The Arts in the Parks series concludes tonight with a grand send-off as the 1950s spring back to life. This year's event promises standard favorites and some exciting new additions, including lots of wheels.
'At the Hop,' Scandinavian Heritage Park, tonight at 7 p.m.
Terri Aldrich, executive director of the Minot Area Council of the Arts, has been laboring for more than a decade to improve the Arts in the Parks free concert series. One of her early ideas was having the events "themed," so that the visual artist complemented the performances. One of the great successes has been "At the Hop," which closes every season. Other themed concerts have gone on to separate from the Arts in the Parks to become standalone events, including the Integrity Jazz Festival in June, and the Sept. 8 USO Show.
"We always try to do something a little different," she said. "It gets more exciting the longer we do it."
Aldrich and program director Steve Veikley know better than to mess with success, however. The Treblemakers, a group of female performers singing in the style of the '50s, are still the headliners.
"They've been together so long, they have a massive repertoire from which they choose, but some of the songs they do include 'It's My Party' and 'All that Jazz,' which gives you an idea," Aldrich said. "Of course we have the Dakota Cruisers with their classic cars and St. Peter's Orthodox Church selling gyros, and the Sons of Norway selling root beer floats.
"The thing we're adding this year is designed to remind people of drive-in diners and carhops on skates - Minot's newest sports team, the (roller derby squad) Mouse River Rollers."
The Rollers will be promoting the state's new roller derby league, and will be skating on the walkways and around the classic cars.
"We'll cordon off the parking lot alongside the park for the cars," Aldrich said. "Visitors can still park at Jim Hill and on the neighboring streets, including by the stave church in the back."
Tammi Milstead, who was to be the visual artist for one of the rained-out performances earlier this summer, is bringing her mosaics to add even more color.
Aldrich suggests bringing lawn chairs for comfort, and a camera for the car display. She will be acting as emcee for this concert, and again reminds audience members that a freewill donation will help keep this summer of community fun continuing wherever a venue can be found.