Entertainment Briefs - June 22

The District to perform in bandstand The District band will perform at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 22 in the Gregory Park bandstand. The District is a Brainerd-area based cover band made up of seven current and former educators from the Brainerd lakes ...

The District band will perform at 7 p.m. tonight, June 22 in the Gregory Park bandstand.Submitted
The District band will perform at 7 p.m. tonight, June 22 in the Gregory Park bandstand. Submitted

The District to perform in bandstand

The District band will perform at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 22 in the Gregory Park bandstand.

The District is a Brainerd-area based cover band made up of seven current and former educators from the Brainerd lakes area. The group plays an eclectic mix of classic rock and roll, up tempo country and a variety of new, contemporary artists. The band is known for their vocals, harmonies and instrumentals. The District will appear for special events throughout the year, including stages at Lakes Jam and Grandview Lodge's "Party at the Pines."

Bandstand concerts are free and open to the public. People can bring a lawn chair, a blanket and be ready to enjoy the music. Rain out site is at The Center, 803 Kingwood St., Brainerd. If the concerts are moved indoors, signs will be posted on the bandstand and it will be announced on WJJY radio.

Concerts in the park are collaboration between Brainerd Parks and Recreation Department and The Center. Additional supporting sponsors are the Brainerd Community Foundation, Brainerd Lions, Mid Minnesota Federal Credit Union and the BN Credit Union.


Color quilts on display

Colorful quilts in many sizes are on display in a new exhibit through Aug. 31 at the Brainerd Public Library. The quilts were made by volunteers of Quilts for Kids, a group based in Pequot Lakes. Founded in 1990, the group donates 250-300 quilts per year to children in need in the Brainerd lakes area and beyond.

The quilts reflect a variety of themes and styles of the volunteer quilters. Quilts for Kids make their own contacts for donation and have a policy of one quilt per child.

For more information about Quilts for Kids, contact Arlean Rosemore at 218-568-6924.

The exhibit is free of charge.

Hall of Fame baker and author to speak at library

Hall of Fame baker and author Beatrice Ojakangas will appear at noon Monday at the Brainerd Public Library to discuss her book "Homemade: Finnish Rye, Feed Sack Fashion, and Other Simple Ingredients from My Life in Food," a memoir and cookbook that celebrates the Finnish culture of northern Minnesota.

Homemade is the latest work in Ojakangas's award-winning career as the "Julia Child of Finnish Cuisine." She has authored 29 cookbooks including her first, "The Finnish Cookbook," published in 1964 and which is still in print. Ojakangas was inducted into the James Beard Hall of Fame in 2005.


This author event is sponsored by the Friends of the Brainerd Public Library through their volunteer and fundraising efforts, and are free of charge to the public. No registration is needed.

Participants are welcome to bring a packed lunch.

For more information on any of the events, visit the library's Facebook page at or call 218-829-5574.

Rock the Park coming

LITTLE FALLS-Great River Arts will host the eighth annual Rock the Park concert June 29 at Maple Island Park.

The event starts with Kids Art in the Park from 4-6 pm, which will feature a family friendly afternoon in the park, including free art projects, sidewalk chalk murals, a collaborative community art project, theater games and the library will have storytelling in the park. After Kids Art in the Park wraps up, Rock the Park 8, the free outdoor concert, will feature LaVerne and the Starlights at 6 p.m. and headliners Brothers Tone and The Big Groove from 7-10 p.m.

The event is organized by Great River Arts and sponsored by many local businesses, including this year's Primary Business Sponsor, The Rustic Saloon. Great River Arts will be accepting donations to help support Rock the Park and other Great River Arts programming in the Little Falls area.

LaVerne and the Starlites will play polka and classic country favorites. The band features local musicians Dean Dirkes, Daryl Dirkes, Ross Scalice, Tom Pattock, Gene Retka, Dwight Nelson and LaVerne Bzdok. Bzdok, the group's leader and namesake, has been playing polka music for 52 years. She got her start at 13-years-old as a stand-in on guitar for the Jolly Fisherman polka band.


Their performance at Rock the Park will feature a range of instruments from guitars, pianos, concertinas and "almost all of the wind instruments" to bring polka favorites from the funky chicken dance to the beer barrel polka to life.

