So long, summer: Labor Day holiday marks unofficial start of autumn

Summer, we hardly knew you.

As the St. Croix Valley ends August by going into the Labor Day holiday weekend, vacations wind down and students are either back in school or return to school Tuesday.

But as autumn prepares to knock on our door next month, there are weekend events that let us string summer along a few more days.

Minnesota State Fair

The Minnesota State Fair wraps up its annual 10-day run at 10 p.m. Monday. Until then, you still have time to sample the fair’s wide variety of food-on-a-stick and experience the joy of deep-fried Twinkies and pickles. Bon appetit.

High school football

Teams have been practicing since the middle of this month, and for many, the end of the month starts the new season. The Stillwater Ponies begin their second season under head coach Beau LaBore tonight at Suburban East Conference rival Woodbury. Kickoff is 7 p.m. The Ponies home opener is Sept. 7 against Forest Lake.

Garage theater

Off-Leash Area of Minneapolis returns to Jon Skaalen’s big pink garage in Stillwater for performances of “The Picnic,” a story about the relationship between a dog and bird over four seasons. Performances are 7 p.m. today and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Because of the small space, reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 612-724-7372 or emailing [email protected]

Star light, star bright

WCCO-AM meteorologist Mike Lynch brings his popular “Starwatch” program to the Lake Elmo Park Reserve from 8:15 to 10:30 p.m. today. Look to the heavens with Lynch through telescopes and observe late summer stars and constellations. You can even check out a “blue moon,” August’s second full moon.

Campfires go out

Reptiles and bugs are the subjects of the last Washington County Parks campfire programs of the season Saturday. James Gerholdt of Remarkable Reptiles presents “Reptiles” at 7 p.m. at the Lake Elmo Park Reserve in Lake Elmo. Visitors can meet a boa constrictor, timber rattlesnake and rare Blanding’s turtle. Entomologist Dr. Bruce Biebrink, “Bruce the Bug Guy,” presents his hands-on and entertaining show, “Bugs,” at 7 p.m. at St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park. Both programs are free with a $5 daily or $25 annual park permit.

Photo courtesy Off-Leash Area of Minneapolis
The Off-Leash Area of Minneapolis theater group presents “The Picnic” today through Sunday in Jon Skaalen’s big pink garage in Stillwater.

The last Zumba on the beach sessions are Saturday and Monday at the Lake Elmo Park Reserve swimming beach. Stephen “Kepano” Blythe leads the high-energy fitness classes from 9-10 a.m. both days. No registration or equipment is needed and all ages and abilities are welcome. Dress appropriately for exercise and bring along sunscreen and water.