Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Embracing & celebrating the Hispanic Heritage in Northfield September 14, 2019

 

AFTER A WEEK OF TORRENTIAL RAINS, the sun broke through to a perfect Saturday afternoon in Northfield.

 

 

 

 

In this picturesque, historic Minnesota river town, people gathered to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at the public library. And what a celebration.

 

Art on the back of the portable stage.

 

 

 

 

Dancing centered the event as colorfully-costumed dancers entertained the crowd in this community tagged as the place of cows, colleges & contentment.

 

 

On this Saturday, it was also a city celebrating the culture of its Hispanic residents.

 

 

Giving us all a snapshot of this beautiful culture woven into our Minnesota communities.

 

 

 

 

I appreciate any opportunity to learn more about another culture. If I’ve observed one thing about those of Hispanic heritage, it’s the importance of family and of being together.

 

 

I also love the bright colors of this culture as noted in flags and costumes.

 

 

Attending this event simply made me happy with the vivid costumes.

 

 

Upbeat, thrumming music.

 

 

Wide smiles. All bring joy.

 

 

 

 

From the dancing

 

Sunlight filters through the colored tents, casting an orange hue onto young artists.

 

 

The art tents.

 

to the hands-on art

 

 

 

The candy table

 

to the vendors

 

 

 

 

to the food trucks and more, I felt immersed in the Hispanic culture for an afternoon.

 

 

Right there in the heart of Northfield. The celebration continues into October.

© Copyright 2019 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

In Elysian: A memorable small town Minnesota summer celebration July 9, 2015

Vintage vehicles lined several blocks of Elysian's Main Street for the 21st annual Car, Motorcycle and Tractor Show on Sunday, July 5.

Vintage vehicles line several blocks of Elysian’s Main Street for the 21st annual Car, Motorcycle and Tractor Show on Sunday, July 5.

FOLKS IN SMALL TOWNS have a way of working together to create community events that are truly remarkable. It’s that sense of ownership, that strong connection to place, the importance of tradition and the love of community and family which, I think, prompt locals to continue year after year with time-honored celebrations like Elysian’s July Fourth weekend gathering.

Another view of the car show.

Another view of the car show.

Sunday afternoon we drove through this southeastern Minnesota lakeside town on our return to Faribault from southwestern Minnesota. I noticed the Car Show sign along Minnesota Highway 60 and people gathered. So we stopped. While the husband perused the vintage cars, the son and I watched the Kids’ Pedal Tractor Pull and checked out the Trail of History.

As we were leaving, Miss Elysian royalty were handing out Car Show trophies.

As we were leaving, Miss Elysian royalty were handing out Car Show trophies.

The holiday weekend celebration was winding down when we arrived. So we missed a lot. Yet, there was enough to see that I’m enticed to return next summer. Events actually began June 26 with royalty coronations and end this Saturday with two triathlons.

Farmers Friends 4-H Club advertised its root beer floats on a vintage chalkboard along the Trail of History, which the club sponsored.

Farme’rs Friends 4-H Club advertised its root beer floats on a vintage chalkboard along the Trail of History. When we ordered the floats, a woman scooped vanilla ice cream into red solo cups and handed us cans of root beer to make our own floats. How small town is that?

As we lounged with root beer floats on grass in the shade of trees lining the Sakatah Singing Hills State Trail, I considered how fortunate I was to enjoy small town Minnesota on a stunning summer afternoon with two guys I love.

Sawing wood the old-fashioned way next to the Farmer's Friends 4-H Club tent.

Sawing wood the old-fashioned way next to the Farmer’s Friends 4-H Club tent.

Love this grassroots sign.

Love this grassroots sign posted in front of the food tent.

Old-fashioned games like a pop ring toss were available to play.

Old-fashioned games like a pop ring toss were available to play.

On the Trail of History, the Horner explained how items are crafted from horns/bones.

On the Trail of History, “the Horner” explained how items are crafted from horns/bones.

Another historian shared how plants can be used as natural remedies.

Another historian shared how plants can be used as natural remedies.

A fitting July Fourth weekend sign posted outside a Trail of History tent.

A fitting July Fourth weekend sign posted outside a Trail of History tent.

I absolutely love this aged building along Elysian's Main Street. These two cars were in the car show.

An aged garage along Elysian’s Main Street serves as the backdrop for cars in the Car Show.

#

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Is there a community event you attend or volunteer with each year? What makes for a successful community celebration?

FYI: Click here to see my previous post about the Kids’ Pedal Tractor Pull in Elysian.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling