NEARLY 35 YEARS AGO, I moved to Faribault, relocating to this southeastern Minnesota city after my May 1982 marriage. My husband had the more secure job in an area with more employment opportunities.
I’ve grown to love this community and its people. I can go almost anywhere in town and run into a friend or acquaintance. While Faribault, with a population of around 23,000 still seems big to me in comparison to my rural southwestern Minnesota hometown of under 400, I feel here the closeness of a small town. Paths cross at events and in churches, schools, grocery stores, shops, restaurants, parks and more. That creates a sense of community.
Among events fostering community closeness is the monthly May – August Car Cruise Night along Central Avenue in our historic downtown. The well-kept aged buildings in Faribault’s central commercial district are among our strongest assets and provide an ideal backdrop for car enthusiasts to gather.
For a blogger like me, Car Cruise Night presents an abundance of photographic opportunities. I enjoy the challenge of coming up with new and creative ways to photograph the car show, showcased many times on Minnesota Prairie Roots.
Now my car shoots have extended beyond this space to tourism. A photo I shot at the July 2016 Car Cruise Night graces the cover of the just-released 2017 Visit Faribault Minnesota tourism guide published by the Faribault Daily News in collaboration with the Faribault Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism. I am delighted and honored to have my work chosen by a committee for this placement.
In a single photo, potential visitors get a snapshot of Faribault. In the backdrop architecture, they see the history and the care Faribault has taken to preserve historic buildings. In the people and cars, they see a fun event. In the green Faribault banner and lush, hanging flower basket, they see community pride.
But there’s more to this photo than seen in the vertical tourism guide cover. I shot the image in a horizontal format, my view stretching along nearly the entire length of the 200 block (west side) of Central Avenue. The 1884 Fleckenstein building, beautifully renovated and restored by Faribault-based Restoration Services, Inc., anchors the image on the right. But just look at all those buildings beyond. I cannot say enough about how lovely the historic architecture in downtown Faribault.
Of course, Faribault is about much more, so much more. I’ve also had the opportunity recently to pen pieces on River Bend Nature Center and the historic murals in our downtown for the tourism website. I’m proud to promote Faribault, pronounced fair-uh-boh. That would be French in a community that’s today culturally diverse.
TELL ME: What would you like to know about Faribault? Or, what do you know about Faribault? Or, what do you love about Faribault?
FYI: In addition to my cover photo, my Midway photo from the Rice County Fair is printed in an ad on page 20 and a photo I took of Twiehoff Gardens & Nursery is published on page 30.
© Copyright 2017 Audrey Kletscher Helbling
Great photo for the cover Audrey.
Thank you, Jake.
The pleasure of the honest meal comes solely after the truth is served.
My Husband said it would be nice if the other side of the street would be in the book too.
Jean, if you look at the 2014 Faribault tourism guide, you will see both sides of Central: https://issuu.com/faribault/docs/faribault_guide_2014
There needs to be variation in covers from year to year.
Hopefully people will come to Faribault and then they can see all of Central Avenue and the streets spiking off of it.
Faribault is a great town. My favorite place is the Farmer Seed and Nursery. It won’t be long before we head up there to do some shopping for “the garden that never grows”.
Greg, so glad you appreciate and shop Faribault. We certainly have many options for the gardener from Farmer Seed and Nursery to Faribault Garden Center to Donahue’s Greenhouse to North Star Nursery.
Audrey, for as long as I have read your blog you have always been a great citizen promoting Faribault and the surrounding area. Perhaps I will need to reevaluate my thoughts on stoplights! Kudos to you for your picture gracing the cover of the tourism guide!!! Humm I think I need to order one of the guides and while I am at it perhaps order a blanket from the Fairibault Woolen Mill too………………….
Don, I am humbled by your kind words. Thank you.
And thank you for considering Faribault as a community to relocate to once you exit Alaska. There are wonderful small towns nearby if you’re still trying to avoid stoplights.
Yes, order a Faribault Woolen Mill blanket and a tourism guide. And enjoy.
Wow it’s a small world, I was just talking on the phone with a good friend of mine and he informed me that his son is now living in Faribault! Perhaps a visit there this summer is in order as my wife and I are going to a 100 year anniversary of the family farm up in Wisconsin.
Now that is uncanny. We’d love to have you and your wife visit Faribault. If you decide to do so, please email and let me know. Randy and I can meet you and/or show you around.
What a great reason to visit Wisconsin. I love that state. Where in Wisconsin?
My friend is in Prescott, Wisconsin and I will be sure to give you a shout if our time allows for a visit to Faribault, thanks for the offered hospitality!
Prescott is fairly close to Faribault. Yup, let me know if time allows.
I would love to see more interviews with some of the old timers. I love hearing about the early days in a community, and what life was like for folks as they “grew up” and settled. These are the little-known people who are/were the foundation of a place. I think you do a great job of promoting Faribault from various aspects. Some posts really stick in my mind… antique stores and ice cream at the moment!!
You’re right. Those stories of the older generation need to be preserved.
My husband is a member of the Faribault Flyers! They ride bicycles in summer and cross-country ski in the winter. It’s a great group.
That’s a great group. He probably knows my friend Joy. I think she biked with this group for awhile.
Mom and I have frequented Donahues nursery, which we love, and every year our church guys play in the “Church of Christ” softball tournament which is held at Alexander park. Was it 2 years ago that your and Randy stopped by just as it was ending? I also love the downtown area, it’s so historic and beautiful.
Thank you for naming the things you specifically enjoy about Faribault. Time for me to explore Rochester more in-depth sometime.
My home town! Not loving your home town is like not loving your parents; it’s unnatural. Thanks for promoting Faribault!
You are welcome, Tracy. Glad to read your enthusiastic endorsement of your hometown of Faribault.
Great shot and how great it is that you are able to promote your favorite town and get paid at the same time. That is a win win! Notice the exclamation mark. You bring enthusiasm to Faribault as well as knowledge of the area and events. It is wonderful to be able to embrace where you live and love it and I know how you feel. I feel the same way about our new hometown of Brevard.
This exclamation mark is gladly accepted. 🙂
So glad you love Brevard as much as I love Faribault.
Oh my goodness that is so exciting. Your photos are fantastic. I can see why they wanted to use it.
Thank you kindly.
I find Faribault is an interesting town per your photos. Faribault has some of my ancestors there at the local cemetery. I would like to visit that neck of the woods this coming summer on my way to or from the Stevne when it is not too cold and when it is too hot here in Texas.
And we’d welcome you here.
If you see a beige color extended cab Chevy pickup with stickers in the rear window (USMC / USN and a few others. with USMC marked Texas plates, that would be me. If I am checking out a local phone book, that probably might be me trying to see if I can locate any kin – if they would claim me as such. That probably won’t happen!
Well, you know, you can always let me know when you’re in the area. My husband and I would be happy to welcome a Texan to Minnesota.