Enjoy Beatles music in downtown Mason City, classic music with Air Supply and the Wallflowers at the Surf, The Music Man in Osage — there are even more outdoor offerings in North Iowa — summer's still here.

Start the weekend early with Thursdays on Main

Join the crowd tonight, July 27, at "Thursdays on Main" in downtown Clear Lake.

It starts at 6 p.m. with classic cars, bounce houses, kids' activities, laser tag, hand-powered kiddie train rids, crafts, vendor market, food trucks and more. Stores are also open late.

There's special entertainment by Mason City Black Belt Academy at 6:30 p.m. Maeben takes the stage at 7 p.m., playing music until 9.

Thursdays on Main activities end at 9, when the fun moves to City Park for the showing of Nine Lives (PG).

The Summer Showcase Series continues at the Surf Ballroom, with music from 7 to 9:30 p.m. with Songs & Stories for St Jude. Admission is free; freewill donations are accepted.

The party continues with a special Friday Night Live 

The party moves to Mason City Friday night, July 28, for a celebration of NIACC Performing Arts and Leadership Series's 20th anniversary season. Friday Night Live features a return to Mason City by "Yesterday and Today: The Interactive Beatles Experience," sponsored by the NIACC Performing Arts and Leadership Series.

The free event is part of Main Street Mason City's monthly summer celebration, held from 6 to 10 p.m. on North Federal Avenue in downtown Mason City.

A variety of food and beverage vendors will be on site, along with inflatables, games, imagination playground, giant hula hoops, face-painting, giveaways for the kids, and craft show.

"Yesterday and Today: The Interactive Beatles Experience" takes the stage at 7 p.m. The group, anchored by brothers Billy, Ryan and Matthew McGuigan, does away with the “tribute” format of bad wigs and fake accents. Instead, they perform as themselves — not impersonators — and connect with the audience through a shared passion for the music of The Beatles.

The McGuigan brothers appeared at the North Iowa Community Auditorium in January 2017. During that performance they had the audience dancing and singing, and people are excited to have them back in Mason City.

“Yesterday and Today is not just about music. It's about a legacy a father left his sons through his love of music and the Beatles. The show was fun, entertaining and engaging. I've seen them twice in the last year and looking forward to seeing them again soon. This is a must-see! Actually, a must DO!” said Jean Loes of Mason City.

The McGuigan brothers, originally from Largo, Florida, were just 21, 18, and 15 years old in 1996 when their father, William McGuigan, died after a difficult, but courageous battle with Leukemia. Bill owned every Beatles album. Their father’s passion for the Beatles and the time they spent together listening to the albums turned out to be one of the greatest gifts a father could pass on to his children. To learn more, visit www.billymcguigan.com , or watch a video at www.niacc.edu/palvideos.

Soft rock duo Air Supply will be at the Surf Ballroom

Australian duo Air Supply will perform Friday, July 28, at the Surf Ballroom & Museum.

"Making Love Out Of Nothing At All" solidified this Australian soft rock duo as a permanent force in modern music. This song was released on The Greatest Hits album, which soared past 7 million copies. "Lost in Love," "All Out of Love," "The One That You Love," and "Sweet Dreams" have also each achieved multi-million plays on the radio.

Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock met on May 12, 1975, the first day of rehearsals for "Jesus Christ Superstar" in Sydney, Australia. They became instant friends with their common love for The Beatles and, of course, singing.

Their first single, "Lost in Love," went Top 10 in Australia, and in 1980, it became the fastest selling single in the world, leaping to the top of all of the charts.

The duo continues to play more than 150 shows a year worldwide, including stops in England, Ireland, Israel, Philippines, Korea, Japan, Canada, the U.S. and beyond.

Tickets are $39 in advance or $44 at the door. Doors will open at 8 p.m.

Steve Earle and The Dukes return to the Surf Saturday

In Clear Lake, Steve Earle and the Dukes will play at Surf Ballroom on Saturday, July 29, in support of his new album, "So You Wannabe An Outlaw." The album, released June 16, is his ode to Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard and others. He's been nominated for two Grammy's for this record, which was named to Rolling Stone’s Top 500 Records of All Time list.

Opening band will be The Mastersons, the husband-and-wife duo of guitarist Chris Masterson and string player Eleanor Whitmore, who are also members of Earle's band, The Dukes. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door.

Christian music festival on Grace Church lawn in Mason City

In Mason City, Rend Collective will headline a concert Saturday, July 29, on the lawn of Grace Church, 440 N. Illinois Ave., Mason City. The concert will also feature GAWVI, Mike Mains & The Branches, and Shawn McDonald.

