Some upcoming free events in Apple Valley may help combat cabin fever. Community members are gearing up for their 37th annual Apple Valley Mid-Winter Fest on Feb. 1, and this year marks the third for the Frozen Apple concert series, which runs January through March.
David Peterson, president of the Apple Valley Arts Foundation, which organizes the concert series, said, "We really focus on Minnesota premier acts. We like to keep that local feel."
The first concert of this year's series, on Jan. 18, features the David Gonzalez Band, performing Latin and rhythm and blues music. "David is a world-renowned musician who's done session work for a lot of talented musicians," Peterson said. Gonzalez, a three-time Minnesota Music Awards Winner, has toured with Kool & The Gang, MC Hammer, Whitney Houston and the Winans Family.
Jazz and rhythm and blues singer Patty Peterson, who hails from the musical Peterson family, takes the stage on Feb. 1. Her father played organ at Minnesota Twins games. Her mother, Jeanne Arland Peterson, was a legendary piano player in the Minnesota jazz scene, performing from the 1940s until her death last year. Patty Peterson's early musical training happened by "osmosis," she said, and she and her four siblings all went on to have successful careers as musicians. Peterson, who does a radio show on Jazz 88, has put out four solo albums and has collaborated with her family on several others.
For her band, she'll draw from a cadre of friends and family members. "You never know who's going to be joining me on stage," she said. "It's like a party."
"She has a great following and is a good draw for us," David Peterson said. "She brings just a phenomenal band with her."
Acoustic artist Michael Monroe performs March 1. The North Shore musician plays handmade guitars and bamboo and glass flutes, and he combines the sounds using a looping/layering technique.
"Michael Monroe will pretty much blow the doors off the place," Peterson said.
The arts foundation started the Frozen Apple series after witnessing the popularity of the Music in Kelley Park summer series. The winter concerts, Peterson said, tend to draw fewer families and more of a listening crowd, and organizers said the new setting at Valleywood Golf Course, with big picture windows, offers a nice view of the snowy landscape as well as food and drinks.
The Mid-Winter Fest, which takes place Feb. 1, typically draws over 1,000 people, Apple Valley recreation supervisor Scott Breuer said. Traditionally, they have held it over two days, but this year, they consolidated activities into one day. This year all of the events are at Hayes Park and Apple Valley Community Center, and they have swapped out the snow softball tournaments for a coed adult kickball tournament out in the snow. Breuer said they decided to do this because of the growing popularity of summer kickball tournaments.
The event also features a youth hockey jamboree, a youth and family style DJ, face painting, a pie-eating contest, Wii bowling contest, bingo, cross-country skiing, ice skating, horse-drawn wagon or sleigh rides, and the traditional Medallion Hunt, where clues lead people around the park system to try to locate a prize. This year, Breuer said, they will "implement social media elements into the hunt."
Also this year, Breuer said, there's no need to purchase buttons, as in previous years.
Just "show up and have fun," he said.
Liz Rolfsmeier is a Twin Cities freelance writer.