Town picnics, author grillings add new dimension downtown

by Jim Boyle

Editor

Downtown Elk River just got busier on Thursday nights.

Joe Petters, 7, of Elk River enjoyed an ice cream cone despite the chilly start to the summer concert series sponsored by The Bank of Elk River and Elk River Parks and Recreation.

Joe Petters, 7, of Elk River enjoyed an ice cream cone despite the chilly start to the summer concert series sponsored by The Bank of Elk River and Elk River Parks and Recreation.

Reading Frenzy and the Elk River Area Arts Alliance kicked off their town picnic and author grilling schedule that fed right into the Downtown Concert Series sponsored by The Bank of Elk River each year.

The first band was Arch Allies, a fitting introduction for the Reading Frenzy-sponsored picnics that will work hand in hand with the Elk River Arts Alliance’s new location and the concert series all summer long.

Town Picnics and Author Grillings, which will include make-and-take art projects, will be on the Granite Shores Patio at 609 Main St. on the corner of Main Street and Parrish Avenue at the entrance to downtown Elk River.

They will run 5-7 p.m. each Thursday. The concerts, just down the street in Rivers Edge Commons Park, where Main Street intersects with Jackson Avenue, start at 7 p.m. each Thursday.

“We think it’s a great addition to Thursday nights in Elk River,” said Sheri Olson, the owner of Reading Frenzy in Elk River and Zimmerman. “Gven tonight’s weather and the turnout, I’m pleased. I think there’s real potential.

The first author grilling Thursday featured Evelyn Klein, a poet who authored “Once Upon a Neighborhood” and  “Seasons of Desire.” It also featured C.S. Yelle, an author of young adult and adult fantasy. Yelle authored the “Taking Angels & Reclaiming Ter Chadain” series.

The make-and-take art project was a glow bugs masterpiece.

Those that came for the  concert listened to the Journey/REO/Styx tribute band, including some of the families that stopped in at the picnic for food and fun. Here’s the rest of the  summer schedule:

June 13

~Carolyn Boehlke: Adult fiction author - “Chasing the Moon”

~Ryan Jacobson: Children’s/middle-grade author - Choose your path/can you survive adventure series, MN Hauntings, and over 20 books

~Make & Take Art Project – Finger robots

~Band – The Jimmys (Chicago Blues/New Orleans Funk)

June 20

~Colin Nelson: Mystery/thriller author - “Fallout” adn “Reprisal”

~Greg Bancroft: Children’s author - “Betsy’s Day at the Game”

~Make & Take Art Project – Tinfoil art

~Band – Deuces Wild! (Dueling Pianos)

June 27

~Phil Rustad: Mystery/crime fiction author - “Dart” and “Alamo”

~Stephen Shaskan: Children’s author and illustrator - “Three Triceratops Tuff”

and “A Dog is a Dog”

~Make & Take Art Project – TBA

~Band – WhiteSide Walls (rock ‘n’ roll ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s)

July 4 – No downtown concert.

(Note: Elk River July 4th Celebration at Lions Park with winners of Reading Frenzy writing contest and Sandhill Photography Club photo contest announced. For more details on the writing contest, see store and website for details.)

July 11

~Susan Koefod: Mystery author - “Burnt Out,” “Washed Up” and “Broken Down”

~Karlajean Becvar: Middle-grade children’s author - “Seeing Stone” and

“Secrets of the Stone”

~Make & Take Art Project – Marker watercolors

~Band – Rubber Soul (Beatles tribute)

July 18

~Ruth Bachman: Inspirational/memoir/gift book author - “Growing Through the Narrow Spots”

~Nicholas Hupton: Children’s/middle-grade author - “The Ridge” and “If I Know it’s Coming”

~Make & Take Art Project – Spray art

~Band – Bend in the River (big band)

July 25

~Jessie Chandler: Mystery author - “Pickle in the Middle Murder,” “Bingo Barge Murder” and “Hide & Snake Murder”

~Steve Lindstrom: Young adult author - “The Last Ram”

~Make & Take Art Project – Weaving

~Band – Chris Olson (Elvis tribute)

August 1

~Stan Tekiela: National bestselling naturalist/photographer and children’s/adult author - “Paws & Claws,” “Whose Butt?,” “Birds of MN,” “Nature Field Guides,” “Majestic Eagles,” and more than 100 other books

~Make & Take Art Project – Sidewalk chalk paint

~Band - Rockin’ Hollywoods (rock ‘n’ roll ‘50s, ‘60s ‘70s)

August 8

~ReShonda Tate Billingsley: New York Times bestselling author - “A Family Affair,” “Friends & Foes,” “Sinners & Saints,” and 26 other books

~Maxeen Wyatt: Children’s author - “Kimberly’s Courage”

~Make & Take Art Project - TBA

~Band – Killer Hayseeds (country)

August 15

~David Holmes: Crime fiction/thriller author- “Hell’s Doorstep,” “Hell Burger,” “Loose Gravel,” “Secrets” and “Salt of the Earth”

~Stephanie Wallingford: Children’s author - “A Day at the Lake”

~Make & Take Art Project – TBA

~Band – Ladies of the ‘80s (tribute to the female artists of the ‘80s)

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