Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

A Minnesotan’s take on Wisconsin August 26, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

WHEN I TOOK A ROAD TRIP to Boston earlier this year, I learned something about my home state. Or rather, what others think of Minnesota. Whether in Indiana or New York or Massachusetts, folks reacted the same upon learning I was a Minnesotan. “It’s cold there,” they said.

Yes, it’s cold here. But not year-round. In the end, I decided, let them believe what they wish. Such opinions keep Minnesota from becoming densely populated like the Coasts.

Rolling hills and farms define the land east of La Crosse along Interstate 90 in the southwestern part of Wisconsin..

Rolling hills and farms define the land east of La Crosse along Interstate 90 in the southwestern part of Wisconsin..

But that got me thinking about how I view people and places, specifically Wisconsin and its residents. I’ve traveled there many times in the past five years to visit my daughter Miranda who lives on the northeastern side of the state.

Packers fans houses in Wautoma? Or simply a gold house and a green house?

Packers fans houses in Wautoma? Or simply a gold house and a green house? Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

Here’s my outsider’s impression of Wisconsinites: fanatical about the Green Bay Packers, crazy about brat and fish fries, and lovers of cheese and beer. Wisconsin residents also seem particularly opinionated. And many love to hunt. Of course, I’m sweeping my neighboring state with a broad brush of generalities. Just like others do about Minnesota.

A tribute to Aaron Rodgers.

A tribute to Aaron Rodgers on a barn along Highway 10 west of Appleton. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

Let’s examine my impressions more closely. I’ve seen Wisconsin fire hydrants painted Packers green and gold and brat buns and kettle corn in the same colors. And I’ve photographed a barn with this message: #12 is #1 G. If you’re not dressed in a Packers jersey on game day, well, you feel totally unfashionable. On game day weekends, Green Bay area hotels jack up the room prices as much as $100. My daughter clued me in on that.

The brat barn, not to be confused with a dairy or pig barn. You can purchase StoneRidge meats here.

The brat barn, stationed outside the Piggly Wiggly in Wautoma. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

I’m not a brat lover, so I could never pass as a Wisconsinite. From my observations, brat fries are the most popular fundraiser in this state with brat fry shacks stationed outside many grocery stores. Friday night fish fries are equally as popular.

Van Handel's Cheese Hut, also a gas station, is located in Appleton.

Van Handel’s Cheese Hut, also a gas station and convenience store, is located in Appleton.

Wisconsin definitely lives up to its name as the Dairyland State. Cheese stores abound. The funny thing, every time I travel to Wisconsin, Miranda asks me to bring cave-aged blue cheese from Faribault. So I stash wedges in a cooler and sneak Minnesota-made cheese across the border.

I photographed this signage along Interstate 41 between Appleton and Oshkosh.

I photographed this signage along Interstate 41 between Appleton and Oshkosh.

Like cheese, booze is readily available in Wisconsin. For example, you’ll find walk-in beer coolers at Kwik Trip convenience stores, co-joined grocery and liquor stores, and lots of breweries. Twelve Wisconsin communities rank in the top 20 drunkest cities in America. According to a May 2016 report on 24/7 Wall St, “Appleton is home to the largest share of binge and heavy drinkers in both Wisconsin and the country.”

A strong opinion expressed on a billboard along Interstate 41 between Appleton and Oshkosh.

A strong opinion expressed on a billboard along Interstate 41 between Appleton and Oshkosh.

On a recent visit, and in past visits, I’ve also noticed plenty of opinions posted roadside, sometimes on billboards and other times on homemade signs. In Redgranite, a homeowner recently scrawled “Send Hillary to prison” and placed the message board along busy State Highway 21. I’ve also noticed strongly worded messages in billboards posted along Interstate 41 between Appleton and Oshkosh.

A pawn shop, somewhere along State Highway 21 between Omro and Tomah advertises guns.

A pawn shop, somewhere along State Highway 21 between Omro and Tomah advertises guns.

Finally, hunting seems a popular sport in Wisconsin based on the number of deer stands and deer processing places. While I’m not a big fan of hunting for sport, I do appreciate that hunting makes for fewer deer on roadways.

So…is my general assessment of Wisconsin fair and/or accurate? I do, by the way, really like Wisconsin, including the cheese and the beer.

