Hudson Wisconsin Nightlife

It’s fall and the ax has fallen, as pre-Halloween hauntings hasten arrival of holiday in Hudson

October 17th, 2016

Halloween is coming, so drink up, unless you’re a zombie and your mouth is too mangled to allow you to taste. Here is a grab bag prior to the candy — or as the door at Green Mill says, “proceed with candy” — and also about all things fall:
– Guv’s Place in North Hudson, with its bar manager who just loves the coming fest, was already well decorated for Halloween on the first week in October. It seems there were a few additional things such as even more creepy clowns added a bit later, although none were yet hanging from the balcony, but by contrast people in costume have already been out and about taking in bands. Also seen in various places around town is a new Miller Beer spokesperson on a dawn-of-the-dead type poster hawking the brew, but also showing a side of him (with his face missing) where he probably didn’t have enough of a mouth left to drink it.
– Pudge’s new “digs” also are getting very scary. The whole south side has a five-yard-wide swath that’s been added, even though its mostly plywood right now, for the code-required elevator to the being-constructed upper level, and a patio, etc. A bartender said that holes being dug under the plywood, especially, and under the street have revealed a cave leading to what appears to be an old speakeasy, complete with the finding of some old bones — hence the scary Halloween reference — even though they are believed to be animal not human.
– Across the way at Dick’s Bar and Grill, bartender Terry chimed in on his favorite costume(s) from last year, a crew of guys who came in dressed darkly like South Park characters. “Now children …”
– A Sunday night patron wearing the jersey of the recently successful quarterback named Wertz from the Philadelphia Eagles stayed out late after the football games. Why Wertz? “I’m from North Dakota,” she said. Maybe I don’t have game, but to me, that didn’t explain a lot. (Just like the Bison I saw on top of a mailbox while walking to view a party for the Badger-Buckeye game.) Speaking of which, a Village Inn bartender sported a Wisconsin jersey while on her Saturday shift, but when going out for a drink after the overtime loss was in the books, had ceremoniously removed it in favor of a tank top.
– One of those many transplants from Down South noted outside of Dick’s door that I was still wearing shorts, as I told her I will likely do until near the end of November. And yes it is cold, but since she had gotten here only a year ago from California and even then worked from home during a relatively balmy winter, she still hasn’t experienced the full 90-below-chill-factor freeze. Then I made the obligatory joke about my last name being Winter, and maybe I should go south to where she hails from, to which she replied, get this, my name is Summer!
– On the subject of fashionable women, (more in tune with the weather), the often-seen Stephanie was sporting an autumn-themed hairdo recently, with shades of red and orange and a similarly toned scarf through her locks to match. Shortly afterward, into Season’s Tavern, walked a long cool woman with a plaid dress, boasting like colors, such as those on the maple on Season’s big sign (minus the green leaves).
– A guy at the Cajun Club exited the place into the newly cold climes minus his shirt late one night. I thought that was what the dancers were supposed to do!

NR distillery on parallel course with its mates to create a new wheat whiskey, to be put on display at all-day Saturday product release party

