our neighbors. All of our neighbors.

Nach at Dark Clouds MN (@MNDarkClouds on Twitter) shared a fantastic list of Black-owned businesses. I asked Nach if I could share the list to help us all get to know these amazing organizations. Click around and support their missions.

These groups are doing God’s work to make sure we all live in a safe world, allowing everyone to have a platform to stand on.


Black Immigrant Collective

Black Immigrant Collective is a Black-led immigrant organization whose work includes mutual aid support, defense, local, state & federal policy, and resource sharing including legal support.

Facebook // Donate

Black Visions Collective

Black Visions Collective believes in a future where all Black people have autonomy and safety is community-led.

Facebook // Twitter // Donate

Center for Economic Inclusion

The Center for Economic Inclusion works in pursuit of an economy that works for everyone, which requires erasing gaps in employment, wages, and wealth among Black, Indigenous and people of color with White people.

Facebook // Twitter // Donate

Face to Face

Face to Face empowers youth to overcome barriers and strive toward healthy and self-sufficient lives through medical and mental health care, housing support, employment training and other social services.

Facebook // Twitter // Donate

Hallie Q. Brown Community Center

The Hallie Q. Brown Community Center works to improve the quality of life in the community by providing access to critical human services, fostering personal growth, and developing community leadership.

Facebook // Twitter // Donate

Isuroon

Isuroon is dedicated to building Somali women and girls social connectedness and self-sufficiency so that they can lead healthier, more productive lives in Minnesota and globally.

Facebook // Twitter // Donate

Model Cities

Model Cities of Saint Paul seeks to provide social and economic prosperity by providing access to opportunities that stabilize and develop families and communities.

Facebook // Twitter // Donate

NAACP Minneapolis

NAACP Minneapolis’ mission is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.

Twitter // Donate

Nexus Community Partners

Nexus Community Partners is building more engaged and powerful communities of color by supporting initiatives that expand community wealth and foster social and human capital.

Facebook // Twitter // Donate

Northside Achievement Zone

The Northside Achievement Zone’s mission is to end generational poverty and build a culture in North Minneapolis where all low-income children of color graduate from high school college-ready and career-ready.

Facebook // Twitter // Donate

Penumbra Theatre

The Penumbra Theatre creates professional productions that are artistically excellent, thought-provoking, relevant, and illuminate the human condition through the prism of the African American experience.

Facebook // Twitter // Donate

Pimento Relief Fund

The Pimento Relief Fund is working to provide Black business without insurance relief after White supremacists set them on fire during the protests.

Twitter// Donate

Reclaim the Block

Reclaim the Block organizes Minneapolis community and city council members to move money from the police department into other areas of the city’s budget that truly promote community health and safety.

Facebook // Twitter // Donate

TruArtSpeaks

TruArtSpeaks aims to cultivate literacy, leadership and social justice through the study and application of spoken word and hip hop culture.

Facebook // Twitter // Donate

Urban League Twin Cities

Urban League Twin Cities links African descendants and other people of color to opportunities that result in economic success and prosperity.

Facebook // Twitter // Donate

Ujamaa Place

Ujamaa Place’s mission is to empower young Black men to change their behavior through redefining their concepts of themselves, manhood, success and positive community values.

Facebook // Twitter // Donate

Voices for Racial Justice

Voices for Racial Justice is an organization committed to building power through collective cultural and healing strategies for racial justice across Minnesota using organizing, leadership training, community policy and research.

Facebook // Twitter // Donate

Walker|West Music

Walker|West Music creates a music learning community rooted in the African-American cultural experience, where people of all ages and backgrounds can gather, explore and grow through music.

Facebook // Twitter // Donate

Way to Grow

Way to Grow is a nonprofit that works to ensure that children within the most isolated families are born healthy, stay healthy and are prepared for school.

Facebook // Twitter // Donate

Youthprise

Youthprise’s mission is to increase equity with and for Minnesota’s indigenous, low-income, and racially diverse youth.

Facebook // Twitter // Donate


Additional nonprofit features on Give Me The Mike

migizi minneapolis

Supporting MN nonprofits damaged after protests

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Minnesota camp serving youth living with or affected by HIV/AIDS forced to cancel in 2020

labeled can lot on shelves
Photo by edwin josu00e9 vega ramos on Pexels.com

Organizations providing food to Minneapolis and Saint Paul residents, plus ways you can help

Organizations providing food to Minneapolis and Saint Paul residents, plus ways you can help

The killing of George Floyd left people around the world desperately searching for justice.