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

In Appleton: A ring dance on a wedding day August 25, 2016

The Ring Dance fountain in City Park, Appleton, Wisconsin

The Ring Dance fountain in City Park, Appleton, Wisconsin

THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT KIDS and water on a hot summer day that brings joy and, for me, a longing for the carefree days of youth.

 

Ring Dance fountain, #51 from a distance

 

Perhaps that is why I am so drawn to a piece of art centering City Park in Appleton, Wisconsin. “Ring Dance,” created by internationally-acclaimed sculptor Dallas Anderson, a native of nearby Neenah, is a must-see for me nearly every time I visit Appleton.

 

Ring Dance fountain, #56 cavorting

 

On my most recent stop at the park on a hot and humid late July afternoon, I envied the cavorting carved kids cooling off in the fountain. And I envied the young women also cooling their heels in the water as they posed for bridal party photos.

 

Ring Dance fountain, #54 hands up

 

Not wanting to interfere with the professional wedding photo shoot, I snapped a few quick shots and called it good. Typically I would take more care in composing images, but I wanted to be respectful.

 

Ring Dance fountain, #58 bride watching

 

I’m always curious about public art that draws me back repeatedly. This $483,000 sculpture, according to info I found online, was funded with private donations and was installed 20 years ago.

 

"Ring Dance" seems fitting for a wedding photo shoot. Here the couple poses near a massive round flowerbed in City Park.

“Ring Dance” seems fitting for a wedding photo shoot. Here the couple poses near a massive round flowerbed in City Park.

I also learned of a Minnesota connection. Sculptor Dallas Anderson, who died in 2009, received his Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Olaf College in Northfield, 20 minutes from my home and 300 miles from Appleton. Interesting how life circles and connects…

TELL ME, do you have a favorite water fountain sculpture? I’d like to hear.

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

Smithsonian & companion exhibits in St. Peter focus on water August 24, 2016

"Water/Ways" prompts me to think about all the uses of water.

“Water/Ways” prompts me to think about all the uses for water and much more.

I FLUSH THE TOILET. Wash my hands. Drink a glass of water. Throw laundry in the washing machine. Shower. Water plants.

I never think about how much water it takes to make something.

I never think about how much water it takes to make something. In this interactive exhibit, I learned that 240 gallons of water are needed to make a single smartphone.

And I never think about it. Water. It’s just always there, flowing from the faucet.

This "Water/Ways" art directs me to the exhibit at the NCHS.

This “Water/Ways” art directs me to the exhibit at the NCHS.

But “Water/Ways,” a traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street program, and “We Are Water MN” are causing me to consider this vital natural resource that flows through every aspect of my days.

The Treaty Site History Center sits along U.S. Highway 169 on the north edge of St. Peter.

The sidewalk curves like a river to the Treaty Site History Center along U.S. Highway 169 on the north edge of St. Peter.

Sunday afternoon I visited the Treaty Site History Center in St. Peter where the Nicollet County Historical Society is hosting joint national, state and local water-themed exhibits through September 25. After that, the Smithsonian show will move to these Minnesota communities: Red Wing, Sandstone, Lanesboro and Detroit Lakes.

Entering the "Water/Ways" exhibit, a collection of informational panels.

Entering the “Water/Ways” exhibit, a collection of informational panels.

What does water mean to you? That question posted on a display panel sets the tone for this exhibit packed with information about water. More than simply words, the panels feature interactive aspects that stretch this beyond a compilation of facts and accompanying visuals.

According to this graphic, 40 states are expected to experience water shortages by 2024. that includes Minnesota.

According to this graphic, 40 states (in red) are expected to experience water shortages by 2024. That includes Minnesota.

What would you lose if you did not have water?

A section of the exhibit shows the most common pollutants in Minnesota waters.

A section of the Minnesota exhibit asks, “What’s in the water? Minnesota’s common pollutants and where they come from.” Visitors can pull the cards from the rack (shown here) and learn about those common pollutants to Minnesota waterways.

What’s in the water?

Visitors share water memories.

Visitors share water memories.

One way a visitor pledges to protect water.

One way a visitor pledges to protect water.

This graphic breaks down water usage in Minnesota.

This graphic breaks down water usage in Minnesota.

