Bemidji Legacy Destination Weekend is Here

Announcing  a Stellar Line-up of Legacy Destination Weekend Events

As one of twelve Legacy Destination Cities selected, Bemidji is pleased to highlight a weekend of arts, history, and parks and trails activities representative of the quality and variety of opportunities the community offers though out the year.  We’re hoping for a large turn out in venues both indoors and out.  Choose among orchestral, historical, literary, theatrical, and outdoor events to build a weekend of fun and learning for the entire family.  To see a complete schedule of events, go to

The statewide Legacy Destination program was designed and implemented by the Minnesota Citizens for the Arts, Conservation Minnesota and Explore Minnesota Tourism.  “Great things in both the outdoors and the arts are happening in every corner of the state because of the Legacy Amendment” said Sheila Smith, Executive Director of MCA, “and we wanted Minnesotans to know how they can participate.”

Bemidji’s Legacy Destination Weekend is being organized locally through VisitBemidji, the area’s destination marketing organization, in partnership with Region 2 Arts Council, Bemidji Community Arts Council, the Beltrami History Center, the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra, the City of Bemidji, Lake Bemidji State Park and the Paul Bunyan Playhouse.

The weekend features a variety of events hosted by organizations that have received Legacy grants but not limited to said funding.  For event details go to

  • The Paul Bunyan Playhouse, celebrating its 61st season of professional theater, hosted a gala fundraising event beginning at 5:30 p.m. last night to kick off the 2011 Summer Theater season.  The stage was set bistro-style and catered by local restaurants, with a special program presented by Artistic Director, Zach Curtis and fellow performers.  This activity was funded in part by a Legacy grant from the Region 2 Arts Council.
  • In partnership with the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra, Nautilus Theater Company from  St Paul, presents: “I Am Anne Frank” a music-drama based on the diaries of Anne Frank that combine excerpts from the diaries with songs that reveal her inner life in hiding from the Nazi regime during 1944-46.  This heartbreaking and ultimately uplifting story stirs our deepest emotions as it insists upon honoring the endurability of the human spirit.  Four performances will be held at the Main Theater of Bemidji State University.  Performance times are:  7:30 pm. Thurs – Sat and 3:00 p.m. Sat.  Tickets $10 adults/$5 students available at the door and in advance at two local sources. This activity funded in part by a Legacy grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board.
  • The Beltrami County History Museum, located in the renovated 1912 Great Northern Railroad Depot, houses state-of-the-art exhibits representing the broad diversity of people who lived  and continue to live in the area.  Currently, the Main Gallery exhibit. ‘Doctor, Doctor, Give Me the News is a moving exhibition capturing the sights and sounds of early healthcare, while exploring various facets of healing techniques in Beltrami County from traditional Ojibwe healing, concocted home remedies, the tonic fresh air surrounding Lake Julia Sanitorium to early dentistry. The museum also features the John G. Morrison, Jr., American Indian Collection. Currently on exhibit from the Morrison Collection is Baskets and Beads. The restored Telegrapher Office is complete with logging and railroad history, Paul Bunyan and Babe “The Blue Ox” and an active scale model railway system.  Also for your viewing enjoyment is an archival emporium exhibit, ‘Women Through The Ages’, showcasing the beauty of early wedding dresses.  Open M-S 10 am- 4pm.
  • For hands-on history, a Geocaching Puzzle Trail activity is available at the History Center.  Pick up brochure and head out to find historic sites in downtown Bemidji.  While a GPS will be helpful to ‘solve the puzzle’, it is not necessary to be successful.  A prize is awarded for correct completion of the puzzle.  These activities are funded in part by a Legacy grant from the Minnesota Historical Society.
  • The Bemidji Community Art Center, located in the historic Carnegie building, sponsors 8-10 exhibits per year featuring visual artists from around the country, state and region.  The current show, High School Invitational, highlights student artists from our area. Gallery and gift shop hours are Tuesday–Friday 12-5 p.m. and extended hours 10-4 on Saturday April 30.
  • Dr Mark Christensen, poet and non-fiction writer, will read from his work in both genres beginning at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 30, as part of the Spoken Word Series.  Prior to the reading, he will present a writer’s workshop entitled, Creating Nonfiction: Telling Truths Artfully, which will run from 1-4 p.m.  Adults in all stages of writing development interested in improving their non-fiction skills are invited to register.  Advance registration of $35 ($20 students) is required and space is limited.  These activities are funded in part by a Legacy grant from the Region 2 Arts Council.
  • Friday, April 29th, award-winning guitarist, Tim Sparks, will be on stage at the Historic Chief Theater downtown Bemidji at 7:30 p.m.  Tim’s blending of musical styles from traditional country blues to jazz, gospel and classical, has won him extensive praise from all corners of the music world.  $12 tickets available in advance at the Historic Chief Theater and Headwaters School of Music & the Arts.  Also at the door.  These activities are funded in part by a Legacy grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board.