In the immediate hours after the devastation in Minneapolis, an incredible amount of Minnesotans came through with donations of food, first aid supplies and more. So much so, organizations had to turn donors away.

However, it will take years to rebuild Minneapolis. A major concern for residents is where they will get food. For many, the stores they relied on were looted or burned. Thousands of Minneapolis residents already lived in ‘food deserts’, that number has significantly grown. Hopping in a car to drive to a suburban grocery store is a luxury many don’t have.

Here is your opportunity to help the helpers. Below are organizations embedded in the communities most impacted by damage from riots, along with ways you can support their efforts. Remember, cash donations are always the best ways you can give.

If you know of another group not listed below, please email me.


The Aliveness Project

  • The Aliveness Project offers a meal program and food shelf to those living with HIV.
  • Located at 38th and Nicollet, The Aliveness Project is near the area most impacted.
  • Donate to The Aliveness Project here.

Bethlehem Lutheran Church in the Midway

Calvary Lutheran Church

  • Located at 39th and Chicago in Minneapolis, Calvary Lutheran Church’s food shelf serves the Bryant neighborhood and neighboring communities.
  • Their Pastor has a statement about the killing of George Floyd on their website.
  • Donate to Calvary Lutheran Church’s food shelf here. Per their Facebook post above, cash donations are best.

Center for Asians and Pacific Islanders (CAPI)

  • CAPI serves more than 4,000 low-income immigrants, refugees and people of color living primarily in Hennepin County. They have a location on Lake Street along with their headquarters in Brooklyn Center.
  • Their food distribution program provides a total of 450,000 pounds of food per year.
  • Donate to CAPI here.

Community Emergency Service (CES)

  • CES operates out of the former Emanuel Methodist Church building, located on the corner of 11th Avenue and 19th Street in Minneapolis. They serve the Phillips neighborhood along with other portions of north and south Minneapolis.
  • Each month, CES distributes about 23 tons of food through all of the CES food distributions. Guests can visit the food shelf once a month.
  • Donate to CES here.

Division of Indian Work

  • The Division of Indian Work strengthens urban American Indian people through culturally-based education, traditional healing approaches, and leadership development. Their offices are on Lake Street, nearly Midtown Global Market.
  • Per the Facebook post above, cash donations are best. If you prefer to donate goods, please email them first, as they just don’t have the space at this time to store items. Plus, staff are unable to get to the food shelf.
  • Donate to the Division of Indian Work here.

The Food Group

  • Based in New Hope, The Food Group serves 32 counties in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
  • Their Fare for All program offers affordable groceries and packages of produce and meat for up to 40% off retail prices.
  • Donate to The Food Group here.

House of Charity

  • Based in downtown Minneapolis, House of Charity started in the early 1950s. It houses 116 men and women who have experienced homelessness.
  • The nonprofit feeds more than 350 people a day during a public lunch, held daily from 12:00 – 1:00 pm. Details here.
  • House of Charity is always in need of food. Click here for specific details.
  • Donate cash to House of Charity here.

Open Arms of Minnesota

  • Open Arms of Minnesota makes and delivers free meals to those living with cancer, HIV/AIDS, MS, ALS and other life-threatening illnesses. Many clients live in impacted areas.
  • Their office at 25th and Bloomington in Minneapolis is 1.5 miles from the epicenter of damage on Lake Street. Open Arms had to board up windows.
  • Donate to Open Arms of Minnesota here.

Pillsbury United Communities

  • For over 140 years, Pillsbury United Communities has provided foundations for full, healthy lives for children and families in various parts of Minneapolis.
  • Their food programs are open to all, with no income or ZIP code restrictions. First-time food shelf visitors will be asked to complete a short registration.
  • Donate to Pillsbury United Communities here.

Simpson Food Pantry

  • An outreach of Simpson United Methodist Church in Minneapolis, Simpson Food Pantry serves those living in the Whittier neighborhood of Minneapolis: Franklin Avenue on the north, Lake Street on the south, Lyndale Avenue on the west, and Portland Avenue on the east.
  • Sampson Food Pantry gives away free produce on Tuesdays.
  • Donate to Simpson Food Pantry via this GoFundMe page.

Additional Resources


Related Articles on Give Me The Mike

migizi minneapolis

Helping the nonprofits damaged by destruction in Minneapolis

Helping the Helpers: Supporting MN nonprofits after protests

Nonprofits value social responsibility, community, justice and hope. Online, many of those groups have expressed solidarity with those seeking justice for the killing of George Floyd.