Visitors are encouraged to share their memories of water, to list ways they can protect water, to learn what’s in Minnesota’s water and more. In this state of 11,842 lakes, water covers more than 13 million acres (or six percent of Minnesota), more than any other state. That’s according to a 2010 “Minnesota Water Facts” report I found online from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

I appreciate the "We Are Water MN" aspect of the exhibit.

I appreciate the “We Are Water MN” aspect of the exhibit.

The Minnesota Humanities Center collaborated with the DNR and other agencies in creating the companion exhibit, “We Are Water MN.”

Vintage ice skates were part of the local portion of the exhibit.

Vintage ice skates were part of the local portion of the exhibit.

Additionally, Nicollet County infused its water history. The Minnesota River runs through this county with 105 miles of river front land and was instrumental in bringing early settlers to the region. My own maternal ancestors settled in the Minnesota River Valley near Courtland.

In a side room, you'll find Kay Herbst Helms' photo exhibit, "Water Rights?" In the table display, visitors are asked to pen their thoughts on water.

In a side room, you’ll find Kay Herbst Helms’ photo exhibit, “Water Rights.” In the table display, visitors are asked to pen their thoughts on water.

A photo in Kay Herbst Helms' "Water Rights" exhibit.

A photo of a photo in Kay’s exhibit.

On droplets of water,

On paper droplets, visitors write about water.

Mankato photographer Kay Herbst Helms brings her photographic perspective to “Water/Ways” with 19 black-and-white water-themed photos in her “Water Rights” collection. Her exhibit, she says, “celebrates water and some of the people who are helping to protect our water rights now and for generations to come.”

Another idea expressed about water.

More ideas expressed about water.

This isn’t the first time Kay has focused on water in photography. She created “Water Vapors” and now “Water Vapors II,” showing through September 30 in the History Center Art Gallery at the Blue Earth County Historical Society in Mankato.

One of many quotes spark conversations about water.

One of many quotes spark conversations about water.

This quote in the “Water/Ways” exhibit strikes me more than any other:

No water, no life.
No blue, no green.

These panels address the cultural

These panels address how water inspires humanity in our art, music, dance and literature.

What does water mean to you?

BONUS PHOTOS:

"We Are Water MN" pins in a jar at the exhibit.

“We Are Water MN” pins in a jar.

This section directs us to look to the future as it relates to water.

This section directs visitors to look to the future of water.

There's even a section for the little ones to put on a puppet show.

There’s even an area for little ones to put on a puppet show.

More panels, more information to digest.

More panels, more information to digest.

FYI: Click here to read my previous post about a celebration I participated in as part of the “Water/Ways” exhibit.

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

In St. Peter: Celebrating water through dance, poetry & photography August 23, 2016

The southern Minnesota based Rural Route Dance Ensemble performs Sunday afternoon next to a log cabin at the History Site Treaty Center along Highway 169 in St. Peter.

The southern Minnesota based Rural Route Dance Ensemble performs Sunday afternoon next to a log cabin at the Treaty Site History Center along Highway 169 in St. Peter.

ON THE OTHER SIDE of the log cabin, traffic thrummed in a steady rhythm, the noise sometimes detracting from the five young women dancing barefoot in the grass and from the poets reading in to the wind.

A Smithsonian exhibit on water is currently showing at the St. Peter history center.

A Smithsonian exhibit on water is currently showing at the history center.

Still, despite the traffic noise from busy U.S. Highway 169 in St. Peter, the focus remained primarily on “When Water Dreams: A Celebration,” hosted Sunday afternoon at the Treaty Site History Center.

This photo of Swan Lake near Nicollet is one of 19 black-and-white images included in an exhibit by Kay Herbst Helms.

This photo shows a side view of Kay Herbst Helms’ photo of Swan Lake, one of the largest prairie potholes in the contiguous United States. Located in Nicollet County,  the lake covers 14 square miles. I’ll tell you more about Kay’s exhibit of 19 black-and-white photos in a follow-up post.

I was part of that event thanks to Mankato photographer Kay Herbst Helms. Kay’s latest photo project, “Water Rights,” sidebars “Water/Ways,” a Museum on Main Street exhibition organized by the Smithsonian Institution showing through September 25 at the Nicollet County Historical Society host site in St. Peter.

