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Presented by Dropshot Pickleball, Shakopee, Minnesota

Learn How To Play Pickleball!

In 1965 when Joel Pritchard, Barney McCallum and Bill Bell returned from golf one Saturday afternoon on Bainbridge Island, Washington, they found their families bored. They had attempted to set up badminton, but no one could find the shuttlecock. Pritchard and Bell challenged their kids to devise their own game. The adults and kids ended up at the badminton court and began experimenting with different balls and rackets, including table tennis paddles…and so the game of pickleball was born. It is now the fastest-growing sport in the nation for the fifth consecutive year, with 48.3 million U.S. adults (19% of the adult population) having played at least one game in the last 12 months, according to the Association of Pickleball Professionals.  This year at the Up North Expo the experts at Dropshot Pickleball, one of the Twin Cities premier pickleball clubs in Shakopee, MN, will be on hand to introduce and instruct anyone who wants to give this fun and fast paced sport a try.  And the play all takes place on a tournament quality regulation sized pickleball court – right on the show floor!  Don’t forget your pickleball shoes!

Keep The Fire Going!


Presented by WPPO Ovens and Johan Magnusson, Big Swede BBQ

If you think outdoor ovens and grills are just for brats and burgers…think again.  With fresh ingredients and just a pinch of cooking knowledge you’ll be creating mouth-watering masterpieces wherever the fire takes you!  And at this year’s Up North Expo you’ll learn several new recipes from the “Big Swede” himself, Johan Magnusson.  He’ll be cooking over a new WPPO Infinity Hybrid oven that burns both wood or gas.  WPPO is a leader in outdoor cooking ovens and is located in Warren, IL.  And the Big Swede promises to include some of his favorite dishes that are not only easy to prepare, but absolutely “pack a punch” with bold and flavorful flavors.   “Anything you can cook in the kitchen, you can cook outdoors in your backyard. Food will always taste better after getting kissed by smoke, heat and fire,” Magnusson said.  “At Big Swede BBQ, we're passionate about spreading the joy of outdoor cooking to people all over the world,” he added.   “Whether you're a seasoned grill master or a beginner just starting out, we're here to teach you how to cook delicious food over fire.”  Cooking demonstrations will be presented a number of times each day at the “Keep The Fire Going” Cooking Stage – Friday 3 & 5 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m., 1 & 3 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. & 1 p.m.  “And it's not just about the food,” Magnusson said.  “When people come together around an open fire, social interactions and bonds are strengthened, and life becomes a little more "badass.”  So come join us, and let's cook up a storm over an open flame!”

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A Warm Welcome To The Show

Presented by accomplished musician Neal Topliff


At this year’s Up North Expo, Minnesota musician Neal Topliff will greet every person coming through the entrance with his peaceful, soothing music. His original instrumental piano and guitar music will touch your spirit and take you into the show, and to places and memories you treasure most.  Neal's music is what relaxing Up North was meant to be. He began his musical journey at the age of five when he was introduced to his first love, the piano.  For the past 25 years listeners worldwide have enjoyed his original piano and guitar compositions.  Neal has released twenty-three albums to date and is actively producing two more albums that are due for release this year.  Neal's music captures the spirit of life when it is lived to the fullest.  It reflects embracing those moments and people in life that lift us up and bring us joy.  It also reflects having the courage to embrace our lives amidst sorrow or uncertainty.  Neal's music provides a safe harbor.  As you enter the Up North Expo, be sure to say hello to Neal and his wife, Beth. And, if you don't already own his music he’ll have CD’s and other memorable products waiting for you to discover. 


The Gentleman Forager

The Most Interesting Man In The Woods

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Mike Kempenich is a passionate advocate for the world of wild foods, exotic mushrooms, and the art of foraging. With decades of experience as a cultivator, forager, and educator, Mike has quietly earned a place as a nationally recognized expert in the world of mushrooms and foraging.  Now widely known as the “Gentleman Forager,” Mike left a successful career in executive recruitment to embrace his love for wild foods and the wilderness.  At a young age, he began to hone his skills in identifying and harvesting edible mushrooms and wild ingredients found in the lush landscapes of northern Minnesota and Wisconsin. Those early experiences were building blocks to his growth as a forager and he has become a sought-after expert in the field.  In addition to his hands-on experience, Mike has shared his wealth of knowledge as an educator. He has taught wild mushroom identification certification classes at the University of Minnesota and the University of Wisconsin extensions. As a sought-after speaker, he has graced stages at various events and shared his insights on wild foods and foraging with audiences across the nation.  The “Gentleman Forager” will be giving presentations each day on the Northwoods Stage, plus his Gentleman Forager business and line of products will be a featured exhibitor at the Up North Expo.

OUTDOOR Living in The Land Of 10,000 Lakes

Your second home is your happy place.  It’s the place you spend precious free time relaxing and recharging.  And of course, spending as much time outdoors as you can is what drives you up north for the experience.  At this year’s Up North Expo you can spend a magical moment in the Outdoor Living In The Land Of 10,000 Lakes special landscape feature.  See what some of the top landscape & design experts can do with your property in this showcase of possibilities!

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