Hopkins fairs and festivals this weekend welcome fall

Summer is officially coming to a close: temperatures are dropping, Shady Oak Beach closed for the season and the first day of school lies ahead. Fortunately, there are a few festivals and fairs this weekend around Hopkins to ring in the fall season.

ECFE Vehicle Fair
When: 5:30-7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 8
Where: Harley Hopkins Family Center (125 Monroe Ave. S.)
Hopkins Early Childhood Family Education program invites children—newborns to age 5—to get behind the wheel of city vehicles. There will be a police car, fire truck, school bus, ambulance, mail truck and front-end loader at the free, family-friendly open house. All are welcome, but the event is geared toward young children from birth to kindergarteners. Kids can also enjoy face painting and classroom activities. Free refreshments from Caribou Coffee, Great Harvest Bread Co. and Cub Foods bakery will be provided. For more details, contact Kathryn Moore at 952-988-5046 or [email protected]

Rock-n-Royal Block Party
When: 6:30-11:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 9
Where: Hopkins Center for the Arts (1111 Mainstreet)
For the fifth year in a row, Hopkins parents are booking babysitters and kicking off the school year with a fun-filled night out that also raises money for the school district. The adults-only event is put on by Hopkins Education Foundation, a non-profit, independent organization that raises money in innovative ways to provide resources and enrich the educational experience in Hopkins school. The foundation has raised more than $2.5 million in grants since its inception in 1995. The event will feature a live band, two food trucks, a beer truck and raffle prizes. Tickets can be purchased for $10 in advance at hopkinseducationfoundation.org or for $12 at the door (cash only). Registration to volunteer at the event can also be found online.

St. Gabriel’s Fall Festival
When: 5-10 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 8; 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 9; 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 10
Where: St. John Campus (6 Interlachen Road) on Friday and Saturday; St. Joseph Campus (1310 Mainstreet) on Sunday
St. Gabriel the Archangel Catholic Church is hosting a three-day fall festival that is open to everyone and has something for all ages. The first two days will be filled with music, food, children’s games, giant inflatable and must-see cultural events such as Hispanic food and dancing. On Sunday, the festival wraps up with a bilingual mass, silent auction, bingo, a bake shop, country store, wine and beer garden and chicken dinner and concludes with a raffle drawing at 4:30 p.m. For more information, St. Gabriel’s can be reached at 952-935-5536.