From King Tut to talent shows to Taylor Swift, plenty of big events are in the works for 2011

This shabti, or funerary figure, of King Tut was found in the antechamber to his tomb. It was meant to perform labor in the afterlife so that the king himself could rest.
Copyright 2010 Sandro Vannini
This shabti, or funerary figure, of King Tut was found in the antechamber to his tomb. It was meant to perform labor in the afterlife so that the king himself could rest.

There are no statewide or national elections in 2011. No political conventions. No recounts.

We won’t host the Final Four, or a major golf event. A big-screen LCD is the closest Vikings fans will get to the Super Bowl. And the big ships won’t be sailing into Duluth next summer.

Whatever will we do?

No fear – there are plenty of big events happening around the state as we wait for the predicted apocalypse of 2012. You know, another presidential campaign.

Here’s a sampling of events covering an eclectic range of interests:

We’ve got talent: NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” reality show holds auditions at the Minneapolis Convention Center Jan. 22 and 23. You can preregister online.

King Tut: Opening Feb. 18 at the Science Museum of Minnesota, the King Tut exhibit brings to St. Paul more than 100 artifacts found in the tombs of the great Egyptian Pharaohs. It runs through Sept. 5.

Blind Bowling: The American Blind Bowlers Association holds its national tournament May 26-30 in Bloomington. I hear they’re very good.

Dylan Days: Bob Dylan will celebrates his 70th birthday next year, and his hometown of Hibbing is doing it up big with a special rendition of its annual Dylan Days. The events run May 26-29, and there’ll be singing and contests and tours.

Taylor time: Country superstar Taylor Swift has scheduled two concerts at St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center for June 14 and 15. She recently won the American Music Association’s Favorite Country Female Artist Award.

NHL Draft skates in: The National Hockey League will holds its annual entry draft at Xcel Energy Center June 25 and 26, with tons of hockey execs, media and fans showing up to see which young player ends up where.

Penguins on parade: Two dozen black-footed penguins — not the hockey-playing Pittsburgh Penguins — will be coming to the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley in July. “Penguins of the African Coast” exhibit will open in a newly renovated space, where the indoor theater used to be.

National gymnastics championships: USA Gymnastics’ big annual event — the Visa Championships — will set up in St. Paul Aug. 17-20. Men’s and women’s gymnastics will be staged at Xcel Energy Center, with rhythmic gymnastics at Roy Wilkins Auditorium. This is the third time they’ve come to the Twin Cities, the last time in 2006 in St. Paul.

Legions of Legionnaires: Thousands of American Legion members will hit the streets of downtown Minneapolis Aug. 26 to Sept. 1 when the organization’s 93rd annual National Convention comes to town.

Vikings home opener: The date and opponent haven’t been announced yet, but the Vikings will likely have their home opener for the 2011-2012 season in September. Will they have a quarterback? Will they have a stadium?

Sh-h-h-h-h! No talking, but you can read all about it: The American Association of School Librarians will meet in Minneapolis Oct. 26-30 for their national convention.

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