As protests continue, nonprofits, the organizations who tirelessly give to our neighbors, were caught in the crossfire. Within minutes, decades of history were erased as property burned. Windows were smashed.

Time and time again, Minnesotans are so generous. They help their neighbors. They share a mission to make this state an incredible place to live.

If you know of a nonprofit damaged that is not listed below, please contact me. I work for a nonprofit and this is a topic that makes me incredibly emotional.

Please support our nonprofit partners. Stay safe.


Ananya Dance Theatre

  • Ananya creates original dance theater, drawing on social justice themes inspired by the lives and stories of women around the globe.

  • According to their Facebook page, a street-side window was shattered along University Avenue at Ananya Dance Theatre’s Shawngram Institute for Performance & Social Justice in Saint Paul.
  • Click here to donate.

Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota

  • Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota provides job training, education and job placement services to people in our community.
  • Their Saint Paul store was broken into and affected by neighboring fires. In addition, their Gina + Will store was also affected and remains closed.
  • Goodwill-Easter Seals also evacuated several store and service locations as a precautionary measure on Thursday.
  • Click here to donate.

MIGIZI

  • MIGIZI acts as a circle of support that nurtures the development of Native American youth in order to unleash their creativity and dreams – to benefit themselves, their families and community. 
  • There is significant damage to their space in terms of possessions and infrastructure.
  • “The best way to help MIGIZI is to help pray for our community and the Nation at hand.”
  • According to the organization, if people wish to help with reconstruction, they gladly and graciously accept that as well.
  • Click here to donate.

Minnesota Transitions Charter School

  • Minnesota Transitions Charter School is a tuition-free, public school, offering brick-and-mortar along with online options for students in grades K-12. One campus, P.E.A.S.E., is a transitional school for teenagers coming out of treatment.
  • According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the school was looted and experienced water damage.
  • MTCS is in Minnehaha Center, the strip mall next to the Target on Lake Street which was one of the first businesses to be looted.
  • Click here to donate.

Open Door Learning Center

  • The Open Door Learning Center has been serving immigrants and refugees in the Twin Cities for years.
  • According to their Facebook page, officials know many of the buildings surrounding their location on Lake Street are decimated.
  • Click here to donate.

Springboard for the Arts

  • Springboard is working towards a day when every artist in the US has access to the tools they need to make a living and a life and impact their community, and where every community in the US has access to their local creative capacity.
  • According to their Facebook page, Springboard’s offices and community hall on University Avenue were impacted by property damage and fire on May 28.
  • Click here to donate.

In addition to the above nonprofits, the Minneapolis Central Library on Nicollet Mall experienced smashed windows and graffiti and the East Lake Library experienced burned books and a lot of mess.


Helping the Helpers

The impromptu food drives to help Minneapolis residents now without grocery stores is incredibly heartwarming. Organizations are overwhelmed by the response and need time to distribute and sort goods.

Remember that cash donations have a longer shelf life to a nonprofit and can be used at a moment’s notice.

The Sheridan Story, an amazing organization already providing meals to children in Minneapolis, asks that you give to your local food shelf. If you would like to make a monetary donation to The Sheridan Story, click here.

Check the following Facebook pages for ongoing updates on how you can best help:

The City of Minneapolis is managing donations of food, cleaning supplies, homemade masks and more. They have webpages for those looking to donate items and request items.


More Resources for Minnesotans

Minnesota camp serving youth living with or affected by HIV/AIDS forced to cancel in 2020


In my Serve Our Society series, I shine the spotlight on nonprofits to see how COVID-19 has impacted them. If you would like to nominate an organization to be featured, please contact mike@givemethemike.com.


Originally published in Lavender Magazine, May 2020

It’s one week where kids can truly be themselves, and hundreds of campers look forward to it all year. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the camps for youth living with or affected by HIV/AIDS, operated by One Heartland, are canceled, leaving the nonprofit facing an uncertain future.

Since 1993, Minneapolis-based One Heartland has provided camping to young people who didn’t have anywhere else to go. One Heartland Executive Director, Patrick Kindler, describes campers as, “Young people who are socially isolated, stigmatized and bullied. We provide a program where these young people can meet others dealing with similar circumstances where we provide a safe, supportive environment where they thrive and feel celebrated.”