September 29th, 2016

When 45 Parallel Distillery teams with its partners for a new-product release party, its such a big party that it also requires an after party, meaning the fun goes virtually all day on Saturday, Oct. 1.
The focus is on the “W” wheat whiskey release. The New Richmond-based company is offering its seventh annual open house on the theme “barrels and bluegrass” from noon to 6 p.m., which as you might guess from the name is music that’s heavy on the string band format.
This is a free event held rain or shine, which is important because at this time of year, weather can be a factor to be reckoned with.
A Barley John’s after party (next door) starts at 6 p.m. with the release of the Wheat Wine aged in 45 Parallel whiskey barrels.
In addition to the tasting room and tours, featured during the afternoon will be local food and art vendors and three bands: No Man’s String Band, The May North and High Strung String Band.
The latest CD from the No Man’s String Band hits on an old theme. “All is Fair in Love and Bluegrass,” is the result of three years of growth, lineup changes and a band that celebrates tradition but isn’t constrained by it. “We wanted to record music that was undoubtedly bluegrass, entirely us, and completely approachable for lovers of traditional and original music,” said mandolinist Nic Hentges in their online bio. Formed in 2011, the No Man’s String Band has been hitting the road hard to bring on the bluegrass tradition and its future, breaking new ground. At the time of their debut album, “Let The Truth Be Told,” they began a hosting role on the bluegrass series “Cuttin’ Grass,” as well as being featured on a compilation by Old Hand Record Company. In 2015, they were awarded champions of the Race For a Place contest of the Minnesota Bluegrass and Old Time Music Association.
Members of the No Man’s String Band include Justin Rosckes on guitar, Melissa Hentges on accordion, Nic Hentges on mandolin, Lindsey Bordner on fiddle and Pat Loftus on bass.
The May North is an original band from Minneapolis-St. Paul, with a style steeped in Americana, folk, bluegrass and the blues. Like the group from which they take the stage, The May North has a couple of CD releases on its resume, but unlike the other, has one female singer, not two.
Likewise, the High Strung String Band breathes new life into an old tradition. In some ways, the band pays homage to straight-ahead, traditional bluegrass, as they flat-pick the guitar and also play three-finger-style. But in delivering the foot-stomping, high-and-lonesome, storytelling songs you’d expect from a bluegrass band, they add a spirit and style all their own.
But, as I’m sure the band members will concur, back to the distilling. “When people visit, they are just blown away by the operation,” one of the 45th Parallel marketing people said, as what they offer is not just a keg or two in what often is basically a glorified bar. At 45th Parallel there is a 25-foot ceiling, and the distilling equipment needs to reach right up to the top of it. A real hit with visitors, as far as showing the overall scope of the facility, has been their own brand of whiskey being aged in 600 50-gallon barrels.
Speaking of that whiskey, it is one of the relatively new products that 45th Parallel keeps rolling out, after starting off with its multiple-award winning, signature vodka. That was released well before the current craft beer craze hit the streets.
Growth has been so strong that there are plans to construct another building near New Richmond in the next year or two, which might be the cause for another grand opening and tasting. The people at 45th Parallel have been making the rounds to build the usage of their brands to much more than just the Midwest, and they just got back from a festival in Milwaukee where the goods were touted.
45 Parallel is located at 1570 Madison Avenue in New Richmond. For more information, visit

Many more custom brews, music and added food items mark the spot as L&M’s becomes Bobtown Brewhouse and celebrates a year in business on Saturday

September 24th, 2016

Now that L&M’s in Roberts has become Bobtown Brewhouse, you might not notice a lot of changes, but ones that stand out are the offerings of a variety of new house beers, a lot more live music and a revamped food menu.
All this and more will be the focus of a grand reopening on Saturday, Sept. 24, as the new version known as Bobtown as a brewery and grill, and regular and new patrons, will celebrate a year in business.
There are nine specialty brews made especially by Bobtown that come into play, about half of them ones that have been enjoyed by patrons for months in a small batch release, and another half that are getting fully introduced on Saturday as “limited release seasonal house beers.” So this is your first shot at these locally-based drinks, which cover all bases of beer and boast multiple and creative ingredients.
Music at Bobtown will be offered, on average, on a couple of Saturdays a month, and this Saturday featured acts are The Hun Yuks from 1-3 p.m. and after a gap in time for socializing, Nick Hensley and Love Songs For Angry Men from 8-11 p.m. The Hun Yuks are a veteran duo from River Falls who are strongly country in a folksy way, and Nick Hensley and crew throw in alt-country, Americana and even Celtic music, with a lineup that can feature a varied number of players. The event in its entirety runs noon to close.
This first anniversary party also includes horseshoe and beanbag toss competitions, as to fit the theme, old again meets new as far as games. There will be a pulled pork dinner, with proceeds to benefit the Boy Scout Troop 161 Philmont Crew, for the community minded.
A lot of the same patrons from prior years still come back to the newer version of their old haunt, with its trademark being a big “B” logo inside a circle with curved edges, the place’s bartenders say. They add there are not a lot of big changes from the years it was known as L&M’s, just a few tweaks and some of the aforementioned additional offerings to round out its appeal.
Last Sunday in preparation for the big evening Packer and Viking game, a prelude found a packed house watching other NFL games and listening to music by a fully female acoustic duo, which you don’t often see. One patron stood out in his way to Back the Pack, wearing a Green and Gold hat that was infused with beer cans, tied together by yarn. As far as the new as-of-one-year-owner, Mike, he was mingling with customers between the bar and large dance area/gathering space complete with lots of tables, sporting a throwback Packer jersey with the number of 52, depicting star lineback Clay Matthews. Mike is a hands-on guy and unlike many proprietors can often be found at his place of business to answer any questions or say hello, staffers said.
Bobtown is near the west end of the main drag, a perfect positioning for people who might visit from Hudson or the Twin Cities, with its official address being 220 W. Main St. You can find out more by visiting