Sunday afternoon, along with other invited southern Minnesota poets, I read “In which Autumn searches for Water,” a poem published four years ago as part of an “It’s All One Water” collaboration in Zumbrota. I clarified before reading my poem that I wrote this when our region was suffering a drought, unlike now when Minnesota has been deluged with rain. Here’s the third verse in my five-verse poem:

But she finds at the pond site, the absence of Water,
only thin reeds of cattails and defiant weeds in cracked soil,
deep varicose veins crisscrossing Earth.

League of Minnesota Poets President Christina Flaugher reads her poetry. John Hurd and Susan Stevens Chambers also read their poetry.

League of Minnesota Poets President Christina Flaugher reads her poetry. Christina’s mother, Susan Stevens Chambers, also read, both her poetry and that of Henry Panowitsch. Two others, Craig Nelson and Mira Frank, read the works of published poets, including that of local poet Jim Muyres who was unable to attend.

Mira Frank reads the works of published Minnesota poets, here from County Lines.

Mira Frank reads the works of published Minnesota poets, here from County Lines.

I’ve come to enjoy poetry readings—listening to the rhythm of words penned by those who, like me, are moved to string words together in a lyrical way that touches emotions.

This water bottle was sitting in the grass at Sunday's event.

This water bottle was sitting in the grass at Sunday’s event venue site.

With water as the theme for Sunday’s celebration, poets read of lakes and rivers, of rain and of drought, of ships steaming immigrants across the ocean, and more.

An appreciative audience attended the water celebration.

An appreciative audience attended the water celebration.

Volunteers taught attendees to fold paper cranes.

Volunteers taught attendees to fold paper cranes.

Those clustered in lawn chairs, on blankets and standing—some folding paper cranes for the Minnesota State University, Mankato, 1000 Peace Crane Project—focused on the scene unfolding before them.

Water celebration, #47 dancer close-up arms up

 

Water celebration, #49 dancer close-up arms behind

 

Water celebration, #57 dancer with hands together

 

Water celebration, #67 dancers with hands up

 

Dressed in blue, members of Rural Route Dance Ensemble moved with such grace, like water lapping at the shore, waves rolling in the ocean, rain falling from the heavens. I won’t pretend to be an expert in dance; I have viewed few dance performances. But dance, like poetry, is open to interpretation.

North Mankato poet John Hurd reads.

North Mankato poet John Hurd reads.

Life experiences, emotions and more shape poetry—how it is written, read and interpreted.

Susan Stevens Chambers reads from her new book.

Susan Stevens Chambers reads from her new book, Good Thunder, Blue Earth.

The poetry readings of Good Thunder writer Susan Stevens Chambers mesmerized me. Susan has a melodic voice that soothes and comforts like the sound of rushing water. Except her words don’t rush. They flow. I especially savored Susan’s selected readings from her recently published compilation of rural-themed poems, Good Thunder, Blue Earth, published by River Place Press.

 

Water celebration, #94 Susan's dress blowing in breeze

 

As this poet read, her long blue dress swayed in the wind and I thought of gentle waves. Of water.

FYI: Check back for a post on the Smithsonian “Water/Way” exhibit, including more information on Kay Herbst Helms’ photography exhibit, “Water Rights.”

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

What a difference a day makes August 22, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
Tags: , , , , ,
Rain clouds threatened as my husband and I headed south into St. Paul late Saturday afternoon.

Rain clouds threatened as my husband and I headed south into St. Paul late Saturday afternoon.

IN MINNESOTA, WE OBSESS about the weather. More than elsewhere? I don’t know because I have lived in this northern state my entire sixty years of life.

Just out of St. Paul, the sky unleashed torrents of rain.

Just out of St. Paul, the sky unleashed torrents of rain.

But weather has such an impact on our daily lives from the snowstorms of winter to the thunderstorms of summer that we take great importance in weather forecasts. And weather talk. If there’s nothing else to talk about, there’s always the weather.

Shortly thereafter, we came upon a weather related crash. The entire front of this car was smashed. Traffic snarled, apparently for a crash further away. That was cleared by the time we arrived.

Shortly thereafter, we came upon a weather related crash along 35E. The entire front of this car, left, was smashed. Traffic snarled, apparently for a crash farther away. That was cleared by the time we arrived.

