Easter Family Events

Meeting the Easter Bunny for the first time is kind of like meeting Santa.  The anticipation is great, both for parent and child, and after waiting patiently for your turn the moment finally comes.  From a distance this is such a cute soft looking bunny.  Here, take his hand, oh look at what a cute picture this is going to make… 

And then the moment comes to smile for the camera.

No, look at the camera, look at the camera, it’s okay, he’s really nice.  Just look at daddy, it’s okay, it’s okay…Okay, we’ll try again next year.

Much Better

 

Looking for local Easter events?  Check them out on our search page

We have gone to a number of Easter Egg Hunts the last few years, visiting a different local city each of the last four years.  I have to say, as far as organized holiday events go, Christmas bypasses Easter events by a million.  I mean, how can you beat real camels, reindeer, sleigh rides, and full Christmas reenactments?  I know this post is not about Christmas, but if these things intrigue you, check out the Chaska Hometown Holiday, my personal local favorite.

Back to Easter, though.  We do have one event we will continue to visit after discovering it two years ago.  The Spring Eggstravaganza Rock Hunt at the Lowry Nature Center was so much fun for our two little boys.  They had several craft projects and activities set up for the kids, in addition to the main event, a rock (instead of egg) hunt.  The great thing about the rock hunt was they staggered it throughout the day so there weren’t 300 kids at once trying to do the same thing.  For our younger children, they simply had to find a certain number of colored rocks, hidden in bags along the sides of their walking paths.   For older kids, I believe they had to find secret messages and use them to decipher a code.  It sounded like a good twist to keep it interesting for older kids, but they would have to weigh in on that.  There were also multiple paths to choose from based on the child’s age and abilities.  At the end, they were awarded with a healthy snack that they were very excited about and I very much appreciated.

Finding some rocks. Oh the little things that entertain children.

In addition to the rock hunt, the kids spent their time visiting animals, coloring wooden eggs, and making an Easter Bunny Hat.  The Easter Bunny was there of course, but we were so busy we didn’t even visit him!  If you aren’t near Victoria, there is a similar event in Hennepin County, an Egg Roll in Shakopee and hopefully something in a park at your city as well.  Let us know if there is a fun event near you and we will add it to the site!

Showing off his Easter Bunny headband.

Now I know the traditional City Egg Hunt is still the way most people want to go.

And those have their pros as well.  The boys get to see friends and be a part of a massive race for candy or eggs.  These are also free in most cities and really bring the community together, if only for 10 minutes.  This is my biggest regret for the city or organization that puts these on.  They draw in huge crowds, but haven’t taken advantage of that by figuring out ways to keep them together longer.

We do appreciate them, though.  Our favorite was Chaska when it was rainy outside and the kids got stuck indoors.  The American Legion did a great job of hosting and split the kids into different rooms helping our very young child at the time get a chance to actually find and pick up a couple eggs.  Outdoors at any event or even indoors in a gym this has not happened, due to there just plain being too many people.

Eagerly waiting for the starting call.

Our second favorite was Victoria, which we attended while the kids were 2 and 4.  While it got pushed indoors as well, and my kids each got a whopping – wait for it – zero eggs; the eggs were empty and the kids traded them for a bag of treats.  This stopped the crying quickly since they got a bag without finding any eggs.  In many cases I’ve seen the kids who are shy or wait for the actual starting announcement not get anything, so I liked that they were still awarded for good behavior and not just running the fastest.

Searching for Eggs at the American Legion in Chaska, MN

 

In all cases they have split the kids up by age, but usually they are in a similar area and I don’t think I have ever seen an egg hunt last longer than a full minute.  In the cases that we did have to pay $5 per child I was not happy about that.  But still, when they are young, it is amazing to see their faces when they realize this cool plastic egg gets even more spectacular when you open it and mom actually lets you eat the sugary goodness inside.  On that note, I’m definitely not asking for more candy, but I just wish it would last a little longer.  Of course, this is not our only chance at an egg hunt each year.  Next week I will share some tips about having an at-home egg hunt, which has afforded a lot of fun even for the adults in our extended family.

