Boasting that "we have the best arts and cultural community of any city of the United States," Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak on Thursday rang the bell for Spark24, a new arts marathon timed for the 24 hours preceding the opening of the Republican National Convention.
The free festival, featuring Twin Cities bands, dance troupes, choral ensembles and theaters, will begin at 5 p.m. on Aug. 30 and run continuously until 5 p.m. Aug. 31.
Centered at Orchestra Hall and its adjoining Peavey Plaza, the Spark24 lineup will include music of Chris Koza, the Alarmists and Twin Cities Gay Men's Chorus, dance by Zenon, Arena and Ragamala and such family-friendly acts as the Teddy Bear Band. (See spark24.org for the complete schedule.)
Event organizer Scott Mayer claimed that the Twin Cities has a leg up on Denver, which is hosting the Democratic National Convention.
"Denver ... is bringing entertainment in from all over the world," he said, "but we here in Minneapolis and St. Paul don't need to do that, because we've got the best entertainment right here."