Category Archives: Event

Minnesota Renaissance Festival

The Minnesota Renaissance Festival is a must see event just southwest of the twin cities.  In the past it has been in Shakopee, MN and it sounds like it will be until 2020.  It is a grand event that lasts for weeks.  Each week has a different theme so choose your weekend wisely.  It is only open Saturday and Sunday during the festival.

Weapons are allowed (no firearms, it is the renaissance, not the old west), but you will need to keep your sword peace-tied.  They need to be able to add a cable tie that will prevent you from unsheathing your sword.  Check out the festival’s FAQ‘s section for more details.

Get your tickets ahead of time to save a little cash.  It is open sun or shine so there is no worries about getting rained out.

Puke and Snot at the MN Renaissance Festival
Ha Ha, these guys

There are great shows, some of them are even family friendly.  Puke and Snot is probably my favorite, super funny show.  If the guy who reads poetry shoos your family away from his show there is a reason for it.  Of course there is the jousting event held three times a day.  If you are lucky you will catch the daily parade.

Jousting arena at MN Renaissance Festival

There are many activities for the children.  You can force your children to dual to the death, or until the balloons pop.  You can make them climb a tower.  We saw a kid make it to the top.  It was impressive.  There are tons of games and henna tattoos and other stuff.

Dual at the MN Renaissance Festival
Climbing the tower at the MN Renaissance Festival

Last, but not least you will want to bring a few dollars for the food (just ok), drink (Mead honey wine is a must), and clothing and other goods.  You can find the clothes you need to dress up for next year at the festival.  There are a lot of trade goods like soap, leathers, trinkets, and swords to name a few.

They always suggest eating a turkey leg.  It seems cool, but it isn’t actually that great in my opinion.  Others love it.  I am all about the Mead honey wine even though it is the one alcohol that pushes me down after just one sip.  Literally I start stumbling and spilling after a single sip.  I don’t know why.

Shopping at the MN Renaissance Festival

The first year I went to this festival with the girl who would become my first roommate in college.  She was really into the festival.  I didn’t get it but I had a lot of fun.  Now it is something I enjoy doing every couple of years.  I like to see all of the outfits people wear and watch the shows.  It is just an all around good time.

Oto Days 2016

Oto Days 2016

Oto Days 2016 is when the tiny town of Oto, IA turns into a big town.  The farmers come off the fields to stop in for a few events.  The kids that left for the big cities, around the U.S., come home to reconnect.

So many people sign up to be in the parade that you might think no one will be standing along the side to watch, but that isn’t so.  People line a good part of both sides of main street.  You get to see tractors, classic cars, funny cars, and even a clown.


There are multiple meals during Oto Days.  The firehouse puts on a dinner.  The ambulance serves a breakfast.  The Catholic church serves a broasted chicken dinner, Sneaky’s.


They crown a king and queen, which I believe are the oldest two individuals in town.

A bounce house goes on main street.


They setup the rides on the old grain bin slabs.  


The adults play in a human foosball tournament.  Not an event for the faint of heart.


A man carves wood into art and a woman can make you into a beautiful funny drawing.



Overall there is a lot to see and do at the Oto Days celebration.  There is bingo, a bubble machine, various musical acts, and of course Lefty Leigh’s.

The theme of this year’s Oto Days was Make Oto Great Again.  I have always heard that Oto is a town to tough to die and when you see an event like this one you know exactly why.


Pucifer, 2016

I have never been to a rock concert with a wrestling match built into it before.  Maynard James Keenan is a theatrical genius and has an amazing ear for sounds.

When you attend a Pucifer concert you get the experience of that particular album.  The sounds flow in a particular sequence.  The album tells a story and the concert is the visual representation of that story.  There are acts and scenes.  The imagery is carefully put together.

The female counterpart to Maynard in this particular show was a perfect complement to his voice.  She was amazing.  Maynard is shy and in the art of hiding himself on stage the two main singers dressed in such a way as to seem like shadows on the stage.  At least to me it seemed like I was watching shadows in the shadows.

You were to focus on the wrestlers and not the musicians for most of the show.  Wow, the wrestling and energy of those performers was amazing.  The little guy was so talented.  I think he was a gymnast.

Pucsifer, Northrop 22

If you have a chance to attend a Pucifer concert grab it.  Between the show and the music I promise you will find something that you love.

We saw this concert performed at the Northrop Auditorium in Minneapolis.  The venue was amazing and the perfect place to see such a performance.

Cyrus Northrop Auditorium, Minneapolis, MN

The Norhtrop Auditorium on the campus of University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, 84 Church St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455.

Pucsifer, Northrop 6

The theater is quite amazing.  We purchased tickets to see Pucifer at this theater in March of 2016.  You can also purchase a parking pass for the parking ramp which is very conveniently located next to the event.

The theater opened back in 1929, but was recently remodeled to include fewer seats.  This was done to guarantee every seat in the house is a great seat.  We were on the third level and I must say the seats were great.

Pucsifer, Northrop 13

The sound system is incredible.  You can literally feel the music.  You can see the giant speakers hanging above the stage.  Every word spoken is easy to hear.  Granted their were microphones, but nothing was lost.

Pucsifer, Northrop 9

One of my favorite parts about the theater was all of the details, both inside and outside.  Take a look at the patterns around the outside of the stage.  Walking around inside is extremely exciting.  Even the outside has beautiful columns.

Pucsifer, Northrop 10

They offer many events at this theater including rock concerts, comedy shows, plays, orchestra, and more.

The smoke alarm system works well.  Someone was smoking on an upper level and set the system off.  We were all asked to leave while they made sure there wasn’t a real fire.  The system makes a strange sound when it goes off and there are flashing lights to alert anyone who is deaf.  I only recently realized why the lights flash.  With the great views and the way you can feel the sound system I think going to an event hear as a deaf person would be a very enjoyable event.  They continued the concert once the theater was cleared.

Lastly, and this has little to do with your theatrical experience, the bathrooms are very nice.  They are large, easy to find, and up to date.  It might not seem that important, but when everyone gets to get up for an intermission at the same time it becomes very important.


Oto Days, Oto

Oto Days, Oto, IA, 51044

Late September or early October the grand event of Oto Days rolls around.  The first year was 2014 and this little town ballooned in size.  It was a great success.  The town comes together to make this event happen.  The people help each other beautify the town and the neighborhoods.

Leading up to the event were the pink flamingos.  You would come home and find a flock of pink flamingos on your lawn.  You could then pay to have them removed and placed on someone else’s lawn.  It gave weeks of entertainment and helped raise funds.

pink flamingos

The carnival comes to town and the kids and some adults can ride the rides or play the games.  Buy a few tickets and enjoy the ride.



There are other organized events as well.  At the new park the kids can play games to win prizes.  Wow, this park is pretty sweet.

Playground equipment in Oto Park

Vendors sell items like pampered chef and caricatures.  The new owner’s of Smitty’s Bar & Grill opened shortly before the event in 2014.  Lefty Leigh’s had their big opening during this event in 2015.

Oto Days Oct 2014 charicatures

Smitty’s Bar & Grill has a big outdoor live music show in the evenings.  You can play horseshoes during the day.  There is a big tractor show and other events as well.  Like human foosball.

Did I mention the trick pony?

trick pony standing



trick pony mid-sittrick pony sitting





Like the City of Oto on Facebook to find out when the next Oto Days will be held.  It is a great event and I didn’t even mention half of the entertainment items and events.