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It's a big weekend for art fairs in the metro — here's a guide to what's going on in your neck of the woods

When the snowbanks are piled up alongside the sidewalk, and I'm sure I'll never be able to go outside in shirtsleeves again, you know what always cheers me up? Sunny memories of summertime art fairs and neighborhood block parties, live music and cheese curds, roving buskers and chicks on sticks. And this weekend, those of us who look forward all year to browsing through art in the park have a happy problem: Over the next few days, we have an embarrassment of riches, and in every part of the Twin Cities, from which to choose.

Minneapolis MOSAIC Festival kick-off: This year's opening night to the annual MOSAIC festival is a stunner. On Saturday, June 6, this city-sponsored, summer-long arts festival launches with a generous sampling of the sorts of events going on all season — music, visual art, theater, film, dance, literature — that celebrate the rich diversity of Minneapolis's creative and cultural communities. (Get the full line-up of live performances and various stage locations for the opening night festivities here.)

In addition to the hubbub of arty happenings, on the MOSAIC festival's opening night the Minneapolis Arts Commission will honor the first annual MAC Award recipients in a ceremony at the Pantages Theatre, hosted by Mayor R.T. Rybak. This year's honored public art projects include a colorful public bench in North Minneapolis created by neighborhood youth and former gang members, a Nicollet Avenue mural project celebrating the city's history by Walldogs on Nicollet, and a downtown skyway photography installation by Nancy Ann Coyne paying homage to the varied experiences of new immigrants to Minnesota.

Grand Old Day: On Sunday, June 7, St. Paul's Grand Avenue will welcome thousands upon thousands of visitors for its 36th annual blowout, "It's Grand Being Green," with a parade in the morning and live music by popular local bands throughout the day, lots of food, shopping, the Grand Old Day Art Fair, Minnesota Rollergirls, and various and sundry street performers and cultural events. Get the full schedule of Grand Old Day happenings here.

Red Hot Art Festival: Saturday and Sunday, the Stevens Square neighborhood of Minneapolis is hosting an art festival of its own, with a two-day celebration of live music, hands-on art activities, and exhibitions of work by local artists. The night before the festival, you can stop by Stevens Square Center for the Arts for the opening of "The Neighborhood Show," a showcase of artwork by some of the many artists living in Stevens Square neighborhood--one of the smallest, yet most densely populated areas of Minneapolis.

Edina Art Fair: In addition to its usual, vast juried exhibition of fine art, the 43rd Annual Edina Art Fair promises a special new showcase of "Green Art," featuring artists whose work is made almost entirely of recycled and/or reused, environmentally friendly materials. Friday through Sunday (June 5-7), the tony suburban neighborhood expects more than 70,000 visitors to pass through. The Edina Art Fair will show work from more than 375 artists, who hail from all over the country. In addition to the fine art, fairgoers can catch any number of live performances, visit the Kids Art Zone, grab some bad-for-you food, and significantly lighten their pocketbooks browsing through all the delightful things to buy. Visit the Edina Art Fair website for the weekend's schedule of events. (PDF)

St. Anthony Park Arts Festival: St. Paul's picturesque St. Anthony Park offers a more intimate, less hectic iteration of the al fresco arts festival. This one, held all day Saturday, June 6, is perfect for families with small children. Of course, there are local artists aplenty, with booths displaying work in every conceivable medium; there will be food vendors and live music around all day as well. But here's what makes the St. Anthony Park Arts Festival such a hotspot for families: The event, which serves as a fundraiser for many programs offered by the St. Anthony Park neighborhood branch library, boasts a host of kid-pleasing activities, like kite-making workshops, an exotic animal petting zoo, pottery demonstrations, water wars, and pony rides. Click here (PDF) for the daylong schedule of events and roster of artists at this year's St. Anthony Park Arts Festival.

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