Local fest-goers have the chops to bring home the bacon in a big, fun way at their bash

September 14th, 2016

Its time again for that two-day festival that celebrates all things bacon like only River Falls can, with pig-themed activities for the entire family, live music, merchandise from local artists, vendors that find all kinds of ways to use this favorite meat, micro-brews that wash down that meat, and more to put you in hog heaven. (For more on the Bacon Bash festival’s music, see the Notes From the Beat department of this web site).

Come to this year’s Bash and sample bacon-inspired dishes that are dished out by local restaurants and food vendors. Then cast your vote for the People’s Choice Winner, and possibly help send a local entry to a world bacon-inspired food championship.
The third annual Bacon Bash was held last year in September and was called a “porktacular” success with more than 16,000 attendees, much bigger than the entire town. The sponsors invite you to join them again this weekend, Sept. 17-18, 2016, for the fourth year, as they continue to celebrate America’s fried meat of choice.
A new highlight is courtesy of the Belle Vinez Winery, called Comedy & Corks, with music by the Chris Silver Band and comedy by Todd Andrews. Advance tickets for $25 are available at Belle Vinez Winery, Riverwalk Square and the Chamber of Commerce office. The fee includes wine and entertainment, and a complimentary wine glass, too. The event is held at 5 p.m. Friday.
Andrews began his comedy career by establishing roots in the Boston comedy arena. Eventually moving to his wife’s hometown in Wisconsin, Todd took the Midwest comedy scene by storm. With his East Coast attitude and sharp wit, he says, the crowds are overwhelmed.
Come see Todd’s observations of a “Boston Boy Lost in Wisconsin.” The stories focus on his “fish out of water” experiences, his married life, and his odd life experiences. “Let Todd’s witty charm and likeable personality wrap you into his funny adventures of living in the Midwest,” says his online bio.
Todd holds an MBA from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Plastics Engineering from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. Todd’s education and professional career experiences is coupled with his high energy and solid, clean material, giving him plenty of fodder for his act.
As far as the music to accompany the comedy, after delving into various styles of music and types of lineups over the years, which were strong on things such as Americana and its percussion, Silver says he now prizes going back to the traditional roots of musical forms such as the bluegrass of the late ’70s and early ’80s, which strive to be polished and true to the craft, rather than just long jams. Like many artists playing events such as this one, he plans to tone down the volume so people can converse as they partake in the many food and drink samples provided.
This year the Bacon Bash will get a kick-off by conducting a drop off rooftops — dubbed “When Pigs Fly” and featuring stuffed plush pigs flung from a couple of stories up to the street below. That activity will reoccur throughout the weekend, but has its first episode at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Ongoing throughout the event can be found local craft beer and wine offerings and a Kids Activity Area. For all of the weekend activities at Bacon Bash, there is free admission to the public.
Also, young and old are invited to partake in pig-themed activities — many of them new this year — such as pig races, pig wing eating contests, pig pardoning, pig calling and impersonations, Gimme Some Bacon Dance-off, Hot Squeals Veggie Racing, Bacon Bod Aerobics, and bacon trivia and Haiku, not to mention going hog wild (but in moderation) over local micro-brewed beer. On Sunday only there is a fest-related Car and “Hog” Cruze-In.
