JD McPherson, right, and his bassist Jimmy Sutton were a big hit at Rock the Garden in June outside Walker Art Center. / Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

JD McPherson, right, and his bassist Jimmy Sutton were a big hit at Rock the Garden in June outside Walker Art Center. / Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

He has already played a sold-out First Avenue show and a hotly received Rock the Garden set so far this year in the Twin Cities, and now Oklahoma’s great throwback rocker JD McPherson of “North Side Gal” notoriety will entertain at one of the most Minnesotan of annual Twin Cities music events: The street dance and meatloaf dinner outside the Fitzgerald Theater that marks the kickoff to another season of “A Prairie Home Companion.”

McPherson will perform at the free event this Saturday following the 5-7 p.m. live broadcast of “APHC,” which attendees can hear in progress through speakers outside the theater, at 10 E. Exchange St. in downtown St. Paul. In addition to the $5 meatloaf dinner, the party afterward (7-10 p.m.) also includes a side helping of contests with "Prairie Home" cast members, including the loon-calling battle, a kids joke-telling competition and a dance-off.

Also the musical guest for the broadcast, McPherson is a sizable step up in name-brand recognition for the street dance, which may or may not be a nod to the fact that Garrison Keillor has said this will be his last season on air with “APHC.”

Tickets to Saturday’s broadcast and the other six shows scheduled at the Fitzgerald this fall and winter are already sold-out, including the Oct. 17 performance with Keillor’s heir apparent, musician Chris Thile of the Punch Brothers and Nickel Creek. Minnesotans can still get seats for a Nov. 7 date at the Sanford Center in Bemidji (lovely that time of year).

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