Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Photos from the Blue Collar BBQ & Arts Fest September 1, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 2:47 PM
The Swamp Kings, a metro-based country and blues band, performed at the Blue Collar BBQ and Arts Fest in Faribault.

The Swamp Kings, a metro-based country and blues band, performed at the Blue Collar BBQ and Arts Fest.

Ten days ago I took in the first-ever Blue Collar BBQ & Arts Fest in downtown Faribault.

With a variety of art, delicious food, good music and perfect weather, this made for one terrific way to spend a Saturday afternoon in August.

You can read about my experience in a blog just posted at www.midwestmixmagazine.com.

And to pique your interest, here are some photos from the BBQ & Arts Fest.

Shirley Smith of Ostrander brought her hand-painted glassware to the fest.

Shirley Smith of Ostrander brought her hand-painted glassware to the Faribault arts fest.

Laura J. Grote of Faribault set up her easel and worked on engraving a hummingbird.

Artist Laura J. Grote of Faribault set up her easel and worked on engraving a hummingbird.

Monte's Steakhouse of Faribault grilled kabobs and sweet corn.

Employees of Monte's Steakhouse in Faribault grilled kabobs and sweet corn for fest-goers.

"Organically Mexican" art available from Northern Southern Trading Company.

"Organically Mexican" art was available from Northern Southern Trading Company of St. Paul.

Jeff Pridie of Faribault painted with BBQ sauce, a painting event offered at the kids' booth.

Jeff Pridie of Faribault painted with BBQ sauce, an event offered at the kids' booth, mixing food and art.

Barb Bruns of Morristown showcased her oil paintings at the festival.

Barb Bruns of Morristown showcased her oil paintings.

Dianne Lockerby of Faribault sold her unique pottery pieces.

Dianne Lockerby of Faribault sold her unique pottery.

Artist Whitney Reuvers is into recycling and painted this acrylic on cardboard.

Artist Whitney Reuvers of Faribault is in to recycling. She painted this cityscape acrylic on cardboard.

© Copyright 2009 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

All about country in Minnesota Moments’ fall issue

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 10:30 AM
Garn Schmidt's 1899 former Vesta elevator.

Gary Schmidt's 1899 former Vesta elevator.

The Nicollet Farmers Exchange Company.

Nicollet Farmers Exchange Company

The fall issue of Minnesota Moments has just published and it’s an edition you’ll love, especially if you have rural roots.

I pulled together a feature package on country grain elevators that includes several of my stories and lots of photos. Sharon Harris, a literary contact from Menahga, tracked down elevator poems, two of which were published. I think you’ll enjoy the poetry of Charmaine Pappas Donovan and Anthony Swann.

One of my stories comes from my hometown of Vesta, where Gary and Barb Schmidt own two elevators that were moved onto their country acreages. Gary’s enthusiasm made this an especially fun assignment.

Another article focuses on a Montana man, Bruce Selyem, who photographs grain elevators around the country. That inspired me to photograph numerous Minnesota elevators. A sampling of those images accompanies this piece.

Yet, I have many more worthy photos that never made publication due to space limitations. So I’ll share some of those here, including several favorites from Cleveland, which is just east of St. Peter. While shooting images of a trio of grain bins there, a cop car came cruising around the corner aimed straight for me. I was a bit annoyed because I was attempting to photograph a fading rainbow behind the bins and had minimal time to get my picture.

Well, the young officer pulled up to me in his squad, rolled down the window and said, “You saw it too.” He was, of course, referring to the rainbow. But just to make sure he didn’t think I was a troublemaker, I explained my photo project to him. He continued on his way and I’m pretty sure I made his Fourth of July just a bit more exciting.

In addition to the country grain elevator stories, the issue includes a travel feature I wrote on Minnesota’s Machinery Museum in Hanley Falls, which lies between Marshall and Granite Falls. I’ve always wanted to tour the museum and finally made time on a “trip back home” to do that. The museum closes at the end of September and then reopens in May. If you’ve never been there, it’s worth the drive. Plan several hours for your tour.

The September/October issue also includes more articles I’ve written and a selection of other interesting stories by several writers. Check out the website at www.minnesotamoments.com if you’re unfamiliar with the publication. And if you’re already a subscriber, expect your copy in the mail soon.

I hope you enjoy reading the country-themed stories as much as I enjoyed writing them.

I like this photo because of how the three grain bins mimic the three doors on this building at the Nicollet Farmers Exchange Company.

I like this photo because the grain bins mimic the doors on this building at the Nicollet Farmers Exchange Co.

Colorful advertising contrasts with the original brick building at the Nicollet Farmers Exchange Co.

Colorful advertising contrasts with the original brick building at the Nicollet Farmers Exchange Co.

I took this artsy shot at Minnesota Valley Grain in Le Center.

I took this artsy shot at Minnesota Valley Grain in Le Center.

Heavy, dark skies prevailed, matching the color of the People's Elevator in Cleveland, which is now for sale.

Heavy, dark skies prevailed, matching the color of the People's Elevator in Cleveland, which is now for sale.

And then the sun broke through the clouds, creating beautiful lighting for this photo at the People's Elevator, Cleveland.

And then the sun broke through the clouds, creating beautiful lighting for this photo taken July 4 at the People's Elevator, Cleveland.

One of my favorite images came from inside Gary Schmidt's 1899 elevator, where this chalkboard hangs, indicating grain storage.

One of my favorite images came from inside Gary Schmidt's 1899 elevator, where this chalkboard hangs, recording grain storage.

© Copyright 2009 Audrey Kletscher Helbling