Two Tap Trio at Brigid’s Cross, comedy show at the Hampton, fine craft artisans hold open houses, musical family theater

Whatever you enjoy doing, there’s lots of it this weekend in Bemidji with fine craft at holiday open houses, three different holiday musicals and two days of lively music at Brigid’s Cross Irish Pub and Restaurant.

“A Christmas Carol (Gasman’s Recollection) will finish its run beginning on Thursday of this week until Saturday. This show deserves better audiences than they had last weekend and it is good family entertainment. Most of the principal players were mentioned in the feature story so will just fill in with those not mentioned. There are lots of Treuers with Elias as Tim, Blair as Mrs; Dilber, Madeline as Belle, Evan and Mia as street urchins, and Issac and The Littliest Marley. Bob Cratchit is Derrick Houle and Mrs. Cratchit is Nicole Kieson and their children are Lily Fulton, Marley Lofthus, and Jesse McCormick. Young Fran is Ellie Munson and the charity women are Katie Houg and Amy Tichy who are kind to the street urchins who include: Anna and Avery MacLeod, Nyshia Pierre, Halle Fodness, Abby Kieso, and Sadie and Sarah Hamrin. Little Marley is Robert Byers and young Scrooge is Robert Byers. The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is David Schoenborn, the turkey boy is Mitchell Shaw and the chorus includes Michael Muers, Ashley and Rachel Houle, and Rachel McCormick.

Fred Rogers of the Minnesota Folklore Theater is downtown Akeley has penned a story of how “The Night Before Christmas” came to be written. With local actors and Fred as Santa Claus, this family event opens this week, Thursday, Dec. 9 and runs until Dec. 18. It is amazing what Fred can accomplish both on and off-stage. His attention to detail is a testament to the years he spent in professional theater in costume design and building, set design and construction and directing. He also directed a couple of shows at the old PBP at Ruttgers when Fulton Gallagher was music director. For a theater has is only a year old, MFT has done amazing productions in their half of the downtown Laundromat—what other show can one go to and do the laundry at the same time. I’m only joking, of course, for the laundromat closes during performance times. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and $8 for children and may be reserved on-line at or call 652-2666. The theater is located in downtown Akeley at 6 Broad Street E.

A sample of Fred's set piece from "The Night Before Christmas."

This is the last weekend for “Ole and Lena’s –It’s a Wonderful Life” at Long Lake Theater in Hubbard. This theater has all the charm of a “real summer stock” venue as it is in a converted church, the restrooms are located outside the building and the refreshment stand is a screened-in porch. The shows are consistently good and worth the trip down to Hubbard. We like to stop at the Y Steak House on the way down and it will be open until the end of December this year—look for the big “Y” at the fork in the road into Park Rapids.

Local fine artisans are holding receptions this weekend. Be sure to check them out for some last minute or beginning Christmas shopping. See the Wednesday arts column in the hard copy or online of the Bemidji Pioneer.

Tim Harmston

Try to see if you can squeeze in a comedy show this Friday at the Hampton Inn. Part of the ticket price goes to United Way, Bemidji. There will be two shows with headliner Tim Harmston: 7 and 9:30 p.m. and tickets are $15 each with $5 going to United Way. My friend Laurie Swenson tells me that her friend Ben San Del is so funny that you’ll want to see him again. This time, he’s the opening act, maybe next time, he’ll be the headliner.

Ben San Del

Finally, we come to the last venue in this blog. Brigid’s Cross Irish Pub and Restaurant is as authentic pub grub as one can find anywhere around. We’re partial to the Irish Whiskey Mushroom Soup, Corned Beef and Cabbage Egg Rolls, Irish Stew with Guinness (yes, they even know how to pour a pint) and Colcannon Potatoes made fresh to order. There are the old favorites of fish and chips or Shepherd’s Pie and lots of beer, all kinds! They even have a shuttle to take customers to the Sanford Center (BREC) and return them back to Brigid’s. If this sounds like a commercial, it’s not, it’s just two person’s opinion. The restaurant stops taking orders at 9 p.m. but the pub stays open until the 1 a.m. Bemidji bar closing time.

But let’s get to the real reason for this long introduction. The entertainment this weekend is amazing. The Friday Nite Hippie Hour with the opening act of the Baba Yagas (a group of seven women singers) will feature Luke Rutten on mandolin, Tom Groshens on hand drums, Tony Standera on guitar and Dawn Standera on bass. The group will be on from 8 to 11 p.m.

Up from the Twin Cities, “The Two Tap Trio” with Eric Carlson on the Bodhram will be playing from 8 p.m. until midnight. Bemidji native Carlson will be playing with another Bemidji guy, Brian Miller on the guitar. Norah Rendell is a vocalist and plays the flute and whistle. Norah tours with UK/Irish group “The Outside Track” on both sides of the ocean. Nathan Gourley started playing the violin as a toddler and graduated to the Suzuki method. A fine classical violinist who cut his teeth performing for his father’s bands, Nathan is now a fiddler who plays traditional Irish music with the Doon Ceili Band.

When we were in Ireland a few years back, all we heard was country-western music in the pubs and found out that most of the well known groups are on tour both here and abroad. This is a great opportunity to listen to authentic traditional Irish folk music right here in downtown Bemidji!

That’s all she wrote folks, hope to see you sometime during the weekend.

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