Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Promoting Faribault March 10, 2017

A snippet of Faribault’s just-published 2017 tourism guide cover shows Faribault’s signature angled name graphic overlaid on a photo taken along Central Avenue.


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.


My July 2016 Car Cruise Night photo is the cover of the 2017 Faribault tourism guide.


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.


My original photo from the July 2016 Car Cruise Night. The left side of this photo is printed on page 22 of the tourism guide in the section titled “Explore historic downtown.” Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.


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


29 Responses to “Promoting Faribault”

  1. Great photo for the cover Audrey.

  2. Jean Schmidtke Says:

    My Husband said it would be nice if the other side of the street would be in the book too.

  3. Almost Iowa Says:

    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”.

  4. Don Says:

    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.

  5. Don Says:

    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?

  6. Don Says:

    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!

  7. Littlesundog Says:

    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!!

  8. Valerie Says:

    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.

  9. Jackie Says:

    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.

  10. My home town! Not loving your home town is like not loving your parents; it’s unnatural. Thanks for promoting Faribault!

  11. Beth Ann Says:

    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.

  12. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    Oh my goodness that is so exciting. Your photos are fantastic. I can see why they wanted to use it.

  13. Gunny Says:

    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.

      • Gunny Says:

        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.

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