Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Weekend Picks: Celebrate May across the region

Miniature art works in tones of pink are displayed on a white table at an art gallery.
MacRostie Art Center
The Little Big Show is on display at the MacRostie Art Center in Grand Rapids until June 28, 2024.

It's the first weekend of May and there’s tons going on! KAXE Producer Jennifer Barr has rounded up some fun things to check out across northern Minnesota.

From celebrations of Star Wars to local art to a smelt fry, it’s another busy weekend in northern Minnesota. Don’t ever let anyone tell you there’s nothing to do around here!

Here’s what’s happening around the region:


  • The 57th annual Backus Firefighters’ Smelt and Fish Fry is Saturday, May 4, starting at 4 p.m. at the Backus fire hall. All you can eat. Adults are $15 and students are $10.


  • Headwaters Music and Arts has their monthly coffeehouse and open mic beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, May 3. May's featured performer is Tiny Town.
  • Watermark Art Center opens their annual middle school invitational show Friday, May 3, with a reception from 5-7 p.m. The show includes work from students at Bemidji Middle School, St. Philip’s Middle School, Voyageur’s Expeditionary School, and Laporte Middle School. It will be on display until May 24.
    Also opening is “Water is Life,” a collection of prints and ceramics focused on the inclusion of water in art throughout history. This exhibit will be on display in the Harlow/Kleven Gallery through August.
  • The Bemidji Public Library and Beltrami County Historical Society present "They Brought Their Songs: International Folk Music in Minnesota" at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 4, at the Beltrami County History Center. The concert will be live-streamed on Bemidji Public Library’s Facebook page.
  • Learn about black bears at Lake Bemidji State Park Saturday, May 4, at 1:30 p.m. There will be a short presentation and a choice of activities for kids.
  • A young boy looks up at a tall Chewbacca cutout in a library.
    Heather Johnson
    Young Alex Johnson meets Chewbacca at the Bemidji Public Library at a previous "May the 4th Be With You" event.
  • Beltrami Electric hosts a multi-vendor indoor garage sale Saturday, May 4, from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at their location on Technology Drive. Food concessions available. All proceeds benefit the United Way of the Bemidji Area.
  • The Bemidji Public Library celebrates Star Wars Day on Saturday “May the 4th,” from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be crafts, games, and costume contests and a special appearance from 12 to 2 p.m. by the 501st Legion cosplayers.
  • Headwaters School of Music and the Arts hosts author Will Weaver Sunday, May 5, at 2 p.m. He'll talk about his latest novel, "Power and Light".


  • The Danish Sisterhood Amber Lodge #186 hosts an ebelskiver brunch with a craft and bake sale Saturday, May 4, from 9:30 to 11 a.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church.
  • Celebrate Arbor Day at Northland Arboretum in Brainerd on Saturday, May 4, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with activities, demonstrations, free seedlings, and refreshments.
  • Northland Arboretum also has bird hikes every Wednesday and Saturday at 8 a.m. during the month of May. Pre-registration requested.
  • The Crossing Arts Alliance in downtown Brainerd hosts "Conversation with Artist Adrienne Benjamin" at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 4. Benjamin is an Anishinaabe multi-faceted artist, equity advocate and cultural educator. She's known for her work as a reconciliation advisor for Minnetonka Moccasins and has led their efforts to better relations and right wrongs of the past. Free, pre-registration not required, but welcomed.

Grand Rapids

  • Grand Rapids Arts presents their monthly First Friday Art Walk 4-7 p.m. Friday, May 3. Stops include Benders, Stained Glass with Class and Old Central School.
  • MacRostie Art Center opens the “Little Big Show” exhibit of miniature works featuring Nancy Kingbird and 80 other artists. Giinawind Creative Space hosts “Air and Water,” a new exhibition of appliqued mural blankets by Rick Kagigebi. There will also be a fashion show at 7 p.m. at the MAC, with Annie Humphrey and Terri LaDuke of Zaasaakwe Designs.
A woman stands in a snowy field with woods in the background, wearing a custom designed dress and high heels.
MacRostie Art Center
Geezis Humphrey models a custom dress designed by her mother Annie Humphrey.

  • There are two events in the parking lot kitty-corner from Old Central School as well:
    • Free Range Food Co-op has their site announcement party from 3 to 7 p.m. on Friday, May 3, with their location being revealed at 5 p.m. Enjoy live music from Formerly Charles One-Man Band, local vendors from the Farmer’s Market, and brews and bites by Klockow & Rapids Brewing, Singing Chihuahua Tacos and Borealis Creamery.
    • Plus, Northern Cruisers and Itasca Vintage Car Clubs have their season-opening First Friday Show-n-Shine on the west side of the parking lot, with Bobcat’s Lunchbox on site. This event is open to all collector cars of any model year.
  • VFW Post 1720 has a Vets Day Out Saturday, May 4, from 12 to 4 p.m. with pulled pork sandwiches, a silent auction, raffles and live music. Proceeds go towards a trip to a Minnesota Twins game for local veterans.
  • Grand Rapids Area Male Chorus presents their spring concert, “Living Life to the Fullest,” on Sunday, May 5, at 2:30 p.m. at the Reif Center, with special guests Grand Rapids High School Thunderhawk Singers.


  • Cass Soil and Water Conservation District hosts “Bees & Brews,” on Sunday, May 5, from 1 to 3 p.m. at Rendezvous Brewing. Learn how to preserve and enhance your shoreline using native plants. Free seeds will be distributed, and the brewery will donate a portion of sales to the Association of Cass County Lakes.

Hoyt Lakes

  • VFW Post 8144 hosts “May the Fourth Be With You” Star Wars trivia starting at 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 4. Enjoy seven rounds of questions for your team with some individual questions in between rounds.


  • There is a phenology walk on Saturday, May 4, at 9 a.m. at the Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge south of McGregor. Learn about birds and nature on a walk with John Latimer, Pam Perry and more. Free and open to all. The walk will begin at the visitor center. Learn more here.

Park Rapids

  • Nemeth Art Center in Park Rapids has an open house to celebrate the opening of the 2024 gallery season on Friday, May 3, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Bella Cafe.

Do you have community events to share? Email us!

More from KAXE's Morning Show

Stay Connected
Jennifer has worked at Northern Community Radio since 2006 and spent 17 years as Membership Manager. She shifted to a host/producer position in 2023. She hosts the Monday Morning Show and is the local host of National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" a few days a week. She also writes public services announcements and creates web stories.