The festival, with activities held in most cases near City Hall, is back by popular demand and is billed as the biggest free bacon fest in the country. There are numerous new vendors, events and food options, according to Judy Berg, the head director of Bacon Bash from the River Falls Chamber of Commerce.
This year’s Bacon Bash will again feature eats that include many bacon-wrapped delights. Some 40 merchandise vendors will be showcasing their products including specialty sauces, arts, crafts and novelty items that put a “twist” on marketplace shopping, Berg said.
Lots of new food items will be featured this year, an important part of Bacon Bash, since the aformentioned bacon is an ingredient in each. The array of options smacks of another Minnesota State Fair, Berg said, and includes cheese curds, brownies, feta cheese french fries, mini donuts, funnel cake, cheesecake, apple pie, pork chop on a stick and even ice cream. There are also more standard usages of bacon in recipes for the less adventuresome. Plenty of vendors are on a backup list, as the current slate is full.
“This year we will be giving away free bacon samples,” Berg said, “and we also will have the Great American Cookout here.”
The 2016 version of the Bacon Bash also will offer more activities for children, such as educational exhibits, prize giveaways and competitions, and a vegetable racing event where kids make veggies into cars. (See, the appeal of the eats at this extravaganza doesn’t end with simply bacon). The latter event is held three times early Saturday afternoon.
The Bacon Bash has gotten bigger in scale since the concept to start the festival was first hatched in a whirlwind of activity, between a group of friends. Their mission: An affordable “foodie” event centered around bacon that lets people pig-out on a Wisconsin experience and invites visitors to come here, time and again, Berg said.
Mission accomplished. The event since has been featured on places such as Twin Cities Live, and even the London BBC. And the culinary competitions can indeed go worldwide.
Bacon Bash very notably serves as an initial step in getting recipe-makers recognized around the world for their creations. The World Food Championship first reached out to Bacon Bash to host a trial contest in 2013, and since then its status has been elevated to super qualifier elite competition, making Bacon Bash an automatic competition place. That local-and-becoming-worldwide contest is another big bonus of Bacon Bash, taking place on Saturday evening.
Twelve Winners of the four cooking categories, steak, sandwich, chili and dessert, will head to Orange Beach, Ala., for the final competition, and fight for a $100,000 prize. And again, it all could start in River Falls.
The cook-off will pit culinary enthusiasts against each other in a unique format that could send them to the world’s largest food stage, as they will gather in front of thousands of fans to face off in a nine-category showdown to find the best. Contestants will be forced to compete against nature, a clock and a field of talented cooks from all walks of life. Do you have the chops to bring home the bacon?
These are the times of selected Bacon Bash activities: Saturday at 11 a.m., pig pardon, at 2 p.m., pig calling and impersonation contest, at 3 p.m., bacon trivia and Haiku contest, at 4 p.m., bacon bod aerobics, at 5 p.m., bacon and pig themed costume contest, and at 6 p.m., when pigs float activity; Sunday, at noon, pig wing eating contest, at 1 p.m., pet costume contest and Great American Cookoff demonstration, at 2 p.m., pig calling and impersonation contest, and at 3 p.m., gimme some bacon dance-off. There also are several cooking contests throughout the weekend. Main sponsors, in the first two tiers, include Security Finance Bank, Belle Vinez Winery, Twin Cities Pioneer Press, Thunder Country 95.7, River Falls Journal, Patrick Cudahy, and Dick’s Fresh Market.
Details for all these activities can be found at

