There are all kinds of ways of looking at rain.
Photo: Jennifer Victor-Larsen
This Eclipses Everything
Monday's solar eclipse is hardly the biggest event around here -- not when the State Fair is back in town. The Great Minnesota Get-Together returns this Thursday, Aug. 24, at 6 a.m. for 12 days of everything, including fun, fireworks, entrepreneurship, music drifting over the fence, congestion, lots of buses, and parking challenges. Some things to know:
  • Lawn parking: The special zoning Overlay District kicks in during the 12 days of the Fair -- and only during the Fair. It allows property owners in certain areas to park vehicles in their yards if they meet certain conditions. For a map and all the details, see the article on the District 10 website. If you suspect a violation of the overlay district, call the city's Department of Safety and Inspections: 651-266-9088.
  • Street parking: For safety reasons, parking is restricted to one side of many neighborhood streets during the Fair. In addition, the usual parking rules apply: no blocking driveways, crosswalks, alleys, fire hydrants, etc. If you see a parking violation on a street or alley, call it in directly to St. Paul Parking Enforcement: 651-266-5585 during weekday business hours; 651-291-1111 at other times.
  • Peddlers and vending: Special rules apply to vendors and peddlers selling merchandise on neighborhood streets and from yards. Again, you can find a summary of rules on District 10's website.
  • Discount tickets: Advance tickets, which save you $4 each, are on sale until this Wednesday, Aug. 23.
  • Fairgrounds: Between now and Thursday, the State Fairgrounds are closed; to get in, you've got to have an ID and a good reason. Beginning Thursday, you've got to pay.
The Obon Festival culminates in the very reflective lantern ceremony. Photo: Saibal Ghosh
It's More than Lanterns
The annual Japanese Obon Festival is this Sunday, Aug. 20, from 3-9 p.m. at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory. Yeah, they light lanterns at dusk. But the festival also features singing, dancing, drumming, martial arts and origami demonstrations, bonsai and other floral displays, food, and other aspects of Japanese culture and tradition. 
  • Admission: $5 for teens and adults, $3 for children ages 3-12, free for younger children, $3 for elders 65 or beyond.
  • Transportation: A free shuttle is available at the school district's service center, 1930 Como Ave. That's a few blocks west of the usual State Fair shuttle lot. Shuttles run till 10 p.m. Metro Transit is offering free passes for the festival; Routes 3 and 83 get you in the vicinity.
  • Parking: It's typically bumper to bumper on both sides of the park. Saint Paul police will have a squad dedicated exclusively to writing parking tickets during the festival; if you see a problem, call 651-291-1111 and ask for parking enforcement.
  • Other things to know: Dogs are not allowed. The main gate will accept credit cards for admission; otherwise, it's cash only.
Questival is a leap into the unknown.
24 Hours of Who Knows What
The Cotopaxi Questival makes its Minnesota debut this weekend in Como Park. The 24-hour event calls itself an adventure race, but it's also part urban scavenger hunt, part community service, and part all-nighter. Two- or six-person teams bomb around the Twin Cities and beyond, checking off "challenges" from a list of a couple of hundred options.

The adventure starts tonight, Aug. 18, at the East Picnic Pavilion. Questers, food trucks, music, vendors and other activities will spill into the "40 acres" portion of the park. Teams start showing up at 5 p.m.; they start dispersing once the 24-hour clock hits 7 p.m. If you and a couple of friends have nothing to do, you won't have much time to plan and download the appropriate apps, but the last-minute entry fee is $47 a person.
As if That's Not Enough Activity for You
Beyond Obon and Questival (and the usual company, church, family, and union picnics), don't be surprised to see these things in Como Park this week:
  • Giro del Lago di Como, a 5K walk and run around the lake, is this Sunday, Aug. 20. There's Italian music, gelato, and other distinctive enrichments, courtesy of the Italian Cultural Center of Minneapolis-Saint Paul. Events are on the east side del lago, near Lakeview and Como Lake Drive. The run starts at 9 a.m. Registration is $25 for adults, $15 for children, $70 for a family of four.
  • The Como Park Relays continue this Wednesday, Aug. 23, near the East Picnic Pavilion. The cross-country foot races are open to all ages, with different distances each Wednesday in August. Preteen races start at 6:30 p.m.; teen and adult relays start at 6:45. On-site registration is 50 cents for those age 14 or younger, $2 for teens 15-17, and $5 for adults.
Bassist George Porter Jr. headlines the triple bill this Saturday at Dockside. Photo: Jeffrey Dupuis 
And, as Usual, There's Stuff at Dockside
Dockside has a paying concert this Saturday, featuring the George Porter Jr. Trio, an album-release party with Frogleg, and Jon Cleary with the Jaden Carlson Band. Tickets for the 4 p.m. show are $25 in advance, $30 at the door. As for free music on the promenade of the Lakeside Pavilion:
  • Tonight, Friday Aug. 18: The Fairlanes, 7 p.m.
  • Sunday, Aug. 20: Moonlight Serenaders, 7 p.m.
  • Monday, Aug. 21: Mischke, Malone & Michael, 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Aug. 22: Minneapolis Trombone Choir, 7 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 23: Lavelle Jazz Septet, 7 p.m.
  • Thursday, Aug. 24: Dirty Shorts Brass Band, 7 p.m.
  • Next Friday, Aug. 25: Tiller Black, 7 p.m.
  • The rest of the season
Farmers Market: The Dockside Farmers Market unloads the goods every Thursday from 2-6 p.m. 
Live in South Como or Energy Park?
The Como Community Council is seeking candidates to fill one board vacancy representing Sub-District 4, the part of our neighborhood commonly known as South Como and Energy Park. 