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Since 1993, Minneapolis-based nonprofit One Heartland has provided camping to young people who didn’t have anywhere else to go. COVID-19 forced them to cancel their camps in 2020. Photo courtesy of One Heartland

One Heartland operates camp in Willow River, Minnesota, for youth ages seven to 17 years old. Before COVID-19 changed society, the nonprofit was planning a new session specifically for transgender and gender expansive youth. They were excited for Camp True Colors, a program dedicated to LGBT young people.

One Heartland also has a partner program in California that has deep roots in the entertainment industry, offering youth living with or affected by HIV/AIDS the opportunity to unlock their inner Hollywood star.

According to Kindler, “What makes One Heartland’s camps different is how it makes our young people feel. Our staff are for the most part either former campers or young people who come from the populations we serve.”

That includes Dallas Turner, originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Her journey with One Heartland started at age 11, when she first attended as a camper. “I arrived to a wonderful place where smiles and warmth is all you see,” Turner tells Lavender.

Turner describes that One Heartland campers get to participate in a wide variety of skills, including gardening, biking, field sports, swimming, outdoor adventure and more.

“After all skills, camp gets ready for evening program, where camp turns into a magical place and all the staff are crazy characters going on crazy adventures. And with the help of campers, the adventures are always a success,” Turner says.

Turner has since decided to pay it forward, and is now on the Camp Heartland staff. “Becoming staff after all the years growing in the program was a huge deal to me. I wanted to be a part of the camp’s magic and once I saw behind the scenes, it’s what made me appreciate camp even more. Camp is an amazing experience. It’s family, it’s love, and laughter. It’s a support system that I will always cherish and love.”

Former camper Shawn Bryde also has a love for One Heartland. The Norfolk, Nebraska resident attended camp for three years starting at age 14, and then became a junior counselor when he was 17.

“I didn’t even know the camp existed until a few hours before I left for Minnesota. I had originally planned to go on a mission trip with my church that summer. But as I was a transgender 14-year-old living in Nebraska, my then pastor was uncomfortable with me. Days before we were to leave for the trip, he told me and my family I wouldn’t be allowed to go unless I went by my dead name and she/her pronouns. Luckily though, my parents had heard of Camp True Colors and contacted the directors. Even though the session had already started, they gave me and my family the okay and told us they were excited to have me. So instead of staying home to be upset at the church, my dad and I drove nine hours to the camp.”

That summer, Bryde found friends he would stay in touch with for years. “We are still very close, despite the distance and the fact we only see each other in the summer. A core group of us have been talking ever since we met as campers.”

One Heartland plays a vital role in the LGBT community. “Pretty much anyone in the LGBT+ community can relate to not feeling accepted,” Bryde tells Lavender. “Not only does One Heartland provide a camp for LGBT+ kids who feel this way, but also camps for children in housing instability, and children who are affected by HIV/AIDS. Every child deserves a fantastic summer camp experience, and camp One Heartland is just the place.”

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One Heartland, a camp serving youth living with or affected by HIV/AIDS, is based in Willow River, Minnesota. The nonprofit also runs a camp for GLBT youth. Photo courtesy of One Heartland

The future of One Heartland

COVID-19 forced One Heartland to cancel all of its camps for 2020. “So many of our campers call One Heartland their ‘home away from home.’ Imagine something taking that away from you,” Kindler says.

One Heartland’s losses for the current fiscal year come in around $750,000. Due to the coronavirus, they had to cancel two fundraising events, and most of their rental groups have canceled. They cut three-quarters of their staff and reduced expenses everywhere possible. “We are working remotely and will be closing our office in Minneapolis in order to save money,” Kindler says.

One Heartland is working hard to make sure they can return in 2021. The youth who experience camp are counting on it. Kindler adds, “I can’t even begin to tell you how many times caregivers have told us their kids start packing their camp luggage months in advance.”

You can help One Heartland continue their mission by making a financial contribution. Donations of any size are welcome on their website, www.oneheartland.org. You can also start a fundraiser for the nonprofit through Facebook.