From Marino to Montana to Mile High, as far as NFL mentions, this web site goes beyond the two-state area as season starts

September 11th, 2016

With the NFL football season finally here, you might have a man crush on a quarterback, not just on your man cave, (although you’re not likely to watch from there as its a blackout Sunday, with the Packers big favorites to win and the Vikings a bit less so). But when it comes to sports, HudsonWiNightlife does not get blacked out, so here are some NFL tidbits:
– What, a man crush on Marino? Now that he’s dropped some weight? A guy at the Smilin’ Moose said that he got invited to a party that also had a lower rung on the food chain, “an NFL possession receiver,” who noted, “I hear you’ve got a man crush.” The local guy then was shown around, and ended up in a whirlpool with the curly haired QB, who hung out and was cool, to the point of even shooting some hoops. So who would the bartender pick to share such a social outing? Steve Young, but a patron added the guy being a Mormon might make such a night less exciting.
– Lots of people from River Falls have noted that when the Kansas City Chiefs had training camp there, star quarterback Joe Montana would make the most of curfew and hob-nob at local watering holes, as long as the recipients would let him also be a regular guy and not talk about football. Friends Paul and Joe ran into Montana, after all those earlier years, during a recent excursion to Minneapolis and found him to be not as forthright these days.
– A patron up at one of The Hill haunts, who is a Denver Broncos fan, said he was tired of hearing how great the francise is, based on its record in recent years. In a related matter, 97 percent of those surveyed in Colorado said they weren’t even aware that they had a pro football team, most likely because many were too high to realize that there is a Mile High Stadium (OK just kidding). In another related matter, a moose was seen aimlessly wandering the streets of Golden, just outside of Denver, most likely also because it had smoked too much of the wrong thing. For a blogger, such stuff is just Golden. You’d never find a Minnesota moose doing the same thing, and if it did would apologize all over the place.
– An NFL-themed sign at The Village Inn in North Hudson needed some explanation, or did it? It read: “Finally a beer that won’t leave rings on your table.” Why that last phrase? It was explained to me, in this Packer bar, that the arch-rival Vikings hadn’t won the titles to get such rings. Even though they have had the opportunity for a whole handful, such is already possessed by certain Packers.
– No preview can be written without looking back to the past year. A chief blunder — along the famously bad lines of when a Viking kicker missed that key postseason field goal to wreck a chance of going 17-0, one of several train wrecks involving kickers for the purple — came last year when one of the main sports networks revealed that the Packers were NFC North champions. It actually, of course, was Minnesota (as the Vikes got that opportunity right). Notice that I had a brain blip and couldn’t remember the kicker’s name or the exact network? Sometimes its best to say just a little and not risk being wrong …
– Here’s another time that the entertainment-related pundits did get it wrong. A headline about Garrison Keillor stepping back from his Prairie Home Companion show, “for greener pastures” read, “There once was a man from Wisconsin …” Granted, Keillor did have a house on the St. Croix River bluffs, but his show and all it entailed were more a Minnesota thing. So I would suggest this replacement headline: “There once was a man from Minnesconsin …”
– Now shifting gears to another sport where the guys are big. A very tall basketball player had to duck his head to get into the bathroom at Dick’s, then danced with a women who was much shorter, and tried to jump to High Five him but didn’t come very close. His shirt said UW-Oshkosh, like the university that back in my day was jokingly called “UW-Zero.” Would that be like Seven-Foot-Zero? And, the next night, there were two more people almost as big who were a full head taller than anyone else on the dance floor. Why, over time, do all these super-stature guys show up only at Dick’s?

