Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Minnesota Faces: Historical reenactors “Katie” and “Jim” plus more October 2, 2015

Portrait #42  : Siblings Kaylee and William


Portrait 42, Night at the Museum actors


Back in the day when I studied history, it was dull and boring and printed mostly as straight factual information in books. Dates and events and important people. Page after page after page with the occasional illustration or photo to break up the blocks of copy. Since I’m good at memorizing, I passed history classes with ease, but not with interest.

I haven’t cracked a history textbook in decades. But I presume they are a bit more interesting, perhaps in a storytelling, personalized way.

Today, thankfully, living history conveys the past in a personal and relatable way that a textbook never will. When I met siblings Kaylee and William last September, they were role-playing pioneer children during the Rice County Historical Society’s second annual “A Night at the Museum.

Lots of kids were running around the grounds in period attire or attending class inside the historic Pleasant Valley School. I was learning, too, as I wandered the museum grounds and observed reenactors portraying historical characters. I suspect I’m like most people who find this much more educational and entertaining than simply peering at historical items on display inside museum walls. Not that that doesn’t have value, too. It certainly does. I just prefer living history and am grateful our local historical society started this annual “A Night at the Museum.”

From 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. this Saturday, October 3, attendees can interact with costumed characters from Rice County’s past on the museum grounds at 1814 Northwest Second Avenue in Faribault, right next to the fairgrounds. New this year is a Flashlight Tour of Harvest and Heritage Halls at 6 p.m. There will also be horse-drawn wagon rides and food available around the fire pit. Click here for more information.

Maybe you’ll spot Kaylee and William there, pretending to be Katie and Jim.


Participants in last year's Chili Contest dish up chili at a business along Central Avenue during the Fall Festival.

Attendees sample chili at a business along Central Avenue during the 2011 Fall Festival. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

IF YOU WANT TO MAKE a full day of it in Faribault, arrive earlier for the annual downtown Fall Festival and Oktoberfest. Most events begin at noon. However, starting at 9:30, until noon, local artists will gather outside the Paradise Center for the Arts to create en plein air.

At noon there’s a kiddie parade and a Chili Contest with businesses and others offering chili samples (for a fee) until 2 p.m. From 12:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m., those interested can take the Spooky Basement Tour, a free event at the Paradise Center for the Arts. The PCA is also holding a costume sale.  Kids can go trick-or-treating downtown from 1 – 3 p.m. Games for kids, pumpkin painting and a unicycle show are also among fest activities.

New to the downtown festival this year is Oktoberfest, celebrated from noon to 11 p.m. at Faribault’s new brewery, F-Town Brewing Company, just off Central Avenue. The event features food trucks, yard games, live music and, of course, beer.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


25 Responses to “Minnesota Faces: Historical reenactors “Katie” and “Jim” plus more”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    What a full weekend in Faribault this weekend. I love October activities—there is always something wonderful going on. I had hoped to be able to take in some around here this weekend since Chris is home but I suspect we will just be trying to stay dry. Rainaggedon is here……

  2. treadlemusic Says:

    In an area where small towns abound, it is so hard to choose just one event to attend!!!!! Every weekend seems to have a huge assortment……..definitely something for everyone…….and the weather is looking perfect to be out and about. “UffDa Fest” & “Festival of Quilts” will be occupying my moments but the posted activities look to be awesome as well!!!! Enjoy!!!!!!

  3. I enjoy living history (especially when the people involved enjoy it) and I feel more engaged! I went to the Free Museum Day last Saturday and the Florida Holocaust Museum is one that I want to go back to and take the audio tour. I enjoy audio tours too!

    Happy Weekend – Enjoy 🙂

  4. Almost Iowa Says:

    I’ll be biking the Sakatah State Trail tomorrow, maybe I will stop by. Thanks for the heads-up.

  5. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    That sounds like much more fun than a history class

  6. Thread crazy Says:

    Aww sweet October…pumpkin time. Love the various Oktoberfests. Around here is when all the outlying communist have their church picnics, bazaars and such..great time to be out and about with family, enjoying october! Btw…it was 50 here this morning. ..yea for some cooler temps. The cool morning is fast fading as its already 73!

    • Oh, yes, lots of church dinners and art fairs. Temps here have already been in the high 30s overnight. And my husband noted frost one morning in a low-lying area along a river bottom as he drove to work. I love this weather.

  7. Littlesundog Says:

    I love the “Octoberfest” activities and events this time of year. Right now there are a lot of Bluegrass festivals coming up here in our neck of the woods. The weather is perfect… great opportunities to get out there with the camera!

  8. hotlyspiced Says:

    The textbooks we had at school were dry and boring too. I look at the books my son brings home from school and there’s so much colour and fun to them. I think learning about history through dressing up and having days like this is invaluable xx

  9. Sue Ready Says:

    Sounds like this past weekend was full of fall community choices. I did note a lot activites geared for children which is good to get yourng families involved. You are always such a good cheerleader for events in your area.

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