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Weekend picks: Hmong Freedom Festival, soul food and more

Looking for something to do this weekend? We’ve got you covered.

Athletes play around what appears to be a short volleyball net, but use their feet to lob the ball across the court.
Athletes play Sepak Takraw at the Hmong Freedom Festival

The Twin Cities is one of the top metro areas in the U.S. called home to Hmong population. No wonder this major sports event referred to as the Hmong olympics is taking place here for the 42nd year; this time right in the heart of Saint Paul at Como Park’s McMurray Field on the eastside. The two-day event takes place Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 7pm. If you love sports like Sepak Takraw – a Hmong take on volleyball, Asian cuisine, and cultural entertainment like breakdancing, then this event is a must. But not so much if you don’t like crowds, as this event has a track record of drawing in thousands. We’re talking more than 50,000 in attendance.

Admission is free and the event is all ages. Parking paid by cash only is available at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds for $10 a car. Shuttle buses will provide rides between the parking area and the festival from 6:30am to 9:30pm And if you adults are still buzzing on the way home from this event, HMOOB FREEDOM FEST WEEKEND PARTIES at the Dog House Bar and Grill in Maplewood will be there to catch you.

A native woman wearing a pink ribbon skirt, a black shirt  and a baseball cap looks through a pair of binoculars. She is wearing a backpack and is surrounded by greenery.

BioBlitz is a nature-centered educational event rooted in Indigenous ideology. Awaken your child-like curiosity with species identification and a goal to count as many plants, animals, and other organisms that you can.  Participants will get to visit four survey stations throughout the event – switching stations every hour – as they identify pollinators, plants, dragonflies and birds. This is an opportunity to inspire your inner-student with environmental professionals and community partners. The BioBlitz takes place on Saturday from 9am - 1pm at the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary. All ages and backgrounds are welcome and no prior experience is necessary.

A group 10-12 year-olds in dance shoes rehearse in a dance studio
Students practice their routine at Mexico Azteca Dance School

Mexico Azteca Dance School is showcasing folkloric dance from different regions of Mexico as a part of its annual recital this Saturday at the Folwell Community School Auditorium in Minneapolis. Folkloric dance, also known as Ballet Folklorico, is a cultural dance that emphasizes folk culture with ballet characteristics. If the dynamic trio of classic dance, vibrant traditional garments and cowboy speaks to you, then grab a seat at this event at 6pm sharp for this wonderful show. General admission is $15. Tickets for children 5 to 14 years are $10. Children 4 and under are free.

Looking to support your early-to-bed routine with a post-food coma? Head over the Minneapolis Farmers Market Annex for the Soul Food Festival this Saturday, June 29 from 4 - 8pm and partake in a celebration of classic Southern-inspired soulful flavors, joyful music, and good vibes. Get yourself a fried pastry or chicken leg worth the evening nap, and don’t forget extra napkins and hot sauce! Bring your fellow plant-based food-enthusiast friends, too, as this soul food extravaganza has something for everyone.

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