JULY FOURTH in North Morristown is like a step back in time, a true grassroots celebration in the heart of rural southern Minnesota farm land.
Since 1892—that’s 122 years if you’re counting—Trinity Lutheran Church and School have observed our nation’s birthday, giving it the distinction as the oldest Fourth of July celebration in Minnesota.
The country church and school, and a cluster of several farm sites, are North Morristown, set among fields of corn and soybeans in Rice County west of Faribault.
At 9 a.m. on July 4, stands and games open at the festival grounds across from Trinity. The grounds remain open until after the 10 p.m. fireworks.
This is an event which offers a day of good old-fashioned fun and memory-building for all ages, including the 10 a.m. parade that runs a block, or maybe two.
I can’t recall how many times I’ve been to North Morristown on the Fourth. But enough that I’d recommend this celebration to anyone, especially those seeking a sense of simplicity, community, history, patriotism and Americana. All define the Fourth of July here.
From the parade to the flag raising to the patriotic program, medallion hunt, bingo, music, kids’ games and rides, silent auction and, let’s not forget the delicious homemade food, you’ll find it all.
The homemade pies are to die for as are the BBQ pork and hot beef sandwiches.
Just a tip. Don’t wait too long to order your slice of pie or you may not get the type you want. Pie sells quickly.
I love everything about this celebration, but especially the kitschy kids’ rides that appear to have been around forever. I expect second and third generations are riding these rides. This event is definitely family-oriented.
Music comprises a major part of the festivities. The well-known bluegrass band, Monroe Crossing, is slated to perform at 1 p.m. and again at 5 p.m. on the main stage. Also on the main stage will be the Roe Family Singers at noon and 4 p.m. and the Mountain Lake Gospel Singers at 7 p.m. There will also be music in the beer garden.
Zinghoppers, a band focused on entertainment for the preschool and elementary-aged crowd, performs at 2:30 p.m.
Just a few other things you should know: Parking and entertainment are free, although I’d suggest you buy a $1 celebration button and/or donate monies to support the festival. Bring a lawn chair, just in case. There are picnic tables and bleachers but those can fill quickly.
Keep your food and alcoholic beverages at home as they are not allowed onto the church or festival grounds. There’s plenty of great food and drink available for purchase. Lock your vehicles. This may be in the middle of nowhere, but…
And did I tell you to order a slice of pie?
© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling