Lydia Liza at at last year's Shut Down Third Street event (1).jpg

Lydia Liza at at last year's Shut Down Third Street event

Ahh, Winona. When this writer visited years ago, it was a city defined by the college culture, the water, and strangely, a killer comic shop. But there is one event this weekend that’s worth another trip. Shut Down Third Street is returning for its second year. The event bills itself as a “free music and art block party” in downtown Winona. The Sept. 21 event (noon through 9 p.m.) on Market, Center, and Third Streets promises to show just what Winona has to offer in addition to great bluff hiking and climbing.

“We’re truly excited to grow this festival in Winona. Nothing is better than spending a day outdoors, taking in the best Minnesota has to offer, while supporting downtown,” said Nathaniel Nelson, a director at Treedome, the organization putting on the event. Here’s what you should check out.

The music

Four stages will host 32 different bands. That’s… a lot of bands. Minneapolis-based headliners Bad Bad Hats are a good, good time (they opened for Death Cab for Cutie -- a ringing endorsement). Catch indie-pop group Yam Haus, SDTS veteran Lydia Liza, Gully Boys, and Rochester faves Loud Mouth Brass, Fires of Denmark, and My Grandma’s Cardigan as well!

The art

“We believe music and art should be for the people, and not just a commodity…” Nelson said. Winona has a fun art scene, if you’re paying attention to what’s in coffee shops around town. In fact, more than 45 artists will be on display Saturday. If you’re anything like my wife and I, that means you’ll probably find some blown glass gourds to decorate with for Halloween, and some river-inspired paintings to hang on the wall. Both returning and new artists will be at the event.

People relax on the street during Minneapolis band Author's set at last year's Shut Down Third Street (1).jpg

People relax on the street during Minneapolis band Author's set at last year's Shut Down Third Street

The presentations

Black Sheep Poetry will be in the house.They’re one of several arts and culture organizations with presentations planned, like Great River Shakespeare Festival and the Frozen River Film Festival. And if you’re like me, you’ll gravitate towards the assembly of words that most push the boundaries of what’s acceptable, because that’s what writing is all about, eh?

The drinks (and more Rochester faces!)

Cafe Steam just opened a new location, but they’re still making the drive to Winona for this fest. Seriously, Café Steam has the southeast coffee scene on lock at the moment. Plus, there will be kombucha from Big River Kombucha. If you’re after beer, you’re in a college town. You’ll figure it out. But I recommend Broken World Records for some live piano and a bit of class, or Ed's No-Name Bar for a good craft beer collection, but loud music and conversation.

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