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Summer arrives with Edina Art Fair and Grand Old Day!



And they're off! The season's festivities are well under way. And there is no surer sign than these two festivals. This weekend, take your pick between the venerable Edina Art Fair or equally classic Grand Old Day - or try both!

You can visit the 44th Edina Art Fair at 50th and France starting Friday, June 4. This year promises over 365 artists, along with children's activities, food, fashion shows and more. Things kick off at 10am on Friday, and go from 10am to 7pm on both Friday and Saturday. Sunday hours are 10am to 5pm.

Urban party planners are getting smarter. There will be a free shuttle bus running from Southdale Shopping Center (near Firestone) to the Lund's at 50th and France. This runs starting an hour before the show opens until an hour after it ends.

Entertainment this year includes lots of local acts, with the Teddy Bear Band, the Butanes, Cooker John and Alison Scott. There will be food and lifestyle demos from Cooks of Crocus Hill (pesto, anyone?), Salon Aura, Arthur Murray Dance Studio and more. Specific times for music and demonstrations can be found on the website. There will be 20 food vendors and a kids' area too.

This is billed as the second largest art fair in the state (with Uptown being the largest) and is hosted by the 50th and France Business and Professional Association. It is a celebration of the 50th and France neighborhood, which boasts over 150 distincitve shops and more than 20 restaurants.

Grand Old Day is better known for its music than its art fair, but it has both. Grand Old Day (which started out as a multi-day festival) is a celebration of the Grand Avenue neighborhood, and is essentially a large street fair. It is being billed as the largest one-day festival in the Midwest. And to be clear, this is on Sunday, June 6.

Grand Old Day will boast an Entertainment District that features live music at seven different stages in "festival gardens." Gone are the days when the stages were out in the street. Gone also are the days when the music was free. To get into the gardens, you need to be 21 or older and purchase a wristband for $10 (you can get these in advance on the website). There is a complete list of bands on the festival website, and the music goes from noon to 5pm.

But there's lots more to do, with an art fair that includes collaborative and hands-on activities, and a Family Fun District that will have a petting zoo, pony rides, games, inflatables and more. There will be over 140 vendors selling food and merchandise. There is also a Sporting District, featuring the Minnesota Vikings, along with a free yoga class, a dance competition and more.

And don't forget the Grand Old Day Parade, which runs from Fairview to Dale at 10am on Sunday. Prior to that there will be an 8k run/skate and 5k run/walk, plus more. The kiddie parade gears up at 9:15am in the Whole Foods parking lot.

Remember, this is all on Sunday, June 6. The basic time for most events to be open is 10am to 5pm. More information can be found on the website, including specific schedules for live music, family entertainment and more. Catch free shuttles along Summit Ave between Cretin and Dale. Word has it that you can park in the UST lot at Cretin and Grand for free and the shuttle runs from there. Or you can print out a Metro Transit pass for a free ride to and from Grand Old Day.

The feel of these two festivals is decidedly different - tony Edina is a world away from eclectic Grand Avenue. But the consensus has been that the art fair offerings are of similar quality, perhaps the food at the Edina Art Fair is a little better and the music at Grand Old Day is a little louder. Pick your poison!

Share your stories: Which do you like better? Or do you think there is no comparison? Leave your comments below! And subscribe above to get the details on many other hot hot festivals coming up this summer!


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