September 5, 2013

Take the Kids to the River – Act III

September 24 or 25

Making art fairs a family outing is popular around the country. It exposes children to art and artists as a young age and fosters appreciation for creative works. The St. Croix Valley is full of opportunities to have family fun in artful ways.

Start a new tradition at Art in the Park in Afton, Minnesota. The art fair is one of the oldest in the St. Croix Valley and takes over Town Square Park with artists and craftsmen, music and activities. The festive atmosphere spills out into the historic river town’s Main Street local stores and restaurants filling the sidewalks with tents and treats.

If you have a chance to get an early start on Sunday morning, the Mobile Art Gallery will be the site of a pop-up performance by local bluegrass favorite Brian Wicklund. He will be joined by up-and-coming, contemporary bluegrass group, Blue Hazard. The concert will start before the artist tents are open, giving families a chance to soak-up the early morning atmosphere.

Heading north to Stillwater, the kids will have a great view of the new St. Croix Crossing bridge before reaching historic Main Street. Grap a smoothie or baked treat at Tin Bins on the south end of town to enjoy on the outdoor deck with views of the Stillwater Lift Bridge. The café is housed in an original grain elevator that was saved and transformed into a commercial business space by local architecht Michael McGuire.

Just across the street from Tin Bins, you will find Stillwater Trolley Company. Their 45 minutes, Narrated Historic Tours highlight treasures and give peek into what life was like when Stillwater was a booming lumber town. From mansions and boarding houses to the beautiful Carnegie Library and a drive down Chilkoot Hill, the trolley tour will keep the whole family entertained.

Before heading out of town, be sure to stop by Valley Bookseller. This locally-owned, independent book store carries a wide range of books including local interest and authors, indie best sellers and an impressive section for middle grade readers and young adults. Grab a Mad Libs and continue the family fun all the way back home.


  • Afton Art in the Park, Town Square Park, Afton (Sept. 24-25, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; free admission)
  • ArtReach St. Croix Mobile Art Gallery, (Sept. 25, 10:00 a.m., free admission)
  • Stillwater Trolley, 400 E. Nelson St., Stillwater (Narrated Historic Tours: Monday-Friday at 11:00 a.m., 1:00, 2:30 and 4:30 p.m.; Saturday at 11:00 a.m., 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. and Sunday at 12:00, 1:30, 2:30 and 4:30 p.m., Tickets: $13.50 for adults, $12.50 for seniors and military, and $7.50 for children, reservations needed: 651-430-3385)
  • Tin Bins, 413 E. Nelson St., Stillwater (Monday-Thursday, 7:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 7:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m. and Sunday, 7:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.)
  • Valley Bookseller, 217 Main St. N., Stillwater (Monday-Saturday, 9:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. and Sunday, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.)

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