A list of drive-in theaters open around Minnesota, and how they’re adapting to COVID guidelines

As the country slowly begins to reopen amid COVID-19, people are looking for ways to stay entertain. And with the summer months here, drive-in movie theaters are a great way to practice social distancing while getting out of the house. Here’s a list of drive-in theaters ready to welcome you, along with ways many of them are adapting to new guidelines.

elko

Elko Speedway, Elko

  • Elko is right off of 35, less than 45 minutes south of Downtown Minneapolis.
  • Gates open at 8:00 pm and only one movie is shown per night. The movie starts after sunset.
  • The Elko Drive-In Theater runs Thursday – Sunday nights beginning May 23, 2020.
  • As of May 18, no COVID-19 specific guidelines were listed on their website or social media.
  • Admission is $10 for adults 13 and older, $5 for kids 4 – 12 (3 and under are free). Tickets can be purchased online.

long prairie

Long Drive-In Theater, Long Prairie

  • Long Prairie is just over two hours northwest of Downtown Minneapolis.
  • Long runs one screen, showing two movies. The first movie during Memorial Day weekend starts at 8:30 pm.
  • Cars must be parked six feet apart.
  • Overnight camping, which is typically allowed, is suspended.
  • You must stay inside your car to watch the movie. You can sit in the back of a pickup truck or in the trunk of a SUV with the hatch open.
  • Limited concessions will be available.
  • Additional portable restrooms are added and will be cleaned every 30 minutes.
  • Admission is $7 for adults 12 and older, $3 for kids 6 – 11 (5 and under are free).
  • They have a page dedicated to how they’re reopening amid COVID.

star lite

Starlite Drive-In Theater, Litchfield

  • Litchfield is about 90 minutes west of Downtown Minneapolis.
  • Starlite runs two screens. The screens run the same movies, but in reverse order.
  • Parking in each lot is limited to 50% capacity. Cars must be parked at least six feet apart from each other.
  • You must stay inside your car to watch the movie. Lawn chairs are not allowed. You can leave your car to visit the restroom and the snack bar. Masks are recommended when you are outside your vehicle.
  • The snack bar is limited to 10 people at a time.
  • Admission is $8 for adults 13 and older, $4 for kids 5 – 12 (4 and under are free).
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Superior 71 Drive-In Theater is just south of the Minnesota-Iowa border. Photo courtesy Superior 71 Drive-In Theater

Superior 71 Drive-In Theater, Spirit Lake, Iowa

  • Spirit Lake, Iowa is just short of three hours south of Minneapolis.
  • Showing first run double features.
  • Currently, doors open at 7:00 pm and first movie begins at 9:00 pm.
  • They have two screens; one with family-friendly movies (PG) and one with Rated R films.
  • Families must stay six feet apart from each other.
  • Cars park six feet apart from each other.
  • Playgrounds are off limits.
  • They have a page dedicated to how they’re reopening amid COVID.

Minnesota drive-in theaters not open as of May 18, 2020

 

More COVID-19 resources on Give Me The Mike

grayscale photography of assorted shirts hanged on clothes rack
Photo by Tembela Bohle on Pexels.com

Where Minnesotans can donate clothing and household goods during COVID-19

Hope Breakfast Bar

A growing list of programs and restaurants offering food to families in Minnesota

hair donation

Don’t cut your hair during quarantine. Let it grow…and donate it

You Betcha: Brush up on your Minnesota slang

As you’ll see in the movies Fargo and Drop Dead Gorgeous, Minnesotans are known for elongating the letters a and o in speech (boooat, baaag). But if you want to sound more like a native, use these terms:

