Minnesota has been abuzz for a year or two now with a lot of hype surrounding the building and funding of the Minnesota Vikings new football stadium. It replaced the old Metrodome, a white oval with a puffy top that I like to refer to as a dirty marshmallow. Replacing it seemed like a good idea on many a level, and especially after that one where the roof collapsed during a winter of particularly heavy snowfall. We can all be thankful it wasn't during a game or concert.
To make a long story short, the new stadium hosted its open house event a couple of weeks ago. I got in line with other locals (a virtual line) to sign up for free tickets because I wanted to see what it looked like inside and I also decided to use it as free entertainment for my kids for something to say they did this summer. I figured we'd be in a group of 20 or so other people during our appointed time slot. I have to admit being a little surprised when the paper reported that around 140,000 people would be going to the open house. The warm fuzzy welcoming committee I was expecting was more like large crowd control with beefy security guards at every entrance after passing through metal detector checkpoints.
The stadium itself is complete, but the grounds were still in progress, shall we say. A few of the items were in place but one of the bigger attractions, the Vikings Legacy Ship, is still under construction as I speak.
A couple times a week I like to speed walk down there on my lunch hour (not really since it is only 30 minutes, hence the speed walking part of it) to check on the progress. My understanding of it, is that it will be a smoke breathing (or snorting) dragon/viking dragon with a video display for the sail (already in place and working), anchored by the many (14,000) legacy bricks purchased by loyal and adoring Vikings fans. Some of you may recall a previous post or two on my site about the bricks.
I've been going for several weeks now. I think they are trying to have it completed by August 28 which is the Vikings first preseason home game. From today, that leaves about 15 more days. Have a look at some of the images I have captured during my visits.
Thanks for stopping by and come back again for another update when it is complete. Hope you are all enjoying the final but fabulous days of summer!
GIFs are a lot of fun to make out of a series of images that you may have taken on your camera depicting some sort of action. If you do it regularly, it's old hat but if not, you may need a refresher course. It is relatively easy to find instructional videos these days on the internet. You will be rolling in no time if you decide to make one and know your way around Photoshop.
Here is a GIF I made of a neon hat trick signage that is at a local hockey rink that we frequent.
It's true, I could have videotaped that and avoided the whole project, but I wanted to do it, so there you have it. *My website will not let me post a GIF here, so I uploaded these images into a slideshow. If you want to see the GIF, please visit my blog on WordPress. Here is a quick link to it:
On another and equally important note, it's close to that time of the year to wish my favorite football player a happy birthday. I'm a little early but since I generally post on the weekends, I wanted to make sure it was up before the big day.
It will be awhile before the legacy ship is built, so in the meantime, I hope this virtual brick will be an acceptable "substitute". Hint: It may be different from the sample bricks you see here. Happy Birthday #71!
Until next time, keep warm and enjoy this peaceful time of year.
Here in Minnesota, even the potatoes are in the spirit.
It's supposed to be single digit temperatures for this Sunday's play-off game, with wind chills going below zero. Will Seattle be able to handle this? We are hoping the answer to that is no. It's going to be dangerously cold. BRRRR!
Here's to the Vikings and I hope they win! Or we'll be having mashed purple and gold potatoes for dinner. I don't know what color that will make but it's not going to be pretty.
With a pending deadline of December 31, there are only a couple days left to get your Minnesota Vikings legacy bricks. These bricks will be part of a Vikings ship platform that fans can meander through outside of the U.S. Bank Stadium complex.
Artist’s renderings from the Vikings website look like this:
The Vikings website describes the bricks and ship as quoted below:
Inspired by legendary Viking ships and design to honor local ancestry, the Legacy Ship on Medtronic Plaza at U.S. Bank Stadium will incorporate contemporary materials like stainless steel, stone, concrete and wood and will include landscaping, theatrical lighting and smoke effects. A 2,000 square-foot curved LED video board standing 55 feet tall with serve as the ship’s sail, while the ship’s figurehead, an abstract dragon with Norse iconography, will top out at 43 feet hight and will interact with events inside the stadium. The Legacy Ship will include seating and stainless steel railings, along with 150 linear feet of displays, including a timeline exhibit featuring historical Minnesota moments and site directories to aid in wayfinding. Making the ship even more unique will be the incorporation of fan commemorative “Legacy Bricks” that will occupy approximately 3,500 square feet of the ship’s deck.
The bricks are going to look like this and have the following price points:
If you are thinking about this but wonder how your wording would look on a brick, you can try it out using a preview brick option. Here are a couple I did up for fun:
JK, no phone numbers allowed.
Darn, I really wished I would have ordered the one with the logo. Oh well, I am happy with what I got.
Note, there are some limitations on what you can say, just to keep everything kosher. I ordered my brick a long time ago, in fact, I was one of the first group of people to order. I only hesitated long enough to come up with the perfect message and then I ordered it. I will have more information on that during a special announcement in January. Sometime around Jan. 21, I’d say.
Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!
