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Wednesday, September 16, 2015


For three years now the American Swedish Institute has hosted their summer series, Cocktails at the Castle. Usually connected to exhibits at the ASI, these evenings are amazing. Initially they hosted three evenings their first year, but for the last two years they have settled on two evenings per summer.

Waiting for the festivities to begin.

Last week was the final Cocktails at the Castle event for this year and it was wonderful. Centered around their current exhibit, “The History Of Swedish Music In Three Minutes Or Less,” the evening provided a number of activities that even included “Playing the Castle.” Yes that’s right, guests that evening had the opportunity to make music with the castle.  There were piano wires strung from the visitor’s center to mansion – all passing through an empty wooden box, and as people would slide small cardboard strips along the wires, the vibrations would create sound tones in the box. The experience was really fascinating and very cool.

Piano strings strung through this box allowed everyone to "play the Castle."

An entire room was dedicated to ABBA.

Throughout the mansion itself guests were treated to exhibits celebrating various music forms and groups from Sweden. I must admit though, I was completely biased towards the ABBA area since they are one of my favorite groups. Fortunately there was a whole room dedicated to ABBA music and memorabilia. Yes, I was in heaven.

A portrait of Swedish born opera singer, Jenny Lind.

Guests were able to make rubber glove bagpipes.

A "Scream" shag rug.

Michael was having LOTS of fun!

Live music in the Visitor's Center.

Swedish Surprise!

The menu for the evening.

Fika, the ASI’s restaurant, once again provided food for purchase, and as usual, it was delicious. What I really enjoyed is that many of the names of the food items played on the musical theme of the evening.

A human marionette.

Multi-colored fire.

All of the "Cool Kids" . . . 

. . . were there that night!

The entire evening was spectacular as always, and certainly lived up to the reputation they have earned. These evenings are some of the premier summer events in Minneapolis, and yet are never stuffy or stand-offish. Instead, they always feel welcoming and fun, and I look forward to them every year. If you haven’t had the opportunity to attend a Cocktails at the Castle evening, I highly recommend that you check them out. Be sure to start watching the ASI’s website in early spring to see when the next one will be scheduled. These are not to be missed evenings.

***Have you attended a Cocktails at the Castle evening?

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