Summer Sensations 2014: Bluegrass sounds to resonate at Caponi Art Park

Tickets on sale for park’s fundraiser, summer event series to start

Though it’s still a few months away, Caponi Art Park and Learning Center staff members can’t wait for their new September Bluegrass Festival.

The Okee Dokee Brothers will be bringing their kids-oriented folk and bluegrass music to Caponi Art Park during the Saturday, Sept. 20, Bluegrass Festival. The Grammy-winning duo comprised of Joe Mailander and Justin Lansing caters to young audiences with its witty lyrics and off-the-wall humor. Tickets for the fundraiser festival are $20. (Photo submitted)

The Okee Dokee Brothers will be bringing their kids-oriented folk and bluegrass music to Caponi Art Park during the Saturday, Sept. 14, Bluegrass Festival. The Grammy-winning duo comprised of Joe Mailander and Justin Lansing caters to young audiences with its witty lyrics and off-the-wall humor. Tickets for the fundraiser festival are $20. (Photo submitted)

The Spring Open House 1-4 p.m. Saturday, May 31, at the park in Eagan will have a bluegrass background as young people will have a chance to make instruments and everyone will be able to hear music from local musicians.

The Bluegrass Festival marks a first in the park’s history. It will be the first time it will charge a ticket price as the fundraiser will be the capstone of its summer programs.

Many of the park’s past events have merely asked for suggested donations.

Tickets for the Sunday, Sept. 14, Bluegrass Festival are $20 for those 13 and over, with children 12 and under being admitted for free.

Nancy Thorman Dahl, communications associate for the art park, said the financial support from the community and sponsors helps the park continue to operate as an independent nonprofit, present quality programming and maintain the natural landscape.

Caponi Art Park will offer a wide range of performances this summer, including Minneapolis-based Theatre Pro Rata presenting Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” at 6:30 p.m. June 8. The performance is most suitable for ages 10 and up due to minor crude humor and mild sexual content. Admission is free with a $5 per person suggested donation. (Photo submitted)

Caponi Art Park will offer a wide range of performances this summer, including Minneapolis-based Theatre Pro Rata presenting Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” at 6:30 p.m. June 8. The performance is most suitable for ages 10 and up due to minor crude humor and mild sexual content. Admission is free with a $5 per person suggested donation. (Photo submitted)

The festival lineup includes the Okee Dokee Brothers, Monroe Crossing, Roe Family Singers and The Blackburn Trio.

Dahl said the idea to organize the festival came from the incredible responses the park received when it hosted bluegrass bands in previous years.

“With a dedicated and growing fan base, bluegrass music transcends generations and is perfect for an outdoor setting,” Dahl said.

Three of the four bands slated to play have already played at the park to strong attendance numbers.

“For bluegrass fans that are unfamiliar with Caponi Art Park, we look forward to them discovering this hidden gem,” Dahl said. “For the community unfamiliar with bluegrass, we look forward to introducing them to this style and sound of music.”

The nonprofit will continue to raise money through donations given during the park’s most popular annual events – the Summer Performance Series and Family Fun Tuesdays.

Shakespeare, orchestral pops and dance highlight the Summer Performance Series, while Family Fun aims to examine Earth and its people through various music, dance, storytelling, and puppetry.

“The best part about providing family-friendly programming is friends and families can experience quality time together while seeing top-notch performances without expensive ticket fees,” Dahl said. “It’s a chance to unplug and connect with each other surrounded by tall oak trees and fresh air. Seeing the younger kids’ dance, interact, and sing along with our artists during Family Fun Tuesdays, while being entertained and educated, is exciting for us to witness.”

Family Fun Tuesdays will feature Open Eye Figure Theatre presenting “Tucker’s Robot” – a hand puppet show with music – at 10 a.m. July 1 in the Caponi Art Park Sculpture Garden. Admission is free with a $4 per person suggested donation. (Photo submitted)

Family Fun Tuesdays will feature Open Eye Figure Theatre presenting “Tucker’s Robot” – a hand puppet show with music – at 10 a.m. July 1 in the Caponi Art Park Sculpture Garden. Admission is free with a $4 per person suggested donation. (Photo submitted)

The park has a learning guide on its website to enhance visits or continue the exploration after the show.

Family Fun welcomes all ages with an emphasis toward children ages 3-12 with a parent or guardian.

More is at www.caponiartpark.org/programs/familyfuntuesdays. In the event of severe weather, cancellations will be announced via website and social media outlets.

Admission is free with a $5 per person suggested donation to support the Performance Series, which is held at 6:30 p.m. in the Theater in the Woods, and $4 each for Family Fun, which is held at 10 a.m. in the sculpture garden.

Following are the calendars for both:

Summer Performance Series

June 8 – Minneapolis-based Theatre Pro Rata presents: Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night.” Performance is most suitable for ages 10 and up due to minor crude humor and mild sexual content.

June 22 – Minnesota Sinfonia summer family pops concert (rain date June 29)

July 6 – Jawaahir Dance Company, Middle Eastern dancing

July 20 – Dakota Valley Summer Pops Orchestra and Chorus (rain date July 27)

Aug. 3 – Flying Foot Forum, percussive theater and dance

Aug. 17 – Zeitgeist: Creating New Sounds from Chamber Music (rain date Aug. 18)

Family Fun Tuesdays

June 3 – MacPhail Center for Music: Discovering the Natural World Through Music

June 10 – Dodge Nature Center: Raptors

June 17 – Marysue Moses: Shakespearience: Tales from a Trunk, kid-friendly Shakespeare

June 24 – Women’s Drum Center: Music & Styles Around the World

July 1 – Open Eye Figure Theatre: “Tucker’s Robot” hand puppet show with music

July 8 – Jack Pearson: Forever Green and Blue, environmental awareness in a whirl of stories and songs

July 15 – Nothando Zulu: African storytelling

July 22 – Jawaahir Dance Company: Middle Eastern dancing

July 29 – Flying Foot Forum: Storytelling through percussive dance

Aug. 5 – Science Museum of Minnesota: Explore Water

Aug. 12 – Zeitgeist: Creating New Sounds from Chamber Music

Aug. 19 – Engineers Paul and Emily from “The Choo Choo Bob Show”: train songs

Aug. 26 – Teatro Del Pueblo: “The Adventures of Juan” Puppet Show

People are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or a blanket.

Groups must call ahead for space availability, fees, and parking information.

In addition to the main parking lot at 1220 Diffley Road, performance parking is available at the Lexington-Diffley Athletic fields (unless noted). Walking distance to amphitheater is a hilly 5-minute hike from either entrance. Golf carts will be available to transport guests with mobility needs.

More is at www.caponiartpark.org.

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