If a person had to choose one thing to do at the fair, eating food or people watching, I'm not sure which I would pick. Every year the fair gets about 50 new kinds of food. Many of them are on a stick. This year the one new food I really wanted to try was something called Comet Corn. It was described as a futuristic caramel corn flash frozen with nitrogen. Since this sounds like something that you can't get at any other time of the year, I was willing to drop the money and calorie allotment on a serving of it. I forgot to photograph it because it's hard to operate my camera while I am holding and eating food. And when I am at the fair I do not sit down, at least rarely. There is too much to do and see for any breaks. I am always moving. But I did photograph the nitrogen tank that freezes it while I was waiting for them to freeze mine because they do it one batch at a time.
The next food I had to try was a couple things I had read about from a place called Mancini's. I had the same problem though. I ate it before I photographed it. It was becoming evident that I needed a new strategy.
Here is some food I did not eat but I did photograph.
Does beer count as food? I think in Minnesota it does. Barley, hops, barley malt, malted barley...
Those are all some kind of food product that originate out of the ground and if you stopped by the Ag-Hort Building (that's what we say up here in farm country, it is short for Agriculture-Horticulture also known as another food and beer building or get a beer and walk around and look at the giant pumpkin building)
or Adrian Peterson's Christmas tree
you could have had a sampling, literally, of four different types of locally brewed Minnesota beer. There were 4 or 5 of those stations, each unique, so if you tried them all, then 4x5 = I hope the swinging hammer ride wasn't your next stop.
When it's all said and done though, I think most people would agree that the hands down #1 mandatory food stop is Sweet Martha's Cookies. I don't get it and I used to be offended when my kids insisted we drop $15 on a bucket of chocolate chip cookies. What about MY chocolate chip cookies? I don't care that they are hot and gooey, that they just came out of the oven. Mine are like that too when they are hot off the press. Maybe it's a quantity thing. They say you get 3-4 dozen in a bucket. When I make cookies, I put half of the dough in the fridge for another day. So I suppose if I made all the cookies and put them on the table in a bucket and imposed no limitations, then maybe, just maybe, they might like mine as much as her's.
I finally caved in though and had one. Then I had another. Then I had another. And then it happened. As they say...if you give a mouse a cookie. 3 cookies was my personal limit before needing a drink of some sort. Some people are really smart and they get a bucket and head straight to the all-you-can-drink milk stand. Note: the fair did not put the cookie stand anywhere near the milk stand. It is several fair blocks away. But the wise get their bucket and bee-line it to the milk stand.
Now that it's a couple of weeks after the fair, I imagine that Sweet Martha has boarded her multi-million dollar yacht funded with cookie money and is sailing off in the sunset to her own private island or vineyard. She is one smart lady. Who would've thought a simple chocolate chip cookie could build an empire? I bet the deep-fried pickle people are thinking the same thing right now. Or maybe the fried alligator people. Which raises an interesting question. Why do the alligator people always run out of gator? They are giant animals. I'm just glad they sell frozen grapes there so I can look like I'm getting some gator. It's one of the healthiest treats a person can get at the fair and look cool doing it.
That is a wrap for my food report from the fair. I hope you will come back for the animal report and next week to see what the second floor of the State Capitol looks like! Thanks for stopping by!
If someone had shown me a photograph of some guys ice fishing on Lake Superior,
I would have wondered whether they were catching anything or if the walleye fishing was any good.
I’ve only ventured to northern Minnesota in the summertime, and having no other reason to think about this, I was clueless that Lake Superior rarely ever freezes over entirely in the winter. It’s a big lake, as big as the state of Maine and holds 10% of the world’s fresh unfrozen water.
This provides some ingredients for a very interesting recipe. Mobile water, wind, and freezing temperatures are something we don’t see in the southern part of our state. The lakes down here are frozen solid, so if a winter storm moves in the only thing blowing around in the air is snow or perhaps occasionally, sleet or rain.
Up near Superior it is different. When a storm comes in, the unfrozen lake starts getting rougher and the waves develop white caps. The lake is 350 miles across, its deepest point is 1,332 feet, and it holds 3 quadrillion gallons of water. Storm waves can reach heights of up to 30 feet. No longer protected by the warmth of the deep lake (it stays an average of 40 degrees Fahrenheit, or 4 degrees Celsius), the waves become temporarily airborne and then brought down by the force of gravity where they promptly change into a frozen state of ice. This water starts freezing the shoreline and anything else that is situated along the point where water meets land.
A few years back, I drove my daughter up to Duluth for a day during her Spring Break. Let’s say she was a little ho-hum about this trip. Many of her friends were in sunny destinations like Florida and Arizona. Going anywhere in Minnesota did not count as a Spring Break getaway in her book. As it was, someone reminded us that a storm had just been through the area and that we should head down to the port to check out the ice formations.
Here are some images of what we saw.
On a side note, I’d like to wish Minnesota Vikings’ Tackle Phil Loadholt a very Happy Birthday. #71 is celebrating his birthday Monday, January 21.
Happy Birthday #71
I hope you liked these images and that you are enjoying the calmness of January.
I am a photographer who lives in Minnesota. I blog about Minnesota, photography, music, food and miscellaneous topics.