It’s a beautiful day for Open Streets’ first event of the summer. Lyndale is shut down and crawling with locals looking to explore the unlimited amount of food and drink, shops, and entertainment there is to offer.
Parking is tricky. You’re lucky if you can snag a spot a few blocks down from the action. I park and hear music playing as soon as I open my car door.
I head toward the muffled sounds of bass until I reach a stage hosting the Minnesota jam band, Frogleg.
This is where the party is at. Fans crowd around, enjoying their choice of beverage as others closer to the stage bust a move to the contagious tunes.
Suddenly, I hear, “Bo!”. I turn around to see my cousin, Conner, and his two friends, Tucker and Mack. They’re from Windom, Minnesota, and drove down here just to see Frogleg perform. I stay to chat for a bit, then I’m on my way.
Meeting New Friends
Despite the large crowds of people, locals navigate Lyndale with ease on rollerskates, longboards, or bikes.
A man by the name of Joey Crowley cruises toward me on a unicycle, dodging oncoming pedestrians.
“I ride this around and it’s a real blast,” he says. I ask if he can do any tricks. He says “hold my beer”, then does a series of bunny hops.
Joey is currently living in Milwaukee but is moving to Minneapolis in a few weeks with intentions on writing an indie, rock, synth album with his brother, Steve Crowley this summer.
3rd Lair Skate Competition
I come across the 3rd Lair Skateboard tent. Beside the tent is a section for skaters, blocked off by traffic cones. This is a competition.
Owner Mark Rodriguez fills me in on the tournament-style competition that’s has been going on for the last 19 years. “It’s like a game of horse,” he says.
One person does a trick and the next person has to do the same trick. If they fail, they get a letter. But not everyone can enter.
This tournament is for the most technical skaters in town. Participants needed to submit a request to be considered, and it shows.
Twin Cities Bike Polo
Not far down the road, I see people crowded around a series of upright pieces of plywood connected to form what looks like a mini hockey rink.
The Hub Bike Co-op, the only worker-owner bike cooperative in Minneapolis has partnered up with Twin Cities Bike Polo in an effort to share this relatively new sport to Open Streets passersby.
Player and organizer Justin Bouma is happy to educate me on the history of Bike Polo. Apparently, the sport was created by horse jockeys that didn’t own horses.
Then, in the 2000s, Seattle bike messengers began knocking a ball around in their spare time. By 2007 a tournament started to develop. In 2008, Bike Polo had become a worldwide sport.
Minnesota even hosted the North American champion in 2013 and 2014 at the Roseville Oval.
“We all got polo names,” Justin Bouma says as he and his comrades Ebbin Martin (Dr. Hops) and Mike Holisky (Bread Mike) turn around to show the names on the back of their jerseys.
A little further down I see a large metal tripod with silk, looped material dangling from the center above. A woman suspends herself in the air while making impressive poses.
The fitness studio, The Aviary hosts strength and conditioning classes that mix in aerial arts, making it more fun to work out. It’s so fun they consider it exercise in disguise.
Natalie Lanners, shown in photo above, started out as a student just three years ago and now she’s a teacher.
Found in a shady spot on Lyndale is a man by the name of Riley Coyote. He stomps on a kick drum with his right foot and rattles a tambourine with his left. Gritty lyrics and melody are shouted as he draws in a crowd.
Riley is a traveling musician who has been drifting the globe for the better part of a decade, playing music on the streets to those who will listen.
I got the guitar from a pawn shop for two bucks and the drum was found in a dumpster.
Originally from Minnesota, Riley visits his hometown once a year. Curious as to how he affords to travel so often, he explains that he sleeps outside and finds food in the trash.
Riley lives a simple life, depending on the money he makes from busking. The adventurous, musician part of me is envious of his nomad lifestyle.
Considering he’s seen a good portion of the world beyond the United States, I ask him, “If you could choose one place to live permanently, where would it be?”. He responds without skipping a beat, “The road.”
Moving to Minnesota
I meet multiple people who are visiting from out of state. Maria Amaya just flew in from Houston today with her dog, Charlie, making Minneapolis their permanent residence.
Maria’s favorite part about Open Streets is the ice cream, food, and the people watching.
A few minutes later while continuing my walk, I hear another “Bo!”. It’s Seth Hilson, a classmate of mine from Colfax, Wisconsin. It turns out he lives right on Lyndale.
We shoot the breeze for a bit and he fills me in on current life events, including a new baby on the way.
Be sure to attend the next Open Streets, held on July 21st, on Lake Ave and Minnehaha Ave from 11 am to 5 pm. You never know who you might run into.
Visit Open Streets Minneapolis for more information.