Golden Valley Girl and the Bouncing Girls

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    photo credit – Joe Stradinger
    I, like many other Minnesotans, ventured out to the State Fair last week. Among the usual draws at the fair – Pronto Pups, Mini Doughnuts, Cheese Curds… and the like, I discovered something totally new and exciting.
    While I was making my way from the Midway to the Dairy Barns. I crossed paths with The Saint Paul Bouncing team.  They were the most vertical attraction of a parade that went through the main drag and I was immediately captivated by the high-flying act.
    Everyone knows that the best superpower  would be to fly, and that is exactly what the Saint Paul Bouncing team gets to do. They have been flipping, spinning, and twirling in mid air since 1886 and the tradition is still going strong.
    Watching them do their act at the fair was fun, but knowing that they hold open auditions every year made me even more excited. The requirements for people who wish to try out as a flyer are pretty simple – you have to be less than 120 pounds  (well, maybe not so simple after hanging out at the fair)   and you have to be flexible.
    If you make the team  there is one other competitive aspect to their season  – tryouts for the St. Paul Winter Carnival. At the carnival there is a competition to be The St. Paul Bouncing Girl. This title is prestigious and allows you to be queen of the Carnival, you can go from “One…Two…Up She Goes” to royalty with a simple flip or a spin.
    As an ex gymnast myself (my ex inner gymnast told me to forget that it had been a dozen years since flipping on balance beams) I loved the idea of picking up a new hobby that is fun, exciting and as far from the college bar hopping scene dominating my  campus, as possible.
    For more information on the club, when they will be making appearances, their history, and how you can get a hold of their very cool trading cards visit them here or look them up on Facebook.  Somehow they even manage to tweet in between flips.
    Personally, I can’t wait to see who has the best act at the Winter Carnival this year
    Thanks to our intern, Callan DeBruyn, aka Golden Valley Girl, for her help this summer with blog posts and social media tips.  She has returned to Boston for her Sophomore year at Northeastern but we suspect she will be back for try-outs in December.

Kickstarter – projects looking for a little help in St. Paul

Do you know about Kickstarter?  It’s a creative micro-finance  program for all kinds of projects.

I came across  this yesterday while snooping around for fun things to do in Santa Fe, New Mexico. With the  St. Paul Sidewalk Poetry contest coming to a conclusion on April 17, poetry has been on my mind, and this concept for a road side attraction twitched my imagination.  Can you see it at the top of Ramsey Hill? While revving in neutral at a 30 degree incline  while in line at the stop sign?

Kickstarter offers people a place to make a plea for financing their projects, and encourages very creative attempts at persuading funders.   Videos are recommended.  Premiums for donating are offered for  most pledges – the magnitude of reward in geometric proportions to the size of the pledge.   Here are some examples.

You get the drift. The website makes for an interesting hour or more of reading, and is a great editorial on the creative juices flowing in this country.

An interesting “kicker” is that if the project does not reach its full funding needs,  your pledge to the project is never realized. So you can give a project a moral boost, while waiting for it to reach  its goal. When it reaches the funding goal, the funds you have committed are withdrawn.

Here are the projects vying for funding in St. Paul this week.   After reading the descriptions and watching the videos, I will definitely be making a pledge to help out.  It provides a more immediate  pleasure to help out a struggling artist with a face and a personal message, or even an established artist making a creative plea,  than to be one of thousands of donors to a large institution.   $50 just seems to stretch a lot further with Kickstarter.


the sidewalk app is already here!

Last week I went on a rant about snow shoveling, and made a call for action to crowd source an app to manage the problem.  Well,  as they say, “search, and ye shall find.”  Okay. Seek.   Drumroll.

SeeClickFix is a crowd sourced website and mobile phone app, for the entire country, that calls on the community to participate in good management.

Here’s a screenshot of what happens when you look for St. Paul.

As you can see, reports of potholes, with a variety of descriptions, from “too many to count” to “complete car eater” are listed.

There are also links to report other community issues,  and I did not see anything that precluded reporting snow hazards.

Please check out the site, report your local potholes or other neighborhood blights.  Be part of the solution.   And please report back your user experience.

It’s the Boy’s State Hockey Tournament weekend. Happy Shoveling!