Now must go deeper to get Deep Blues, metal trio has new reason to sing darkly

September 6th, 2016

Its summertime and the weather (and music) was hot, bringing changes, lots and lots.
– After years of hosting big-time blues, Bayport BBQ has announced it will no longer feature bands to go along with its signature food. Instead the format has shifted from a deep blues juke joint, to a record store for that kind of music, (any vinyl, like the recent KQRS promotion, one might wonder?) It turns out that’s exactly the case, as by the front window there are boxes and boxes of albums that had accumulated over the years from the bands that played there. A sign posted on the window announcing the change also referenced a deep blues fest down south in October and implied a connection between venues. In what has been a theme lately as far as local music, there was skull imagery. While I doubt that the music style is much the same, the pose and body language given to a crowned figure in the flyer, evoked the voodoo imagery of another southerner, King Diamond on one of his album covers.
– The Hudson-based death and black metal trio named Exmordium now has another reason to write their self-described dark lyrics. Their touring schedule all around a two-state area has been cut short by months for various reasons, including that one of its members broke his back in spring on a construction accident during his day job. The group already had scaled back live shows because of time constraints involving the college studies of its members, Carl Knutson, Evan French and the Led Zep-sounding Evan Page. And on a personal note, they list one of their influences as the slightly-less-darth Black Sabbath, which is my favorite band.
– The changing of the guard for Pepper Fest royalty means unwrapping the exterior of the Great Pepper that gives their names. The big Green Monster of a pepper, the size of a refrigerator, has stayed within two blocks of our house for the last couple of years, so on a driveby the other day I saw the plastic wrap being uncurled as part of the replacement of the old names with the new.
Speaking of the benefits of carefully placed plastic, one become readily apparent during a recent midnight storm of monsoon proportions. The Green Mill bartender placed two of their takeout bags on her head, one on each side, so she could run to her car after closing without getting drenched.

Calling all nostalgic-movie golfers to ‘see the ball, be the ball,’ go back to ’80s with Rodney and William and the boys

August 20th, 2016

This local throwback golf, ala Dangerfield and Murray, gives you a chance to relive the ’80s if you dare, via a 20th anniversary celebration that takes you back a decade or two before that benchmark. And speaking of course about Caddyshack, it was planned out with much more forethought than what Chevy Chase’s character would have done. Maybe like his Danny Boy, more practical.
The St. Croix National golf club invites you to “grab your balls” and “dress to impress” in full ’80s regalia that would make Rodney Dangerfield proud, at an anniversary event called Gopher’s Revenge slated for Monday, Aug. 22. Think argyle, knickers, caps and handsome golf vests. Also consider “See the ball, be the ball.” Especially since another actor in that realm, Bill Murray, has strong Hudson connections that also go way back, stopping downtown when in the metro doing business with another sports-related venture, the St. Paul Saints. Would you see The Judge his other favorite role, Ted Knight, “forecasting” the game results?
“I had discussed an annual superintendent-revenge tournament until realizing it would slow play down considerably,” said Kristine of St. Croix National, partially tongue-in-cheek. “I then thought of the Gophers vs. Badgers, and add a theme of Caddyshack with the 20-year anniversary.” All of this was designed to promote an alternative type of golf offering that while not fully trendy, is original enough to be interesting, making the choice to have this “revenge” as an annual event.
There will be prizes, ’80s themed contests, a raffle and of course beer. There is an 11 a.m. signup or call the pro shop at (715) 247-4200, and format is two-person scramble, (officials at the golf club considered making it a four-person and may implement that next year because you know, the ’80s never go away). Cost is $20 for golf, $20 for half-cart and $20 for lunch and prizes.

Season’s are officially Good Neighbors, and along with North Hudson Pepper Festival, fork out famously fiery food, fun and funky music

August 16th, 2016

When describing the community relationship between Season’s Tavern and the Pepper Festival, its passing-right-by parade, and broader North Hudson village, it goes by the numbers, not only the sometimes hotter than hot peppers.
Whether the impetus is Italian eats or even as far afield as Trinidad for a signature Season’s sauce, this is how the numbers stack up:
– One, the number of times owner Brad has been named the fest’s Good Neighbor, that being this year, meaning that he will have a presence both at his restaurant/bar for the course of the event and at the nextdoor grounds itself. Brad’s pervasive connection to the local community, which is directly tied to his restaurant, was cited as getting him the annual Good Neighbor honor for the event, to be held Aug. 19-21.
– Zero, the number of staffers who do not live in the immediate North Hudson area, in an industry where border hopping with Minnesota is frequent among workers and where a lot of college kids actually reside in River Falls and work at other venues in the Hudson area.
– Five, the number of minutes and/or miles, depending on traffic, that Brad himself lives away from the tavern where he is a continual presence and for all practical purposes, away from the fest’s site itself.
– Thirty, the approximate number of walking steps Season’s lies from crossing the intersection with Sixth Street North, that leads directly to the fest’s grounds.
– Eleven, the number of days in advance where Season’s put out the call for entries to its Aug. 20 wicked wings eating challenge, posting the invitation on their sign and giving a can-you-handle-it hot stuff contest alternative. It starts at 2:30 p.m.
– Two or three, the number of peppers in the world that Season’s staffers say are hotter than those used in the their contest, sporting a signature homemade sauce based on Trinidad scorpion peppers.
– Five, the number of minutes a potential Season’s eating contest winner has to sit and “digest,” both mentally and physically, the eating ordeal that he or she has just undergone.
– Dozens, the number of people enjoying both the Season’s wings challenge and still, its synergy with the hot pepper and spaghetti eating contests a block or so away.
– More than six, the number of summers that Season’s has been a direct adjunct to Pepper Fest, with Brad at the helm and leading the way at the storied North Hudson business site.
– Also six, the number of years that what is essentially the Season’s house band, Thisty Camel, has performed over Pepper Fest weekend, with Brad on drums (meaning that especially this year, he will have to be everywhere, and still find time to get behind the drum kit). That means that camel will indeed be thirsty, if not bone dry, since the performance immediately follows the eating contest. Brad adds that the timing of scheduling music and contests at Pepperfest, or alternatively at Season’s, is intentionally staggered to let people enjoy as much of both categories as possible, as part of the great arrangement that the two entities have with one another.
– Three, the number of other bands at Pepper Fest directly, that show typical fare (Maiden Dixie on Friday night and The Dweebs on Sunday night), and with the only one steering away from the tried and true being Paisan on Saturday night. Meanwhile, Seasons offers both a musical and eating contest alternative, and while this is an Italian fest, don’t forget the many varieties of the famed Season’s walleye, along with perhaps a beer at one site or another, to wash down all that smokin’ hot food.
It’s all part of being a team. “Without this (joint effort), we would just be a bunch of individuals,” Brad said, adding that by working together they can blaze new trails as far as food and fun.

Pokemon craze hits streets a-running, just don’t stumble with eyes turned downward

