Lakes Jam announces more artists

Lakes Jam organizers recently announced two more artists who will perform in the music outdoor festival scheduled June 25-27, 2020, at Brainerd International Raceway.

Runaway June and Chris Lane will both perform on the Bud Light Main Stage.

Runaway June is known for songs such as “Buy My Own Drinks,” “Wild West” and “Lipstick.” Runaway June consists of Naomi Cooke, who is on lead vocals and guitar; Hannah Mulholland on vocals and mandolin; and Jennifer Wayne on vocals and guitar. The trio is receiving rave critical notices from the likes of Billboard, Rolling Stone Country, The Huffington Post, County Music Television and more for its brand of organic and melodic country music, according to a news release. Runaway June is the first all-female trio in over a decade to earn two Top 40 hits and recently scored a 2018 American Country Music nomination for New Vocal Duo or Group of The Year.

Chris Lane’s star continues to rise with gold and platinum level single certifications, two No. 1 hits -- breakout smash “Fix” and recent chart-topper “I Don’t Know About You” -- two Top 10 albums and more than one billion combined streams. “I Don’t Know About You” follows the success of his hit collaboration “Take Back Home Girl” featuring Tori Kelly.

Runaway June and Chris Lane join Jon Pardi, Brother’s Osborne and Tracy Lawrence on the Bud Light Main Stage.

Tickets for Lakes Jam 2020, presented by The Babinski Foundation, are available at https://www.lakesjam.com/tickets.

Chris Lane will perform at Lakes Jam scheduled June 25-27, 2020, on the Bud Light Main Stage at Brainerd International Raceway. Submitted Photo
Chris Lane will perform at Lakes Jam scheduled June 25-27, 2020, on the Bud Light Main Stage at Brainerd International Raceway. Submitted Photo

Belly dance show set Saturday

Belly dance by Megg Shepard is hosting a “Student Showcase” show from 7-8:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, at Yesterday's Gone Blue Room in Brainerd.

The show is family friendly. Students will perform belly dances, as well as the Olive Branch Belly Dance will perform. There will be live music by InkVine.

Cost is $5 for adults and children are free. Tickets may be purchased at the door or online at www.bellydancebymegg.com.

Singles dance set Saturday

Lakes Area Singles is sponsoring a fall dance from 7-10 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, at the Eagles Club in Brainerd.

LAS, a social club for single adults age 40 and older, invite the public to attend this dance.

Cost of admission is $5. North Country DJ will provide the music.

For more information contact Mary Kalinoski at 218-330-5582.

Author Gretchen Anthony
Author Gretchen Anthony

Author visit set at Brainerd library; open house to follow

Author Gretchen Anthony will discuss her novel “Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners” at noon Dec. 2 at the Brainerd Public Library.

“Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners” was a Midwestern Connections Pick and a “best books” pick by Amazon, BookBub, PopSugar and the New York Post. Anthony’s work has been featured in The Washington Post, Medium and The Write Life, among others. She lives in Minneapolis with her family.

People are welcome to bring a packed lunch or may just enjoy the light refreshments provided.

The author event is hosted by the Friends of the Brainerd Public Library for its 20th season of the Brown Bag Lunch Author Series, which includes award-winning and acclaimed Minnesota writers who make an appearance to discuss their books.

Author Gretchen Anthony's novel “Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners." Submitted Photo
Author Gretchen Anthony's novel “Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners." Submitted Photo

Following the author event until 4 p.m., the Friends of the Library will host a Holiday Open House in the decorated library with treats, hot beverages and good fellowship. All area residents are welcome.

For more information, contact the library at 218-829-5574 or visit the library’s Facebook page at

www.facebook.com/brainerdpubliclibrary.

Author to appear on PBS program

Local author Richard Lane will be featured at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, on “Common Ground,” a program directed by Scott Knudson on Lakeland PBS.

According to Lakeland’s website, “‘Common Ground’ explores the unique people, places and events that are an important part of our region, taking viewers on a journey of exploration into the subjects that help shape and define our diverse communities. Whether it’s visiting with watercolor and pottery artists, viewing priceless collections of historical significance, or observing live performances, there is a story to be shared everywhere you look.”

