If by magic, August's namesake, Augustus Caesar, were to land somewhere in Minot in August, he could be surprised at what he sees.
Whether or not there were monstrous floods in his day isn't known, but it is for sure that he would be, like everyone in Minot, concerned about the future of the Magic City.
And if he were here, like the residents, he would discover that there is really something about Minot that is truly magic. Especially concerning culture. He would discover that culture is alive and well in the Magic City and it's here for him and the entire family within walking distances for the most part and excitingly worthwhile.
Arlene Saugstad is a freelance writer who lives in Minot.
If venerable Roman Emperor Augustus were to chat with Terri Aldrich, executive director of the Minot Area Council of the Arts, he would be invited to be in the Scandinavian Heritage Park Aug. 4 for the annual Festival "At The Hop," which has fun for everyone.
He'd be in good company for this family fare festival beginning at 7 p.m. with no charge. If he had a girlfriend, she would probably have on a poodle skirt, a blouse and saddle shoes. He would more than likely be like everyone else who has listened to Minot's popular vocal ensemble, The Treble Makers. He'd be happy to be hopping to their 1950s and '60s vocal numbers and he'd be interested to learn that the group consists of sisters Shelly Norton and Janie Ripplinger together with Carol Schnabel and their friends Terry Shomento and Sue Thomas.
There will be plenty of good food and root beer floats thanks to the Sons of Norway members who rightfully take great pride in the venue for the day, their beautiful park. Not to be outdone, members of St. Peter's congregation will provide gyros, baklava and much more.
You and Augustus would undoubtedly enjoy shiny classic cars and be sure to touch as you admire elegant cars on display by The Dakota Cruisers. And while you are cruising around and enjoying The Treble Makers, Petunia and Daisy will be cruising around, all smiles, alluring you to contribute whatever you wish to help keep culture alive and well in Minot during the summer's annual Summer in the Parks programs. They might also be handing out food and drinks, too, to prove that they are not just pretty flowers.
On Aug. 7, Augustus would as will many of you be pleasantly surprised to discover that, despite the mud and muck left by the merciless Mouse River, there are five places of sheer beauty in Minot.
Five gardeners in areas outside of the flooded areas are willing to share their beauties with everyone willing to spend a Sunday afternoon from 5 to 8:30 p.m. viewing natural beauties. This annual fundraiser of the Minot Symphony Orchestra will benefit many of our young people with musical scholarships while attending Minot State University. This year, $2 from each $12 ticket will go to the Minot Area Recovery Fund.
Tickets can be purchased at the homes or in advance at Lien's Jewelry, The Yarn Stash, or The Mohall Flower House Garden Center. And you and Augustus will certainly enjoy the musical young people's performances while you stroll the gardens of the generous gardeners. In north Minot, you will find Gladys Lowell, in northwest Minot you will find Doramae Tarve-stad, and in southeast Minot you will find the gardens of Janet Dammen, Peggy Schumaier, and Sharon Desilets and Rob Lowe. One might wonder what kind of gardens Augustus and his friends tended in their day. For more information, call 858-4228.
Although Augustus likely does not know it, hundreds of Minot area folks do. It is the annual Great Tomato Festival, set for Aug. 10. And even if tomatoes do not hold priority status, what is in store for you is always well worth the ticket price of $25 in advance or $30 at the door.
Seating is always limited so get your tickets early like now, at Artistry, the Minot Public Library, the Taube Museum of Art, or the Minot Area Council of the Arts. Just in case the venerable Augustus shows up, his ticket would surely be complimentary.
Because there will, as usual, be scads of silent auction goodies on hand, the doors of the North Dakota State Fair Building will open at 5:30 p.m. for browsing and bidding. Dinner is at 7 p.m. Everything will take place in the 4-H Hall as usual. And as always, there will be art in all its forms such as pottery, painting and woodwork, plus chances to eat elegantly in homes. Books also will be up for bidding. New this year is the chance to bid on and get an electric washer and dryer. A new business, Karl's Appliance, is contributing what he calls "Spend and Get," and I. Keating's is offering a gift certificate as is Slumberland. There will be chances to bid on dinners too with Primo contributing dinners for two. And there may be ways to take trips. Rumor has it that Bob Wheeler will have one of his artistic pieces of woodworking up for grabs, too.
This festival would not be complete without the music of the Dakota Dixie Band. Pat Schwan, Curt Kumpf, Curt Tracy, Bob Briggs, John Spitzer, Brian Schwan and Arnola Leverson. This bunch of musicians play for the fun of it and their listeners join them in having fun.
Of course, what would a Great Tomato Festival be without tomatoes? MarketPlace Foods will have the tomatoes as usual and Minot's finest chefs will smoke the pork chops while a lineup of feminine volunteers will have put together an assortment of tomato goodies and chocolate cake. You'll enjoy Haider's Salsa and Chips and the beer batter bread thanks to super breadmakers. There will be a variety of wines to wet your whistles should you wish to wet them. You must be at least 21 to be part of this fundraising festival. The proceeds of which will go this year to the Minot Public Library, The Taube Museum, The Minot Area Council of the Arts and The Lewis and Clark Foundation. Call Jerry at the library for more information at 852-1045.
Augustus could be relieved by the informality were he to attend the rescheduled MSU Summer Theatre performance of "Don't Dress For Dinner."
When the ruthless Mouse River traveled through Minot, it made a shambles of, among other things, scheduled events and places for these events. Among these was the scheduled Summer Theatre performances usually enjoyed in MSU's Amphitheater.
If Augustus were here, he along with all of you would go to MSU's Aleshire Theatre on MSU campus. There, on Aug. 25-27 at 7:30 p.m. on stage you will see a perfect cast directed by a popular director. Paula Lindekugel-Willis take you into an intriguing family affair featuring infidelity with some seam-splitting humor. Augustus and you will discover just why the family members do not need to spend time dressing for dinner. Reservations may be made by calling 858-3172, and seating is limited.
Now in its 39th season, Minot's Community Theatre, the Mouse River Players, is getting ready for its first show of the season.
Whether or not Augustus knows anything about baseball is not known, but on Oct. 6-9, an all-male cast will take the stage in the Arlene Saugstad Theatre for two original baseball themed one-act plays. A Canadian author, Edward Nunes-Vaz, might be in the audience the first night of the performance of his play "Roger Maris On Stage," 50 years after North Dakota's baseball hero broke Babe Ruth's home run record. Then -- same days -- a local playwright and actor, Ryan Haider's production "Rounding Third and Heading for Home," features a series of monologues celebrating baseball.
If you are a high school male or if you are older, the casts for these October performances need to be auditioned and the auditions in the Mouse River Theatre will be held Aug. 28 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. and at the same place Aug. 29 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Holly Eidsness and Nancy Pearson will ump the Canadian performance while Ryan Haider will ump his own production, which started out as his master's thesis.
Augustus as he leaves for Rome could be saying "Mange tusen takk!" and have a high-five cultural August.