August 9th, 2016

Go, go, go Gadget. Play Pokemon Go. Just be careful where.
There was a late-night glowing electrical sign sponsored by state transportation officials and erected on Interstate 94, that implored drivers to be cautious of things that go beyond even texting. It read: “You can watch Pokemon later.” And even the maker of the game has issued a similar caution, which carries over to those who need to gaze ahead of them, rather then just down, while strolling down the street with a device: “Be careful out there.”
That first night, when there were Pokemon players out and about just before bar time, some patrons took note of it but weren’t too fond of the concept. Then bartender Matt said he’d just seen a vehicle stopped in the middle of Second Street, with the driver looking down at her game piece, not the road.
The walk-the-street craze may just be a passing-by fancy. However, it has helped produce various references on signs for local venues, such as one saying a main character visits here and drinks Fireball, and even found a patron quoting one of them in conversation as she sipped her drink.
There was a duo at one of those venues who attracted attention as possible game-players, but who it turned out actually were watching and commenting on who was winning the polka dot jersey given to those with cycle racing success. They responded to the questions that were immediately raised by saying, “I don’t play Pokemon.” A woman who was one barstool away while they all were at Emma’s in River Falls noted that they had hand-held units only inches from their faces, and she then mimicked them. She and the person one more barstool over said that they were from more of the Mario Bros. generation.
Another sign, outside of Kozy Korner in North Hudson, joked that there was a Pokemon destination to be found inside their dishwasher, and that by the way, you might want to (get a job there) and take a turn with the dishes, since there would be great fringe benefits of the Pokemon style, such as collecting. One also wonders if this new craze is why so many more colored chalk renderings are being seen on area sidewalks. One was actually inside Dick’s Bar and Grill, but even though school is out, there were messages on the floor by the dart boards that had a series of edgy messages representing, in part, the Battle of the Sexes, not of the borders.
All of this also makes me recall my days with the Hudson Star-Observer, when there were reports of some teens out well past curfew who were playing a light-saber-wielding game in a local park that dead-set in the middle of town. After a few of my late-night typing binges were completed, I tried to find them for a photo, but had no success.
– With the local elections here, there have been signs all over touting a candidate named “Burger” for district attorney. I personally would like to invoke a different Burger that just got the elected, that being the annual best hamburger contest winner from a series of Hudson bar and grills, this time around Stone Tap, who tapped into a partially depleted lineup — some regular contest participants elected not to vie for the crown. The first-referenced Burger started out years back by working at Dick’s Bar and Grill, one would presume sometimes aiding them with their Tuesday night burger special, which is on tap again right before the polls close.

Many new bands play the Washington County Fair, from The Fairlanes on down the line

August 2nd, 2016

About half of the bands playing at the Washington County Fair this year are new, continuing a trend for area festivals, as the 145th annual event begins its five-day run on Wednesday, Aug. 3, in Lake Elmo.
These are the bands at the fair, which has enough music going to delineate having a main stage. This is what you’ll find there:
– One of those new to the fair is a 7:30 p.m. Wednesday performance by Shermin Linton, a true veteran of the biz who has played country music since the days when it was first getting going. Linton’s music has spanned several states and various demographic groups. Known as a mid-America champion when it comes to country, he transcends audience members from the traditional to the hipster.
– At 8:30 p.m. Thursday is a dance and entertainment show, complete with games, that is geared largely to teens.
– Friday afternoon brings a 3 p.m. Elvis tribute show, bringing Graceland to the St. Croix Valley.
– Then at 8 p.m. Friday is Coyote Wild, a band of five men and two women. They played a recent local show as a recurring gig, and had some different takes on the country format. The dreadlocked lead guitarist really rocked through Sweet Emotion by Aerosmith, doing the vocals as well, as part of their format where these duties are exchanged. To wrap up the night, there was the combination of introductory plinky guitar and power chords to a Journey song.
– Saturday kicks off with some jigs, provided by the O’Shea Irish Dancers at 3 and 5 p.m.
– At 3:30 p.m. Saturday is another “big band,” the nine-member Dirty Shorts Brass Band. They are a New Orleans style brass group, and according to their online bio, play everything from jazz to Dixie to funk to blues to rock n’ roll to gospel to swing. That’s a mouthful and the band even has sousaphone and mellophone players, to boot.
– The Rockin’ Hollywoods, who have rolled on for decades, bring their classic Old School pop and light rock sounds to the stage at 8:30 p.m. Saturday. The guys still look cool in their deep purple vests and not-really-graying hair.
– Cottage Grove’s own Darlene & the Boys, also new to the fair, will put on their country and variety music show at 3:30 p.m. Sunday. They look the part of traditional country, with their manner of dress, with the exception of the occasional stocking cap, and the lovely Darlene is shown all over the web page with her Old School attire.
– The last act new to the fair are The Fairlanes, on Friday at 2 and 4 p.m. at the Park Pavillion, who specialize in doo-wop music from the ’50s to the present. The repertoire includes gospel, pop and jazz standards, plus original songs written by quartet members.
– Closing out the set, (or should I say the fair music lineup), is the South Washington Community Band at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Park Pavillion.