The program is made possible by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment and members of Lakeland PBS.

2 choir concerts set in Aitkin and Brainerd

The Legacy Chorale presents “What the World Needs Now” with two concerts scheduled. The first is 7:30 p.m. Nov. 22 at First Lutheran Church in Aitkin, which will feature the Aitkin High School Concert Choir. The second is 3:30 p.m. Nov. 24 at Tornstrom Auditorium in Brainerd, which will feature the Brainerd High School Ninth Grade Varsity Choir.

In a news release, the Legacy described the concert, dubbed “Broadway for Orlando,” as 68 stars of the contemporary Broadway stage who rerecorded Burt Bacharach’s famous popular song from 1965 to honor the victims and those wounded in the 2016 Orlando shooting massacre at Pulse nightclub. This reworked version of “What the World Needs Now is Love” is the centerpiece for the Legacy Chorale’s Fall 2019 concert series, and will feature almost 25 soloists from the Legacy Chorale. Audiences will enjoy many other inspirational songs, such as “If Music Be the Food of Love” and “What a Wonderful World,” by Minnesota composers David Dickau and René Clausen, respectively; gospel tunes and spirituals, including a jazz/blues arrangement of “He’s Got the Whole World;” Harry Belafonte’s well-known original, “Turn the World Around;” a dramatic rendition of "America the Beautiful" titled, “From Sea to Shining Sea;” and an audience sing-along to “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing.”

Free-will donations will be accepted at the doors.

Charles Williams, President of the Will Rogers Medallion Award, and and Author Candace Simar, pose with her book during an awards ceremy in Texas. Submitted Photo
Charles Williams, President of the Will Rogers Medallion Award, and and Author Candace Simar, pose with her book during an awards ceremy in Texas. Submitted Photo

Author wins national award for Fort Abercrombie Novel

The Will Rogers Medallion Awards announced that Minnesota author Candace Simar won the gold medal for her novel “Escape to Fort Abercrombie” published by Five Star Publishing.

Simar attended the awards ceremony Oct. 26 in Fort Worth, Texas, where the final winners were announced. The Will Rogers Medallion Award recognizes excellence in Western literature and media. Winners are chosen based on content, artistic presentation, literary quality and historical accuracy. The Gold medallion is the highest award given in any category.

“Escape to Fort Abercrombie” is Simar’s sixth historical novel, tells the story of a Minnesota family set against the backdrop of the 1862 Dakota conflict. Fort Abercrombie, a Union outpost during the civil war, experienced dramatic history during a sixth week siege. The book previously won the Peacemaker award from Western Fictioneers.

Award-winning author Nancy Plain and Western Writers of America president stated, "Simar writes with an evocative clarity that reminds me of Willa Cather. Be prepared to ignore everything else when you pick up this book, because you will not want to stop reading."

“I am so honored to receive recognition and awards for this book, but even more pleased that it is in public libraries and schools across the nation,” Simar stated. “It is gratifying to know our regional history is exposed to a wider audience.”

Big Sweet Life will perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15 at Great River Arts in Little Falls. Submitted Photo
Big Sweet Life will perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15 at Great River Arts in Little Falls. Submitted Photo

Big Sweet Life performs

LITTLE FALLS -- Big Sweet Life will perform “Dylanography-A Multimedia Musicological Experience” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15 at Great River Arts in Little Falls.

Big Sweet Life will perform songs from Bob Dylan, The Byrds, The Band, The Turtles, George Harrison, John Lennon, Tom Petty, Neil Young, Traveling Wiburys, Arlo Guthrie, Jimi Hendrix and Dire Straits.

Tickets are $15 at the door or $12 in advance online BigSweetLife.BrownPaperTickets.com.

Cassman advocates better communication for spiritual wellness

People spend more time now than ever before connected to their devices, such as phones, computers and the TV. But interacting via screens too often means less face-to-face interaction which can have a detrimental impact on interpersonal relationships as well as personal and spiritual wellness.

“We need to get back to that communication,” Lisa Cassman, an author and motivational

speaker for women in addition to owning and managing a spa and salon, stated in a news release.