Discovering his first Hershey’s Kiss

Of course, when you get pictures like this, it makes you want to go every year!

We’re Excited to Introduce Event Reviews!

We are so excited to introduce event reviews because, like everything these days, it is a great help to hear honest feedback from from other everyday people.  If you attend an event please take the time to review it so future attendees have a better idea of what to expect.  Your review will show up on all future occurrences, so even if it isn’t happening again for a year, next year’s visitors will be able to see you had a hard time finding parking or that you were able to bring your dog.  If you have pictures you are willing to share those would be much appreciated and can be included as well!

You can use these reviews to share tips or additional info for attendees such as “Arrive early, it gets crowded fast!” or “It has a lot of activities for little kids, but my teenagers got bored” etc.  You guys have done reviews before, you know how they work.

Please keep in mind when making reviews whether the events are paid or free, and who is sponsoring them, because of course large companies will have a lot more resources than the local mom’s club.  Rate them for what they are, or what they were advertised to be; if you paid $40 for a beer tasting and only got one sample you can complain a lot more than if it was free 🙂

My family has been busily visiting as many events as we could in the last year, so I will get the ball rolling with my own personal reviews, but I look forward to the time when the site is filled with multiple opinions, personal descriptions, and even thank you’s to the event organizers who put so much work into planning and executing fun for us to enjoy.

Please note also, if you have questions or quick comments on an event, post those at the bottom under the questions and comments section.  Others might know the answer, or I will try to find out from the event organizers and respond.

2015 Halloween Fun with Young Kids

If your kids are anything like mine, they would wear their Halloween costumes the entire month of October.  Luckily Minnesota communities seem to provide plenty of opportunities to do just that!  We visited a few of the events on the calendar last year, with plans to return again this year.  I don’t often include specific business events, as this site would be filled with sales, open houses, and general business advertising, but I did include the Byerly’s Boo Blast because we personally attended it last year and had a great time.  If you are close by a Byerly’s check their schedule for the Boo Blast.  While very crowded, it was a nice, free way to get the kids out in their costumes and get a couple healthier treats as well.

At the 2014 Chanhassen Halloween Party, please excuse the unfinished costumes, messy cookie covered faces, and unprepared blurry phone picture. It was a really cute event though! To see this year’s plans for the event, visit the Chanhassen Halloween Party Event Page.

I also wanted to address alternatives to standard trick or treating.  Most of the Halloween events listed can be done in addition to trick or treating since they are in different dates or during daylight hours, but many of them stand on their own if you are looking for a straight up alternative.

There are a few reasons these days that people make the choice to skip the traditional night door-to-door visits.  If you are concerned about taking the kids out in the dark, it interferes with bedtime, or for any other reason, check your local neighborhood or church for trunk-or-treating.  Trunk or treating is usually put on by a community or church in daylight at a parking lot.  Bring a bag of candy and your kids and they can trick or treat in full costume attire from trunk to trunk.

Another safe option is to check for Chamber Trick or Treating events.  If your city has one, it is generally a group of businesses that get together and put together a map so you can trick or treat from business to business.  These can vary from city to city in terms of quality and number of businesses, but some get really into it, sponsoring things like costumes contests, cookie decorating, of pumpkin painting and carving.

Finally, check out local apple orchards for special Halloween events.  They are already set up with many fall activities and decor, so a few of them add a special Halloween event to round out their season.  They also make a great alternative if you are looking to skip the holiday altogether.

For the full list of Halloween events coming up, visit our Search page with Halloween Event tags.

At Minnesota Harvest visiting the animals pre-Halloween; many local apple orchards are also having Halloween events this year to close out their seasons. Minnesota Harvest, for example, is having a dog-o-ween this year. These are great opportunities to take advantage of the everyday activities with some added Halloween fun!

