Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by 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