Much of her work revolves around wellness, and through her work with her clients, Cassman was able to identify the problem as well as a potential solution.

“People text so much instead of taking the time to talk,” explains Cassman, who has experienced this shift in her own relationships as well. “I text with my sons all the time.”

With a master’s in Christian counseling and a pastor’s license, Cassman knows that this breakdown in communication affects people’s spiritual lives as well.

“People need to spend more time talking to God,” she states. “We need to pray for other people in our lives. It’s easy to say it but more difficult to follow through.”

To accomplish this goal, Cassman decided to pen her fourth book “Talk Before Text,” a prayer journal that helps individuals develop their prayer practice.

In previous books, Cassman has written about marriage in “The Road Less Traveled,” in addition to publishing a collection of poetry entitled “The Light in Your Eyes,” and a book on self-worth for women called “Finding the Beautiful You.” With her fourth book, she decided to address a broader audience.

“This book is for everyone,” she explains. “I created a prayer journal so people could be intentional about their communication with God as well as with their loved ones.”

Cassman’s aim is that people use this book as a way to spend more time with God and with their families.

“Talk Before Text” is available at Halo Publishing International, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, and Books a Million.

Holiday twist at Sprout markets coming

LITTLE FALLS -- Homegrown, handmade food and art become available each winter month at the Sprout markets in Little Falls, but in November and December, the Holiday spirit is in full swing. With more than 40 farmers, artisans and artists displaying their work, the market becomes a one stop gift shop for the whole family.

The Growers and Makers Holiday Markets will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, and Dec. 14 at Sprout. Sprout Growers and Makers Marketplace highlights regional arts through performances, cooking demonstrations and free art activities at each monthly market.

The November performance at 10 a.m. will feature St. Cloud musician, Nathan Neuman on accordion. While primarily polka, Neuman also plays old-time music, waltzes, two-step and country.

Artist Tressa Hills will lead a free art activity for all ages titled “The Happy Little Art Cart” Saturday, Nov. 16, at the Sprout markets in Little Falls. Submitted Photo
Artist Tressa Hills will lead a free art activity for all ages titled “The Happy Little Art Cart” Saturday, Nov. 16, at the Sprout markets in Little Falls. Submitted Photo

There will be free art activities for all ages at “The Happy Little Art Cart” with artist Tressa Hills. The mobile art studio was named after Bob Ross, American painter, art instructor, and television host of “The Joy of Painting” who famously called painting mistakes “happy little accidents,” a news release stated. Hills carried on this mindset of turning “mistakes” beautiful by hosting a painting party with her community to paint the outside mural on the studio.

Tressa is one of four artists engaged in Sprout’s À la cARTe Initiative that brings art experiences on the road to increase art access in rural Minnesota. The other artists include Lisa Jordan of Brainerd, Maria Ervasti of Staples and Heidi Jeub of Little Falls, will each have their mobile art studio at one of Sprout’s indoor winter markets throughout the season.

The community is invited to attend the market and enjoy free samples during the cooking demonstration which will showcase the culinary talents of Chef Mateo Mackbee of Model Citizen the Restaurant in New London. Mackbee holds the 2019 Master Chef award from the cooking competition MINCED: The Finer Version of Chopped. Sprout hosts MINCED annually, pitting three area chefs against each other and the timer to prepare a dish to impress the judges. Mackbee won over the judges in the dessert round with an Ethiopian pancake, bananas foster and berry sauce topping. Chef Jenna Brower Von Siebolds also be working in the Sprout kitchen the week of the market to host a Friendsgiving Cooking Class. The cooking class will run from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday and will use locally sourced ingredients from Sprout Food Hub like Butternut Squash and Sweet Potatoes to create traditional Thanksgiving favorites with a twist. Cooking class tickets are $30 per person and can be purchased at www.sproutmn.com/kitchen#class.

Market attendees are encouraged to come to the event hungry, to taste the samples and to dine at the Cabin Fever “pop-up restaurant” that will have lunch, craft brews and wine available during the market. Local food and art producers interested in participating in the market can become a vendor by visiting www.sproutmn.com/vendors.