  • Bemidji City Parks and Recreation Department, as part of the Fit City mission of increasing walkability and recreational opportunities within the City, has teamed up with Lake Bemidji State Park staff to bring Geocaching activities to the weekend schedule of events.  Geocaching is an outdoor activity in which participants use GPS units for a treasure hunting game that is enjoyed by people from all age groups with a strong sense of community and support for the environment.  Those new to one of the fastest growing sports in the country, can attend a ‘Geocaching 101’ program offered by the Lake Bemidji State Park Naturalist at the Tourist Information Center waterfront area, at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, April 29 and again on Saturday April 30 at 10:00 a.m.  The program will introduce beginners to GPS units and how they work.  The program is open to all ages, with GPS units available for use during the program.  For seasoned geocachers, the Bemidji 10 Cache Legacy Weekend Challenge will run from Friday, April 29 – May 1.   Ten new ‘signature caches’ from some of the area’s clever geocachers will be placed to lead participants on a trail of recreational adventure around town.  Included in the Bemidji 10 are Cache In/Trash Out (CITO) caches and a Breakfast Buddies gathering at The Cabin Coffeehouse at 9:00 a.m. Saturday, April 30. Additional area geocaching opportunities available are:  Beltrami History Puzzle Trail, Lake Bemidji State Park Wildlife Safari and Geo-Trekking Trail and over 200 registered caches within a twenty mile radius of Bemidji.
  • The average date the ice goes out of Lake Bemidji is April 26.  To celebrate this sign of Spring, the Bogs and Logs Chapter of MN Master Naturalists, Lake Bemidji State Park and Headwaters Science Center  are joining together to host the annual Ice-Out’ Ice Cream Social.   Volunteers gather lake ice as it is going out and use it to freeze various varieties of secret ice cream recipes for all to enjoy.  The public is invited to join this celebration of spring and Minnesota’s Clean Water Legacy at the Lake Bemidji Waterfront on April 30 from11:00 am- 1:00 p.m. or till the ice cream is gone. Take your turn at cranking the ice cream maker.    Legacy funds have supported increased testing of area lakes, improvements to the Paul Bunyan State Trail, and protection of forests in Beltrami County for use by the public.
  • The final event of the weekend is “…. an event not to be missed by anyone who is willing to have his or her life changed forever,” according to Leonard Slatkin, former music director of the National Symphony Orchestra.  Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezín tells the story of courageous Jewish prisoners in the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp during World War II who performed Verdi’s Requiem Mass while experiencing the depths of human degradation. This multi-media concert drama will be performed at the Bemidji High School Auditorium, May 1 at 3:00 pm, under the direction of guest Conductor Murry Sidlin. It combines the magnificent music of Verdi with testimony from survivors of the chorus and footage from the original Nazi propaganda film on Theresienstadt. The performance also includes actors who speak the words of imprisoned conductor Rafael Schaëchter and of other prisoners. With only a smuggled score, they performed the famous oratorio sixteen times, including one performance before Adolph Eichmann and a Red Cross delegation. Conductor Rafael Schaëchter told the choir, “We will sing to the Nazis what we cannot say to them.” This is not just another performance of the Verdi Requiem but a tribute to the inspired leadership of Rafael Schaëchter who was forced to reconstitute the choir three times as members were transported to Auschwitz. The performances came to symbolize resistance and defiance; answering the worst of mankind with the best of mankind. The performance is powerful, dramatic, and inspirational, with a contemporary message of hope. Creator/Conductor Murry Sidlin will be joined by the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra, The Bemidji Chorale, the Bemidji State University Chorus along with vocal soloists Carrie Mineck, Janet Hopkins, Nathan Carlisle, and Michael Mayes, with actors from Theatre B of Fargo. The performance is made possible by a generous gift from the Nielson Foundation, the Region II Arts Council, and in partnership with Minnesota Public Radio.  Tickets: $20 adults/$15 seniors and children under 18 free. Pre-sale tickets go on sale April 13th  at Village Foods North and Brigid’s Cross Irish Pub and will be sold at the door.  MPR Members receive a $2 discount. This activity is funded in part by a Legacy grant from the Region 2 Arts Council.

In addition to the Legacy Destination Weekend Events, visitors are encouraged to stroll the downtown Art Walk of outdoor sculptures and murals, browse mini-galleries exhibited in a variety of businesses, and visit the Headwaters Science Center. From state-of-the-art museum exhibits to life-changing musical performances and pristine waterways, visitors will find Bemidji has a relaxed, small town atmosphere with the amenities of the big city.