A wash-out Saturday was not predicted, as I recall. But then I do tend to fall asleep during the 10 p.m. news, about the time the weather person appears on-screen with charts and maps and Doppler radar.

South of Burnsville, the clouds continued to build.

South of Burnsville, the clouds continued to build as we drove Interstate 35 toward Faribault.

Here in southeastern Minnesota, clouds and rain prevailed on Saturday, impacting outdoor events. I was snug in a first-ring north metro suburban home with my sweet 4-month-old granddaughter while the skies drizzled and the clouds built in to a torrent of rain upon my departure.

Westbound on Minnesota State Highway 99 west of Shieldsville.

Westbound on Minnesota State Highway 99 west of Shieldsville early Sunday afternoon.

As drenching as Saturday was, Sunday was not.

I captured this side mirror image late Sunday afternoon along a rural county road between Ottawa and Le Center.

I captured this side mirror image late Sunday afternoon along a rural county road between Ottawa and Le Center.

The day yielded sunshine and scattered white clouds puffed against a blue sky. No rain. Just cool temps without humidity. Truly glorious.

We came across this pick-up truck broken down along a rural county road near Ottawa. The driver was waiting for a tow truck.

Driving home from an event in St. Peter (I’ll post about that tomorrow), we came across this pick-up truck broken down along a rural county road near Ottawa. The driver was waiting for a tow truck. Sunday was a much better day to break down than during the Saturday rain.

It was a good day to talk about the weather.

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

If you think there’s nothing to do in southeastern Minnesota this weekend, then read this August 19, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM

IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR in Minnesota when we try to cram as many events in to our days as possible before summer flees, autumn arrives and, dare I say, winter settles in for too many months.

This weekend is no exception here in southeastern Minnesota. Here’s a list of selected activities that may interest you:

I photographed this art on the Steele County Free Fair grandstand in April. This is the theme and art for this year's fair.

I photographed this art on the Steele County Free Fair grandstand in April. This is the theme and art for this year’s fair.

In Owatonna, the Steele County Free Fair, billed as Minnesota’s largest county fair, continues today through Sunday. Last year 307,403 people attended. From a human cannon ball to pig races to more fair food than you can shake a stick at, the SCFF offers something for everyone.

 

Kenyon, Minnesota, welcomes visitors to its recent Rose Fest.

Kenyon, Minnesota, welcomes visitors to its annual Rose Fest. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

Over in Kenyon, home to social media celebrity Police Chief Lee Sjolander, the community is celebrating its annual Rose Fest Friday through Sunday. The list of activities is extensive but includes such events as a free pool party, a hog roast, parade, kid’s pedal tractor pull, a car show, business expo/farmer’s market and way more. (Click here to see the complete listing.) Be sure to admire the Boulevard of Roses, a center strip along Minnesota State Highway 60 in Kenyon where roses grow.

 

This emblem tops a trophy to be awarded August 19 at the Car Club Show Down.

This emblem tops a trophy to be awarded on Friday evening at the Car Club Show Down. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo July 2016.

UPDATE, 5 PM Friday: Due to the weather, this evening’s Car Cruise Night has been cancelled. However, a car cruise will be held next Friday evening.

On Friday evening, Faribault Main Street hosts the monthly Faribault Downtown Car Cruise Night from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. along Central Avenue. This month’s event features the Car Club Showdown in which car clubs will compete for an oversized handcrafted trophy. Other highlights include the appearance of the University of Minnesota solar vehicle and the Gopher Motorsports UMN Formula SAE car. Representatives of the Museum of Automotive History, a group working toward creating an automotive museum in Rochester, will also be in attendance. Even if you’re not a mega car enthusiast, plan to attend for the sense of community and the fun in an historic downtown. Plus, you can check out downtown restaurants, food trucks and the F-Town Brewery.

 

An Aztec dancer photographed at the 2015 International Festival.

An Aztec dancer photographed at the 2015 International Festival.

Faribault’s diversity will be celebrated from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday during the 11th annual International Festival in Central Park. Cultural booths, ethnic foods and merchandise, cultural entertainment, kids’ activities, henna art, a silent auction, volleyball and pentanques/bocce ball competitions and more will be part of this festival.