  • 94, 35W, 62 = Highways/interstates (don’t say ‘I-494’ or ‘Interstate 35 West’)
  • Aquatennial = The summer festival for the city of Minneapolis
  • “Borrow me” = to lend; similar usage as other parts of the country; example, “will you borrow me a dollar?”
  • Breezers = hockey pants
  • “The cabin” = anything that you travel to “up north” (see definition below); could be a house, cabin, trailer, etc
  • “Could be worse” = What a Minnesotan says after hearing bad news. Bob: “Barb, I got in a car accident. The headlight is smashed, but that’s about it.” Barb: “Could be worse.”
  • Crosstown = Also known as Highway 62; runs parallel to 94 in the metro and travels just north of the airport
  • “Darn tootin!” = use that phrase anytime you want to say “damn right!”
  • Dinkytown = an area near the University of Minnesota filled with bars and restaurants
  • “Dontcha know” = slang for ‘don’t you know’; it’s used mostly as filler at the end of sentences and usually is said to envoke a response; example, “Barb and her husband just moved from Brainerd to Bemidji, dontcha know.”
  • Duck, duck, grey duck = what everyone else calls ‘duck, duck, goose’; while playing the game, you announce colors of ducks (blue duck, yellow duck) and the person who is ‘it’ is the grey duck
  • Eat Street = a diverse array of locally-owned restaurants along Nicollet Avenue starting just south of downtown Minneapolis; it doesn’t get the attention it deserves
  • “Fer cute” = see definition of “Oh for cute” below
  • “For cripes sake!” = Mild anger
  • “Geez” or “Geez Louise” = disbelief; use when “Oh for Pete’s sake!” (definition below) is too dramatic
  • “Good grief” = exhaustion; also used by Charlie Brown (the Peanuts were created by Minnesotan Charles Schulz)
  • “Gosh darn it” = signifies disappointment
FullSizeRender 159.jpg
The Minnesota State Fair draws upwards to two million visitors during its 12 day run.
  • The Great Minnesota Get Together = the Minnesota State Fair, a 12 day extravaganza held at the end of summer (check out my ultimate State Fair guide here)
  • Hot dish = what others would call a casserole, most popular is the tater tot hot dish
  • “Interesting” or “that’s interesting” = a passive-aggressive phrase used when something should be judged and critiqued but the Minnesotan saying it doesn’t want to explain their reasoning because they feel it would be offensive
  • “Ish” = something is gross or yucky
  • Jell-O salad = this is not marshmallow fluff; Jell-O Salad is flavored gelatin — aka Jell-O — with fruit, vegetables, marshmallows, nuts, and maybe even cottage cheese inside
  • “Jesus, Mary and Joseph!” = an exclamation which typically signifies fear; used by Kristie Alley’s character in the movie, “Drop Dead Gorgeous”, a fictional mockumentary set in Minnesota
  • Juicy (or Jucy) Lucy = a hamburger stuffed with molten-hot cheese; there’s much debate about which restaurant serves the original (and best) one…they even spell it differently
  • “Kinda spendy” = an expression used to express that something is more expensive than one thought it would or should be; example, “Gosh Barb, that hat is kinda spendy”
  • Kitty-corner = Diagonally across from you
  • “Kranz” = how to pronounce ‘crayons’; a select few will call them “color kranz”
  • The Loop = the ring surrounding Minneapolis and Saint Paul by Interstates 494 and 694; not to be confused with the North Loop (definition below)
  • Meat raffle = usually held at a VFW or bar; you buy a ticket, someone spins a wheel filled with numbers, and if it lands on your number, you get to take home various cuts of meat from a butcher shop (check out my roundup of the 5 best meat raffles in Minnesota)
  • MOA = Mall of America
  • McGolden or Mich Golden = Michelob Golden Light, a beer popular with Minnesotans
  • Midtown Greenway = a bike and pedestrian friendly trail running through the heart of Minneapolis (south of downtown)
  • Minnesota goodbye = the opposite of an Irish Goodbye or French Goodbye; typically means you’ll stand around for 20 minutes saying goodbye before people actually leave
  • Minnesota nice = outside of Minnesota, it means the friendly strangers and hospitality you’ll encounter here; to some Minnesotans, it equates to the passive-aggressiveness you’ll encounter with the people who live here
  • Nicollet Mall = about 12 blocks in downtown Minneapolis closed off to car traffic (buses and taxis welcome) with restaurants and shopping; to Minnesotans, it’s a sore subject as the re-construction took way too long

