I love to learn and take classes. If I was a billionaire I most likely would have been in college forever. Taking edX online classes helps fill that need for lifelong learning and they are free. That is the best part.
Edx is a non-profit started by Harvard and MIT and the goal is to bring the best of higher education all around the world. I think it is accomplishing its goal.
The class that I am currently taking is on Science and Cooking and to me it is unreal that this is offered on the internet for free. The first part that I am working on is heavily chemistry focused which is something that I hated in high school. I had a good teacher in college that did what this class does well, it uses real examples to demonstrate chemistry.
This class will add to my knowledge of food and cooking and make me a more inventive cook by having a better understanding of the science of cooking.
If Science and Cooking isn’t your thing, there are many other classes listed out there for you to try. There are several classes on poetry coming up soon. You could take a class on computer science or linear algebra. There is even a class about China.
Another thing that I like about edX is that it is completely on your schedule. Yes, when the classes offer certificates you have due dates but, this course seems to have a really great timeline to get it done.
If you are not working towards the certificate you can just have fun learning on the site.
You can find the website for edX here: https://www.edx.org/
because learning something new is always fun.
Have you taken any classes from edX? What did you think? Are you going to try it out?
The fair can be expensive but you can still do and see some really wonderful things for free or cheap.
Here are a few of my FREE picks:
I love the DNR building. I can spend a good bit of time watching all the fish in the pond and in the new indoor fish exhibit. I hear there is a huge sturgeon in there this year.
You can also get a free lake map from the DNR. In the past, they have had someone outside at a little store selling fishing licenses but they will also give you a copy of a lake map if you know the name of the lake and the county it is in. Yes, there are 30 Long Lakes in Minnesota.
Head over to the Eco Experience building, they have many free demonstrations each day. I am interested in many of the topics such as vertical gardening, rain barrels, eco fashion, straw bale gardening, healthy local foods cooking demonstrations, and chickens in the city. I mean where else can you learn how to become an urban chicken farmer?
You can look at the full schedule at the Eco Experience HERE.
Minnesota Public Radio broadcasts from the fair and many times they have performances from musical artists that are performing later that night. P.O.S. will be at the MPR booth on August 29th at 4PM and the pre-show music-on-a-stick is from 3-5PM on August 30th.
See the full schedule at the MPR booth HERE.
There is free entertainment on many different stages at all times of the day. I think this is one of the best benefits of coming to the Fair.
Here are my picks:
Hanson- Known for their hit from the 90’s MMMBop, they are making a come back. August 26-27 at 8:30PM.
Jared Sherlock- Great for families, Jared is a magician who will surprise and amaze you. September 1-2 at 10:30AM , 11:30AM , and 3:00PM.
The Okee Dokee Brothers- Great for families, these Grammy award winners are fun and know how to get your children dancing. August 24-25 at 10:30AM , 11:30AM , and 3:00PM.
The full schedule is available HERE.
Always do the free park and ride or bike to the fair. It is way less hassle then trying to park at the fair.
If you volunteer at the fair usually you get in for free. If you have some extra time and know of a place where you want to volunteer, it is a great way to do something good and get in free.
You can listen to people sing “Call Me Maybe” at The Giant Sing Along for free or even sing along yourself. If you are into that kind of thing.
Not sure where this is at the fair, but the Boy Scouts have a climbing area for kids and it is free.
It is free to walk through the Fine Arts building. You will get to see art from local artists and the building is air conditioned.
If you are looking for free swag, don’t miss the Education Building where most of the colleges give away something such as the purple St. Thomas bag. All of the news stations and construction type companies give away stuff at certain times during the day. Stop by early on to see when you get in line for free stuff. KARE 11 is giving away blue sun glasses, Home Depot usually does make it and take it crafts, and Menards has nail aprons.
I also suspect the health fair will be giving away pretty neat stuff this year since MNSure is launching and Healthcare Reform is underway.
Gopher State One Call is giving away free bright colored yardsticks if you promise that you will call before you dig. They are located across from the Giant Slide. Give it to your favorite teacher as a beginning of the school year gift.
You can see a list of all the free items on this deal list HERE.
Here is a list of cheap items at the Fair:
Get an Apple Cider Freeze in the Ag/Hort building, they are only $1 and made from cider from the Pine Tree Apple Orchard in White Bear Lake.
Also in the Ag/Hort building you can get a Honey Stick from Mademoiselle Miel for only 50 cents. They have a smoked scotch version that I have to try. Plus, the money goes to benefit the University of Minnesota Bee Lab.