Brothers Tone and The Big Groove are returning to Rock the Park for their sixth year. The band has a list of classic rock, funk and rhythm and blues with a little taste of country.

The 12-piece band includes local singer Karla Jensen and former Little Falls resident, Andy Spofford, as well as a four-piece horn section and backup singers. Joining them onstage for a couple of songs will be a chorus from the Little Falls High School Choir.

3 painters capture nature's details in gallery exhibit

AITKIN-A nature exhibit titled "Thinking Small...It's All in the Details" runs through July 16 at the Bay Lake area gallery, with a reception from 2-5 p.m. Saturday.

Artists Mary Hendricks, Judith Kuusisto and Mona Warren offer a look at nature through small paintings. This exhibit is not the first time the three painters have shown their work together. The women meet weekly to paint, share experience, ideas and inspiration. Together they have exhibited at Great River Arts Center in Little Falls, Franklin Art Center in Brainerd and the Jaques Art Center in Aitkin. Their recent shows have been in memory of Carol Hansen, an original member of the group.

Hendricks began her study of oil painting and drawing in college and has continued to develop her work through workshops in watercolor and pastel. She has taken classes in photography and underwater photography and she is member of the Crosslake Art Club. Her paintings have earned numerous awards.

When people ask Judy Kuusisto how long she's been making art her reply is, "for as long as I could hold a crayon." While earning her degree in art education at the University of Minnesota, Kuusisto worked as an illustrator for the Agricultural Extension Service. The opportunity to learn fine art, commercial art and education led to a career that included teaching high school and illustrating children's books. At her studio in Brainerd, Kuusisto paints and teaches both watercolor and "Enlightened Lines" classes.


Warren has traveled and studied widely, including 13 years in Saudi Arabia and Dubai where she did graphite drawings of local people and animals. She began painting in watercolor in 2006.

For more information e-mail or call 218-678-2575.

Crosslake author announces release of new book

Crosslake author Mike Holst, who was a long time popular columnist for the Northland Press, announces the release of his new book "The Best of Mike's Meandering Mind." For more than 10 years and almost 500 columns, Holst has entertained his readers with his weekly writings in the Press as well as being a frequent contributor to the Brainerd Dispatch. He now has taken certain selected popular columns and put them into a book. The book is broken into many sections and categorized into topics that makes for easy reading and book marking.

The book was published by iuniverse publishers and is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and the iuniverse bookstore, either in paper copy or as an e-book. Signed copies are also available in Crosslake at Reeds Market and the Lakes Area Frame shop.

Music festival set in Hackensack

HACKENSACK-Northwoods Arts Council will host its third annual music festival July 7-8 in Hackensack.

This year's festival theme is "SINATRA! Josh Duffee and his Big Band Play the Music of Frank Sinatra." There will be 15 musicians and a vocalist Jason Richards onstage bringing popular Sinatra favorites to music fans of all ages. Both concerts start at 7:30 p.m. at the Hackensack Community Center. A free band clinic will be 11 a.m. July 8 at the community center for area music students who can learn real-life tips and techniques from the professionals. Free pizza will be served afterwards. Interested students can call 218-652-4490 to register.


Duffee is regarded as one of the world's greatest 1920s style percussionists. He performs at numerous jazz festivals and concerts worldwide. Duffee and his band take great pride in authentically representing 1920s-1940s jazz and big band era music. He has played with Doc Severinsen, Clark Terry, Mel Torme, Buddy DeFranco, Louie Bellson, Tony Bennett, Peggy Lee, Henry Mancini, Natalie Cole, Aretha Franklin and Wayne Newton.

Visit the NAC's website at for more information about the festival and to order tickets ahead of time.

Vendors wanted for Scandia Valley Summerfest

CUSHING-Vendors are needed for the Scandia Valley Summerfest scheduled from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 5 in the Scandia Valley Town Hall in Cushing.

Vendors can rent a 12-foot by 12-foot booth for $25, which may be shared.

For more information contact Laine Ropson at or 218-575-2188.

What To Read Next
Get Local


Must Reads