The seat is open to anyone at least 18 years of age who lives in Sub-District 4; you can be a renter or a homeowner. Representatives from businesses or institutions based in the Sub-District also are eligible. The boundaries of Sub-District 4 are Dale on the east, Snelling on the west, and the two sets of BNSF railroad tracks on the north and south.

To find out more, see the District 10 website. To get on the ballot, contact the District 10 office at 651-644-3889 or by email
. To be included on the ballot, you must submit your nomination by Tuesday Sept. 12. The elected candidate will serve until April 2018.

Elected: Congratulations to Laura Jo Busian, who was elected this week to an At-Large seat on the Como Community Council Board. 
Watching Our Waste: Aerosol Cans
Aluminum and steel are not the only cans you can recycle. You can recycle aerosol cans, too. It's simple: before you toss cans in your blue cart, just make sure:
  1. They're empty.
  2. They once contained a non-hazardous product, such as whipping cream, shaving cream or sunscreen.
If you have aerosol cans that are not empty or contain(ed) a more dangerous material, you can bring them to Ramsey County's household hazardous waste collection site, 5 Empire Drive (near Jackson and Pennsylvania).
Don't Get Stuck
Dozens of schedule changes take place on Metro Transit routes beginning this Saturday, Aug. 19. Routes affected include the Green Line LRT and bus lines 3, 65, and 83. Get all the details
Snelling Reopens for the Fair
With the State Fair rolling in, MnDOT is halting its repair work on Snelling Ave. All lanes will be open beginning this Monday, Aug. 21. The barricades return on Wednesday Sept. 6. 

South on Lexington Parkway, crews will get rid of and pave over what's left of the disappearing brick crosswalks. The plan is to start today, Friday Aug. 18, in the northbound lanes near Randolph Ave., work north to University Ave., then switch to the southbound lanes and head back toward Randolph.  Meanwhile:
  • Como Ave.: Still closed in both directions west of Raymond Ave., but crews expect to take a break and have it open in time for the State Fair.
  • Victoria: Closed through August, just north of the intersection with Wheelock Parkway and Como Lake Drive.
  • Wheelock Parkway: Closed to through traffic between Victoria and Dale until the end of the year as the complete reconstruction continues.
A Driver to Call Your Own 
If you are a Como Park senior who needs transportation for medical appointments, consider the Como Park Falcon Heights Living at Home Block Nurse program. The program provides no-cost rides to and from medical appointments. Better yet, drivers will wait with you, so you aren't the one left waiting after your appointment.  That's just one of the services the neighborhood nonprofit provides to support residents 65 and better who wish to remain in their home safety and independently. Call  651-642-1127  to learn more.
Still on the Calendar   
 
  • This Tuesday, Aug. 22: Open house on reconstruction of the High Bridge and Smith Ave., 5-7 p.m. Bad Weather Brewery, 414 W. 7th St. 
  • Next Friday, Aug. 25: Deadline to apply for Saint Paul's Cultural STAR funding program.
  • Thursday Sept. 14: Master Water Stewards information session, 5:30-7 p.m. Urban Boatbuilders, 2288 W. University Ave.
Crime Doesn't Take a Vacation  
 
If you're leaving town for 2 days, 30 days, or somewhere in between, you can ask for a reserve officers of the Saint Paul Police Department to check on your home while you're away. Call 651-266-5485 to sign up for the department's Vacation Watch. Be prepared to let them know when you'll be gone, who has keys to your home, and if you've made arrangement for others to water plants, feed pets, and the like. 

This week's crime report for our neighborhood: Thieves aren't slowing down.  
Borrow portable recycling stands like these for free.
The Good Weekends are Running Out 
District 10 has street barricades and portable recycling containers that community members can use for block parties or family events. You can borrow the recycling containers for free; there are two kinds:
  • For cans, bottles and other items you can include in your weekly recycling.
  • For food scraps and other compostable organics.
The street barricades are required by the city when you block off your street or alley -- but ours are a more-affordable option than getting them from Public Works.
  • Barricades require a $50 deposit. We return $45 when you return the barricades.
  • Reservations are first-come, first-served.
  • To borrow our barricades, you must have an event permit from the city.
To reserve any of this equipment, call our office at 651-644-3889, or send us an email.
If it's Sunday, the Streetcar Station is Open
The Como Park Streetcar Station is now open every Sunday through September from noon-4 p.m. Stop in to learn a bit about the history of Como Park, admire the new paint job inside, pick up an organics recycling starter kit (including a plastic kitchen bin), or just share comments and suggestions with a District 10 board member who's on staff that day. The Streetcar Station is at the northeast corner of Lexington and Horton. 
Photographers, Don't Keep It to Yourself
We know plenty of you are taking pictures of the people, places and things that make our neighborhood unique. Well, we'd like to give you more exposure. This newsletter is happy to highlight the best of what local photographers send us about life in Como Park -- as we did with  Jennifer Victor-Larsen's  photo today. It's easy: Just  email us your top image from the past seven days or so.   
Spread the Word
District 10 is one of Saint Paul's 17 citizen participation districts. The District 10 Como Community Council is a nonprofit organization, governed by a Board of Directors who are elected by members of the community. The Council's mission is to inform, educate, and connect the neighborhood to increase community pride and confidence. 

You are receiving this email because you expressed interest in District 10 activities.