 

Local Memorial Day Celebrations

Memorial Day is an important holiday in America, but like many holidays, the meaning behind that extra day off in May sometimes gets forgotten in the excitement of a long weekend at the beginning of summer.

Take a little time this year to attend a ceremony close to home.  Many cities and even small towns have services in a local cemetery, while others go all out with parades, fun-runs to raise funds for troops, and city-wide celebrations.  It is truly moving to see your fellow citizens gather to gather to remember the men and women we have lost.  Take a few minutes on Memorial Day to also think of the people who have lost their children, parents, siblings, or friends to help the rest of us live in peace and prosperity.  I would like to thank all who have served and share my gratitude to those who have lost their lives in support of our country.

If your town isn’t on here, check the website of your local American Legion or VFW, or even your city website to see if there will be a ceremony.  If you aren’t able to find one, you could visit a larger event like the Military History Living Timeline at the Historic Fort Snelling.

Here is a list of Memorial Weekend Events on the Calendar:

Visitor Submitted Events

Hi everyone!  Check this page for last-minute events or additions!

We have a form set up so visitors to the site can submit events now (go to the submit an event page), and we will add these events as they are approved and we have time.  Sometimes events pop up last minute though, or they don’t quite fit the standard format of the website (we are going to try to focus on community and free events as much as possible), but we would still like people to see them.

Please share your event via the comment section on this page if you have an event you want to share but are afraid it is too late to get it added to the website or you aren’t sure if it fits the theme.

You can display events here and also submit them to the website; the website will allow visitors to more easily find the event on the calendar or by location, date or tags, but you can tag these as well and they ill still show up in some searches.  We will also try to check here for events to add to the calendar as well.  Thank you for making this site even better!

Take it with a grain of salt

Please understand that this site is currently completely volunteer-run (post-full time job, husband, and kids) and dependent upon the information provided by the event coordinators.  Sometimes major updates or changes are made to an event just weeks or days before it is scheduled, and many local outdoors events are subject to weather.  Whenever possible I try to include the event coordinator’s website in the details; it is a very good idea to double check the information on their site before attending as it may have changed since the event was posted on MN Community Planner.

Many times descriptions are bare-bones on city and Chamber websites, so if you have more details, please comment on the event page or contact us with updates or corrections.  If you have attended an event in the past we would love to hear what you liked about it or some tips (when to arrive, where to park, etc) that might help this year’s attendees.

We are hoping to allow visitors submit events as well, but until that program gets moving, just contact us with event details and the website if you want it posted to the site.  Please note we are trying to focus on free community events, but we are also featuring paid events that are open to the public (or at least all residents of a specific city or county) and might bring people together. Some paid events we will try to include first are beer or wine tastings (since they are a personal favorite of mine) and organized fundraisers, like the Scott County Relay for Life.

We would love to see more local car shows, city festivals, County Fairs, events for kids, and anything off the beaten path that might not get exposure somewhere else.  Please help us improve this site and make it helpful for bringing your community together!

Our Focus

 

Waving the Amreican Flag at the Chanhassen 4th of July Parade

Hi everyone, I made this site in the hopes that it helps local residents find events to attend that are both fun and close to home.  When my husband and I had kids we started realizing how many events are put on in our area by local Chambers of Commerce, the city, and even businesses and organizations.  We were surprised by the number of times we just happened to be walking downtown or biking through a nearby city and accidentally came upon a town festival or other event.  We started taking advantage of these, visiting Farmer’s Markets, biking to Art Festivals or Beer and Wine Tastings, and bringing the kids to parades and holiday events.

Once we realized how much was going on in the community, we also realized how difficult it was to find the really local events, not just highly publicized events in Minneapolis and St. Paul, so hopefully this site will help you find out what is going on in your local community.  Since Most likely it will center around Carver County, Scott County, and other nearby towns for the time-being, but I hope to expand the areas with visitor help!  If you know of an event, please contact me to get it onto the site!