Ice Castles will return to Miller Park this winter
Eden Prairie's City Council approved an agreement on Sept. 15 with Utah-based Ice Castles LLC to bring the attraction back to Miller Park this winter.
The company, which "grows" thousands of icicles a day to create the ice castles in places across the country, brought the acre-sized attraction to Eden Prairie last year and the Mall of America in Bloomington the year before. It drew more than 80,000 people to Eden Prairie in 2014-2015, bringing money to the city and visitors from across Minnesota.
In the agreement, the company will pay the city for all water costs, $3,500 a month and an additional $3,000 for each 10,000 visitors exceeding 40,000 people. For more details on the attraction, go to icecastles.com.
St. Croix Region
Autumn colors lagging, but they'll be worth wait
Bold autumn colors, usually emerging along the St. Croix River by this time of year, will arrive a little later.
Above-average precipitation during the summer months ensured green, healthy trees going into fall, said Patricia Arndt of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources parks and trails division.
"If we continue to have adequate rainfall as nights become longer, the autumn display should be spectacular," she said.
Hwy. 95, north of Stillwater, is recognized as a choice route to view autumn colors. The best colors come from a handful of primary species: Sugar maples and pin oaks produce vibrant oranges and reds. Green ash, hackberry and aspen bring yellows and golds. Brilliant reds can be found in sumac, a shrub, and Virginia creeper, a vine.
One of the best viewing areas, William O'Brien State Park, hasn't yet shown its true fall colors. The park currently ranks in the zero to 10 percent category on the DNR's fall color finder, which is available here: dnr.state.mn.us/fall_colors.
Free energy fair coming up
Minneapolis residents can sign up for money-saving energy programs, see presentations about ways to make homes more energy-efficient and learn about options for going solar at an upcoming energy fair.
Attendees will get free LED light bulbs and a complimentary continental breakfast. Children can have fun with a chalk house, coloring books, temporary tattoos and games. The event is 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Oct. 10 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
Emerald ash borer found near Medicine Lake
For the first time, the emerald ash borer has been found in Plymouth.
The city and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture announced last week that the ash-killing invasive species had been found in at least one tree in the city near Medicine Lake. The invasive species has moved across the Twin Cities, but wasn't found in Plymouth until now. The city says it's been preparing since 2012 with prevention methods such as removing smaller or unhealthy ash trees. About 16 percent of the city's trees are ash while in parks, ash makes up about 12 percent of the tree population.
For more details on the pest, go to plymouthmn.gov/EAB.
OctoberZest event supports food shelf
Tickets are on sale for OctoberZest, an annual fundraiser featuring "harvest cuisine from local restaurants" to benefit the Open Door food shelf.
The event for people 21 and older at Lost Spur Golf and Event Center will run from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Oct. 4. There will samples from local restaurants, craft beer and a cash bar, raffles and opportunities to meet local farmers. Tickets are $25 per person.
The Open Door serves 5,500 to 6,000 people per month across the south metro through multiple food shelf programs. For more information about OctoberZest, go to theopendoorpantry.org.