Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Just another reason to appreciate Northfield, Minnesota August 6, 2019

On a corner along Division Street in historic downtown Northfield, Minnesota.


WE ARRIVED IN NORTHFIELD to find the city abuzz. Or rather abuzz and resounding with the sound of music.

Randy swung the van into the first open parking spot, surprisingly just off Division Street and a short walk from Bridge Square, headquarters for the Vintage Band Festival. On this lovely August early evening, we headed toward the sound of music, rounded the corner by the post office and observed an audience packing the square and spilling onto the closed street. At that moment I wished for lawn chairs. These obvious seasoned fest attendees brought theirs. Without chairs, we settled onto the curb just a door down from the former First National Bank (now the Northfield Historical Society), site of the famous Jesse James-Cole Younger Gang bank raid. We listened to a few songs before deciding we couldn’t sit like this any longer. Maybe if we were younger…


Territorial Brass performs in Armory Square’s green space.


From there we aimed toward our destination, Reunion, a new restaurant in town. But first, we decided to check out another concert, this one in the Armory Square green space. Here, Arizona’s official historical brass band performed territorial period music. Territorial Brass band members, dressed in period attire, replicate the music of vintage brass bands in Arizona and New Mexico. And bonus, a vocal soloist, “Violet,” sang along with the instrumentalists. What a delight to hear the band, among some 40 performing during 100 concerts over the four-day Vintage Band Festival.


Soloist and band spokesperson, “Violet,” walked through the crowd while singing.


After listening for awhile, we left to dine at the new eatery. But, once inside Reunion, we learned the wait would be 45 minutes. I was disappointed, too hungry to wait. Had we known this, we would have reserved a dining spot earlier and awaited the text that our table was ready. Live and learn.


Among those listening to Territorial Brass.


Anyway, no matter, we appreciated the vintage music that added another reason to stop in Northfield on a beautiful Minnesota summer evening.

TELL ME: Have you ever attended Northfield’s Vintage Band Festival or a similar vintage band festival?

© Copyright 2019 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


10 Responses to “Just another reason to appreciate Northfield, Minnesota”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    This looks like an amazing festival. What fun to have access to all that music! That’s the best kind of trip for me— great music and lots of it.

  2. Ruth Says:

    HAve not attended a vintage band festival yet but sounds great. Sorry about frustration to wait for table. I could relate.

  3. valeriebollinger Says:

    We went down to Bridge Square with our camp chairs to hear several bands over the four days. It’s a wonderful event. Glad you were able to be here for a couple bands. Come back next year!

  4. Gunny Says:

    Love it. Arizona Territorial Band! Count me in! Got a Western magazine that had a detailed story of the Northfield Raid. Very interesting as was the story by curator at the museum about how these robbers were identified! Glad you all enjoyed and sorry I missed it!

  5. Jackie Hemmer Says:

    Sorry your plans to dine at the new restaurant didn’t work out, but as always it seems you enjoyed yourselves anyway. I dont know how many time Rick and I have said, “we should have brought our chairs”, the curb-sitting would get old real fast for us.

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