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  • Northeast = hip Minneapolis neighborhood just across the Mississippi River from downtown; also referred as Nord’east (Nord’east also happens to be the name of a beer)
  • North = The identity and branding of Minnesota as ‘The North’; you’ll see it on merchandise; North is also is a neighborhood in Minneapolis
  • North Loop = vibrant area full of top-notch restaurants to the northwest of downtown; not the same neighborhood as North Minneapolis
  • “Oh fer crying out loud!” = frustration; it’s reserved for true anger
  • “Oh for cute!” or “Fer cute!”= to exclaim something is adorable
  • “Oh for Pete’s sake!” = an exclamation that something is unbelievable; typically not about a guy named Pete
  • “Oh ya” = see definition for “ya” below
  • “Okie dokie” = said in agreement or to replace ‘yes’; example, “Hey Barb, can you fax those documents?” “Okie dokie!”
  • “Ope!” = an expression of discovery; example, “Ope! So that’s where I left my car keys.” Can also be used in exchange for ‘excuse me’; as in, “Ope! Sorry, I just need to sneak past ya there.”
  • “Out and about” = to head out of the house, perhaps to run errands; example, “Hun, I’m going out and about.”
  • Outstate = anywhere in Minnesota outside of the Twin Cities metro
  • Pop = soda or Coke; it is all called pop
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Skol artwork inside U.S. Bank Stadium
  • Skol = most commonly used by the Minnesota Vikings; a Scandinavian term meaning “cheers” or “good health”
  • Skyway = indoor links, mostly on the second level, connecting buildings in both downtowns
  • Stadium Village = an area on the U of M campus with the University’s sport venues — TCF Bank Stadium, Mariucci Arena and Williams Arena (aka The Barn)
  • Strib = nickname for the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper
  • Supperclub = a restaurant, typically in a smaller town, that is the fine dining establishment for the community; expect to find a relish tray, wood paneling on the walls, multiple types of potatoes and a good old fashioned cocktail
  • The Cities = a collective term describing Minneapolis and Saint Paul; also known as the ‘Sin Cities’
  • U of M = University of Minnesota; also referred as ‘The U’
  • “Uffda” (also spelled: oofda, oofdah) = an exclamation or interjection; shows dismay, surprise, or being overwhelmed; example, “Uffda! Listening to Barb talk about her Florida vacation for an hour was tiring.”
  • “Unthaw” = an expression used after spending time in the cold; a human could unthaw after being outside in the winter; you could also unthaw hamburger from the freezer
  • Up north = anywhere in Minnesota north of 94 and outside of the metro; doesn’t matter if it’s northwest, north or northeast; it is mentioned as “going up north”
  • Uptown = south of downtown Minneapolis
  • “Ya” or “ya sure” = yes; if it’s pronounced as “Ya. Sure.” with pauses between the words, that means there’s a level or passive-aggressiveness/sarcasm coming from the person who said it
  • “Ya know” = see definition for ‘dontcha know’ above
  • “You betcha” = a phrase declaring you agree
  • “Yous guys” = referring to a group of people

Know Minnesota slang that should be on this list? Let me know on Facebook or Twitter!

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When adversity hits: handling misfortune during COVID-19


ad·ver·si·ty

/ədˈvərsədē/

noun

difficulties; misfortune.


COVID-19 reshaped our society. Millions more Americans have turned to food shelves and rely on unemployment checks for support. For many, finding the money to pay rent and put dinner on the table can be extremely stressful. 

It’s these moments of adversity which ultimately make us stronger. Knowing that you passed these hurdles will help you overcome future hardships, whether they’re financial, mental, physical or emotional.

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Me and my mom, Patricia, in 2003.

Unfortunately, overcoming adversity was something I faced at a relatively young age. My mom, Pat, died when I was 17. She was diagnosed with cancer in August 2003, and before October ended, we said goodbye. Her loss left a dark hole in my family. I experienced a crash course on how to juggle emotions during my senior year of high school.

My dad suffered a stroke when I was 24. We didn’t know if he had a health care directive, so I had to make the difficult choice on whether we should keep him on life support. We decided to say goodbye. 

When I was 27, I was diagnosed with epilepsy. I was working when my first seizure occurred, and the grand mal seizures came from nowhere. Epilepsy does not run in my family, so it was a surprise.

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Preparing for a sleep study to determine how my seizures are triggered.

Through all this, I learned that it’s not a question of if adversity hits, it’s when. And when misfortunes happen, you need to go one day at a time. You learn to celebrate minor victories.

I also discovered you can’t let life pass you by. Make the most of what you have and who you have. No matter what happens, you still have the ability to achieve greatness.

Living the definition of adversity

Through my time volunteering with the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota, I have heard incredible stories of families who overcome adversity, despite the hardships and hurdles they face every single day.

Carrie Buck, her husband, Chuck Semrow, and their son, Cody, live the definition of adversity. When Cody was two years-old, he experienced his first seizure in the middle of the night. He was taken to the emergency room, but was sent home. 

“About 10 months later, he had what appeared to be another seizure in his sleep, arms and legs rigid, head tipped back, and making a noise like he was choking on something,” Carrie recalls. “This time though, he didn’t have a fever, didn’t stop breathing, and regained consciousness after it, so I thought it was just something else that he was doing in his sleep.” 

Fast forward four months, and Cody experienced another episode. After a visit to a primary care doctor and a neurologist, he was diagnosed with epilepsy. “We sat stunned,” Carrie says. “There was a young man at church who had epilepsy. He wore a bandana around his neck to catch drool, shuffled when he walked, and was largely nonverbal. My husband and I both had the same thought, ‘That’s what’s going to happen to Cody?!’”