All you can drink milk for $1 is always a favorite of mine. I can taste the freshness of the milk and it actually is quite refreshing.
Because many of the best things in life are free
What is your favorite free thing to do at the fair?
Who actually offers cooking classes for free? Well, yumPower does.
Want to learn healthy recipes? Are you in a food rut and sick of making the same meals over and over?
There are free cooking classes with Cooks of Crocus Hill that are being offered in connection with yumPower! Go to the yumPower website and sign up. They are being held at both the Shoreview Community Center and the Saint Louis Park Rec Center from 6:30-8:30PM on a few dates in September-November. You can choose from the topics of Ditch the Diet or Family Meals in Minutes.
Along with walking away with new recipes and skills you will also get a swag bag for attending the class.
Remember those hilarious commercials with Andrew Zimmern from Bizzare Foods eating spiders with children during lunch? That commercial is part of the yumPower campaign to help people eat healthier. A topic that Andrew is passionate about. He decided to partner with Health Partners a health insurance provider in Minnesota who started the yumPower campaign and recently teamed up with Park Nicollet. But, you do not have to be a Health Partners member to go to the cooking classes or to use the website.
This is only one part of what the health insurance companies in Minnesota are starting to try and combat obesity. The yumPower website offers a restaurant locator which shows you healthier items on the menu and a My Kitchen section that offers healthy recipes.
because what is better than something fun that is free!
When cat-ladies and gents are called to assemble, they do. 10,000 people came out for the first Internet Cat Video Festival at The Walker Art Center last night. As part of their open field programming, people watched cat videos together laughing along at the hilarious kitties. Seriously, what could be better than people watching internet videos communally in a shared experience?
The cat-lady-in-residence at The Walker couldn’t resist the idea of getting together her people to enjoy something together that is normally watched behind a computer screen when you need a break from that project at work that never ends.
Lots of other people liked that idea as well. Not only did this #CatVidFest get local attention from The City Pages, it got national attention from the Huffington Post and BBC news. My cat Nuggs loved going and getting attention from all the cat lovers in the audience.
It can be best described by me in one word: fun. A group of women sitting by me were there to celebrate a birthday and had brought some snacks and boxed wine (don’t tell). There were children as well as older adults sitting by each other all laughing at the funny things that cats do. It was a great event to go to on a Thursday night.
I hope that The Walker decides to do this again and does an entry for local cat videos. They also might want to think about more parking because of how popular this event was.
People are starting to discover the great programming that The Walker Art Center offers, for FREE. I can remember coming to the Walker Sculpture Garden as a child on field trips and being able to run around by Spoonbridge and Cherry. Not only is the Sculpture Garden free every day, The Walker offers free Thursday nights in the gallery and special events like Open Field and Free First Saturdays.
Open field is from June to September and offers a place for people to gather and exchange skills and interests in an informal setting. The Walker even has a tool shed with games and art supplies for people to borrow and create magic together.
Free First Saturdays have different themes and coming up tomorrow, September 1st, they will be hosting, “Get Up and Read.” If you read Nancy Carlson as a child, you have to bring your family to The Walker. There will be book readings from Nancy, activities from her books in the Sculpture Garden, a chance to make your own book, and an opportunity to put together your own healthy snack.
They also have a fabulous restaurant named Gather that is open on Thursday nights. I go there often because it is an affordable luxury. They have guest chefs from around Minnesota come and create small plates. The first Thursday of each month they offer a couple free dishes from the guest chef. Plus, the happy hour is to die for. It goes from 5-7PM and all small plates are 5 dollars and they have a seasonal cocktail for 5 dollars as well. I love the grilled cheeses and the bahn mi. Keep a look out for the guest chefs in the coming months, I believe they are one is the most famous chefs to come out of Minnesota and has a restaurant near The Walker. I would make your reservations now.
I also have to throw in a shout-out to all the animal shelters in Minnesota. I adopted Nuggs at The Animal Humane Society and it was a great experience. They helped me pick out the perfect cat for me. I wanted an older cat who liked sleeping and cuddling. If you are thinking of getting a cat consider adopting an older one.
because being a cat lady is cool
You can find more pictures of the event on my instagram account: mplsgossipgirl
or follow me on tumblr; mplsgossipgirl
Want something to do tonight for free?
The Walker is hosting Videotech 2: Here to There at 7 PM. They will be showing short films about sustainable transportation that were part of a competition at the Cinema theater.
The tickets are free starting at 6PM in the Bazinet Garden Lobby.
The audience gets to vote on the films at this lively event!
Click here for more info