April Chatter

 If you’re from the Twin Cities Metro area, chances are you’ve heard of the MayDay Parade, Ceremony and Festival, a can’t-miss event hosted each year by In The Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater (HOBT). This richly narrative parade, featuring larger-than-life handmade puppets, dancing, performances, stilt-walkers, costumes and a hearty dose of springtime cheer is celebrating its 40th year. While attending the parade is highly recommended, many don’t know that they can contribute to the construction of the beautiful puppets that will grace the streets next month. Throughout April, HOBT hosts free workshops in their building, allowing community members to join in the construction and creation of the puppets, floats, masks and costumes. No reservations required; just show up with your creativity! HOBT uses lots of recycled materials, so bring what you have, including plastic tubs with lids, latex paint, newspapers and brown paper bags. The workshops are held each Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for a few hours each day. See hobt.org for more information. 


Local yoga studio Blooma has been providing classes and resources for expectant and new mothers since their first studio opening in 2007, and now have three locations across the metro. For those expectant mothers that are not nearby a studio, Blooma’s newest creation should bring happy news: Blooma founder and doula Sarah Longacre has created A.M./P.M. Prenatal Yoga, an instructional video that guides pregnant women through a series of yoga poses designed to energize in the morning, and relax in the evening. Rent the video online, download it in HD or pick up a hard copy at one of the Blooma locations. Find out more at blooma.com. 


Recognized by the Autism Society as National Autism Awareness Month, April will bring two events to the Twin Cities for individuals and parents of children with autism or Asperger Syndrome. On Saturday, April 12, the Mall of America will host the Fraser Walk for Autism, presented by the Minneapolis-based Fraser School. The family event will have sensory-friendly activities, games, therapy animals and prizes, with proceeds benefiting the extensive Autism Services at Fraser. Register to participate at fraser.org. 


A second event, the Minnesota Autism Conference, will be held in Minneapolis from April 30 to May 3, featuring opening keynote speaker Garrison Keillor with a talk titled, A Storyteller’s Chat about Fatherhood, on April 30 from 7–9 p.m. The event, designed for educators, doctors, employers and caregivers as well as parents, is open to the public and will provide a platform to exchange information and ideas related to autism spectrum disorders. Learn more and register at ausm.org. 



Asperkids produces products and educational information geared toward children on the autism spectrum. One item we particularly like is the Bucket Full o’ Awesome, which provides a wealth of items designed to provide sensory input and keep hyperactive minds at ease with a variety of tactile amusements. Other products are designed to celebrate the unique culture of children with Aspergers and provide entertainment and comfort through games, fashion accessories, home products, books and more. Find out more at asperkids.com.