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Cody going through an electroencephalogram (EEG). Photo courtesy Carrie Buck

Originally, Cody’s childhood epilepsy was a diagnosis doctors thought he could outgrow. Three years later, an MRI reading identified a structural defect in part of his brain called a focal cortical dysplasia which meant he will never overcome epilepsy. Later, Cody was also diagnosed with a second, rare type of epilepsy and has tried five different medications, one which actually started causing seizures.”

“Cody’s seizure frequency worsened a few years ago. He went from usually one every couple of months to six seizures in three weeks, at which point his doctor said it was time to start surgical assessments,” Carrie says. 

Despite years of seizures and electroencephalograms (EEGs), one of Cody’s seizures was never caught on an EEG, which helps confirm the origin of the seizure. For five days, doctors forced sleep deprivation and reduced medications to witness a seizure. Unfortunately, nothing noteworthy was captured. 

“There is nothing predictable about epilepsy, and since it is so individualized with dozens of reasons someone might have a seizure, there is no clear, one size fits all approach,” Carrie notes. “Despite extensive education and experience, even the experts can’t say for sure what will happen in the future for Cody. And that has maybe been the hardest part of epilepsy. There are so few answers and so many unknowns.”

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Even before COVID-19, Carrie, Chuck and Cody were masters of sacrifice. Photo courtesy Carrie Buck

How to overcome adversity

The journey with epilepsy trained Cody and his family in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. “We have had to make many changes to our schedules and expectations of what we can do, both socially and in service to others,” says Carrie. “We live within those parameters and understand sacrificing a night out, like sacrificing going to school right now or running quickly to the store for something, is just what we need to do. We have a very different ‘normal’ from most people, and most people now have a very different ‘normal’ from their old lives. This is for a purpose, though, and keeping that in mind can help. It is the new normal for now, not forever.”

Through the journey, Carrie has learned to be thankful for every day. “I write in a gratitude journal every morning at least three things from the previous day that I am grateful for, even if it’s something as simple as the really loud cardinal singing in my backyard. As a family, we also say every night what we were grateful for from the day. Cody has been grateful for his pillow and blankets and bed. That might sound foolish or forced to an adult but we really are fortunate that we have those things.”

To keep perspective, Carrie has posted ‘Gratitude Tuesdays’ on her Facebook page several times since COVID-19 hit. Her first post was how she was grateful for a home in which her family can shelter in place.

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Adversity has made this trio stronger. Photo courtesy Carrie Buck

Music plays a big role in her family. “When we drive somewhere, even just a few minutes away, we play music. We listen to songs that bring us hope, that are uplifting, sometimes songs that make us cry when that is what we need,” Carrie says. “During some of the worst days of epilepsy, I had music playing on both floors of our house so when I went to the basement, the same song was playing on the radio that was playing upstairs in my kitchen. I have found when I don’t sing, it’s too easy to get stuck inside my head and that’s often a depressing or angry place.  When I sing, I have hope and don’t feel so alone.”

And it is completely fine if emotion overwhelms you. Carrie says, “On those really bad days, when I just can’t stop crying or reach out to someone else, I try to give myself some kindness and just accept that’s where I’m at today. I try to rest. I try to let go of expectations of what I should get done, let go of guilt about not getting enough done, or not reaching out to someone the way I think I should. Some days you just can’t do more than survive. And that’s okay.”

“The adversity we have experienced from battling epilepsy has tried to take away our joy. It has tried to diminish life, our enjoyment, awe, and gratitude for it. It has tried to make the future scary and dark. It has also made us stronger.”

Carrie continues, “Adversity makes you think it will win. Sometimes it does. It also makes you think you are alone. If you are alone in adversity right now, reach out. Now. Reach out to a family member, a friend, a coworker, a church, any of the incredible social service agencies the Twin Cities are blessed to have, a support group, your child’s teacher, a neighbor.” 

“If you are actually surviving the pandemic relatively well, reach out! Reach out to someone not as fortunate as you are. Donate food to food shelves or money to any of the social service agencies in the Twin Cities or a local church. Check on your extended family, friends, and neighbors. What we have learned in all of our adversity is to ask for help when we need it and to offer it whenever we can.”

Together, we will get through this adversity and whatever else may come our way.

One in 10 people will experience a seizure in their lifetime. The Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota provides great resources for those who have experienced seizures and families who face the adversity of an epilepsy diagnosis. Connect with them at www.epilepsyfoundationmn.org.