Doors will open for the outdoor concert at 3:30 p.m., with music from 5 to 11 p.m. People are encouraged to bring lawn chairs. Food will be available from Mr. Taco, Ritz Rings & Things, the Iowa Grill, and Roller City Sno Shack.

Tickets are $20 per person, $15 with groups of 10 or more, available at tinyurl.com/thriveiowa, iTickets.com, the Grace Church office, and North Iowa Community Credit Union, and at the door.

New theater brings classic Music Man to Osage

Nearly 60 years after the Broadway premiere of The Music Man, preparations are underway for a new production of the classic musical by the new Cedar Summerstock Theater based in St. Ansgar.

The Cedar Summerstock Theater is an intensive program for college theater performance majors from across the country. Several local school students and community members are also part of the cast, chorus, and orchestra.

The creative and design team includes professionals from the Twin Cities and Fort Worth, Texas:

St. Ansgar native Nancy Nickerson Lee, director/scenic design, manages the performing arts department at Minneapolis-Washburn High School and is adjunct professor at St. Olaf College. Musical director John Lynn is artistic director and co-founder of FLiP! Theatre Company in Minneapolis. Orchestra director Jared Barnes is band director at Northwood-Kensett Schools, and has conducted the Mason City Foundation/Stebens Children's Theatre productions of The Music Man and The Sound of Music.

Choreographer Matthias Anderson has New York and Minneapolis credits, including The Music Man (2014) at the Guthrie Theater. Stage manager Jennifer Kiefer, Excelsior, Minnesota, is a stage management major at the University of Miami, Florida. Costume designer Kari Makoutz has worked with a variety of theaters in Minnesota and Texas. Technical director Scott Effertz has been in the theater business for more than 30 years. Lighting designer Sue Ellen Berger is production coordinator/resident LD at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, and teaches lighting and sound design at Concordia University, St. Paul.

The Music Man will run for two weeks with performances Thursday through Sunday, from July 27-Aug. 6 at the Cedar River Complex’s Krapek Family Fine Arts Center in Osage. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $10 for students/children. Group sales discounts are available by calling the box office at 763-312-8319. Tickets may be purchased online at www.cedarsummerstock.org or at the door.

Art, music of Paul Micich is featured at Clear Lake Arts Center

Paper Airplane: pipedreams, tailspins and liftoffs, an exhibit of works by Paul Micich, opens Saturday, July 29, at the Clear Lake Arts Center.

A Meet the Artist Reception, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. in the Hanson Gallery and Sukup Performing Arts Wing, will feature music by World Port. An artist's walk about will be at 7 p.m.

Picnics and Performances continues at Central Gardens

“Picnics and Performances” continues Sunday, July 30, at Central Gardens of North Iowa in Clear Lake, with music by Mason City-based singer/songwriter BJ Huffman.

Huffman will perform from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Naturalist Terrace.

Guests are invited to bring picnics, beverages and lawn chairs, and relax while being entertained by musicians, jugglers and other artists. Admission is free.

“Picnics and Performances” offers regional, family-friendly entertainment every Sunday through Sept. 10.

The Wallflowers, with Better Than Ezra (BTE), at the Surf 

Grammy Award winning band The Wallflowers, with special guests Better Than Ezra, will perform at the Surf Ballroom on Wednesday, Aug. 2. Tickets are $33 in advance or $38 at the door. Doors will open at 7 p.m.

The Wallflowers formed in 1989, and in 1992 released their classic self-titled debut album. From there they skyrocketed with 1996’s "Bringing Down the Horse," which went quadruple platinum and won two Grammys, and released three more records between 2000 and 2005.

The band took a hiatus to pursue other projects. The current lineup includes original members: keyboardist Rami Jaffee, who has been recording and touring with The Foo Fighters; bass player Greg Richling who has been producing records in the U.S. and abroad; and Jakob Dylan, who debuted a pair of solo albums. Joining them is longtime guitarist Stuart Mathis, and new drummer Jack Irons who has put out several solo albums.

The band's latest CD, “Glad All Over,” sounds like 21-year-olds ready to set the world on fire, but with the wisdom of a veteran band that knows how to let just the right amount burn, according to a press release.

Before Better Than Ezra's omnipresent 1995 single “Good” hit No. 1, and their debut album Deluxe went double-platinum, the New Orleans band was a pop-rock act paying its dues.

More than two decades after the band formed, that vigilance still resonates with the trio, which includes frontman-songwriter Kevin Griffin, bassist Tom Drummond and drummer Michael Jerome. Their latest CD, "All Together Now," is a collection of crisp, electro-pop inspired songs. 

Through its Better Than Ezra Foundation (www.BTEFoundation.org), the band gives back to its native New Orleans.

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