 

A sampling of the art showcased in the Somali exhibit at the Paradise. Photo courtesy of the Paradise Center for the Arts, Faribault.

A sampling of the art showcased in the Somali exhibit at the Paradise. Photo courtesy of Julie M. Fakler, Paradise Center for the Arts, Faribault.

Several blocks away at the Paradise Center for the Arts, 321 Central Avenue, you can also learn more about other cultures at The Somali Museum of Minnesota gallery exhibit running through September 17. The PAC is open from noon until 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and until 8 p.m. on Thursdays. The Minneapolis-based Somali Museum is “dedicated to preserving traditional Somali culture.” Faribault is home to a sizable Somali population.

Plainview book fair poster - Copy

To the south in Plainview, this community celebrates Corn on the Cob Days, an event which started Wednesday and continues through Sunday. Both weekend days are jam-packed with activities ranging from a book fair to an antique tractor pull to a model railroad show to an arts and crafts fair on Saturday to a parade and all-you-can-eat free sweetcorn feed on Sunday. The corn, compliments of local Lakeside Foods, will be served beginning at 11 a.m. until gone.

 

Pulling a barge down the Mississippi River in Winona in September 2015.

Pulling a barge down the Mississippi River in Winona. Image published here for illustration purposes only is not part of the exhibit in St. Peter. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo September 2015.

At 2 p.m. Sunday, in St. Peter some 40 miles to the west of Faribault, the Nicollet County Historical Society will host “When Water Dreams: A Celebration” featuring local poets, writers, musicians and dancers. I will be there reading my published poem, “In which Autumn searches for Water.” This outdoor event at the Treaty Site History Center, 1851 North Minnesota Avenue, is in conjunction with the current Smithsonian traveling exhibit “Water/Ways.” That exhibit, focusing on the relationship between people and water, is showing through September 25 at the history center in St. Peter.

TELL ME, are you taking in any local or regional events this weekend wherever you live?

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

Family reunion craziness with Hungry Hungry Hippos August 18, 2016

Hungry Hungry Hippos board game cover #9

 

THUNK, THUNK, THUNK. The rapid clatter of four hippo mouths banging against plastic in a furious game of Hungry Hungry Hippos is enough to make any parent or grandparent crave silence.

 

Hungry Hungry Hippos game #13

 

But preschoolers love this noisy Milton Bradley game in which players slam levers that open Henry, Homer, Harry and Happy hippos’ mouths to marble-sized white balls. The object is to gather as many balls as possible as quickly as possible.

For now, my Hungry Hungry Hippos game sits boxed in a spare bedroom closet, the four hippos’ mouths clamped in blessed silence. I’ve strategically placed the game at the bottom of a board game stack, hoping any preschool visitors to my home will fail to notice it. They always spot it.

 

Hungry Hungry Hippos human version #116

 

This past weekend my husband’s family took this favorite childhood game to a whole new level with the human version of Hungry Hungry Hippos played at the Helbling family reunion. We were advised in advance to wear bike helmets and long-sleeved shirts and pants if we wished to participate. Just like kids, we didn’t listen.

 

Hungry Hungry Hippos human version #117

 

But, just like kids, the young adults loved the game which had them lying tummy down on hand-built creeper type platforms shoved toward a pile of colorful balls with upside down laundry baskets acting as hippo mouths.

 

Hungry Hungry Hippos human version #119

 

The human hippos were hilarious to watch. It’s not a game for those without upper body strength or an inability to latch onto a laundry basket while simultaneously attempting to capture all those balls tummy side down.

 

Hungry Hungry Hippos human version #135

 

All participants were under the age of thirty.

 

Reunion, Helbling family 2016 137

 

After the young adults finished their brief play, the preschool and elementary-aged contestants joined the fun. They loved this version as much as the original. And more.

 

Hungry Hungry Hippos baskets become train #155

 

Once done, the kids climbed into laundry baskets set atop a creeper and went for a ride with Engineer Matt pushing the imaginary train.

TELL ME, have you played any such creative games at a family reunion? I’d like to hear. My husband and I are hosting the family reunion next year along with other family members and are planning an Oktoberfest theme in honor of our German heritage. It may be difficult to top Hungry Hungry Hippos, though.

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,675 other followers