Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Five things to do this weekend in the Faribault area July 19, 2012

FROM TEA TO TRACTORS and plenty of in-between interesting attractions, you’ll find lots to do this weekend in my region of southeastern Minnesota.

I shot this image at the Rice County Free Fair several years ago.

Already underway and running through Sunday is the Rice County Free Fair in Faribault. Evening grandstand shows include Enduro Auto Races on Thursday, an All-Star Pro Rodeo on Friday, a National Truck & Tractor Pull on Saturday and a Demolition Derby on Sunday. Besides the entertainment, you’ll want to stroll through the barns, the midway and the exhibit buildings, plus sample some fair food.

John Deere tractors galore lined up at the 2009 Rice County Steam & Gas Engine Show. I have never attended the Credit River Antique Tractor Club Show near New Prague.

In nearby Scott County, tractors take center stage (or rather space) at the annual Credit River Antique Tractor Club Show which runs from 8:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. Friday, July 20, through Sunday, July 22. To get there, take Exit 76 on Interstate 35 and go west on Scott County Road 2 for about 11 miles.

From a tractor parade to flea market, entertainment and more, this promises to be a family-friendly event in a beautiful rural setting. My friend Nancy Fredrickson of Lakeville tipped me off to the tractor show. Says Nancy: “It’s set up at Cedar Lake Farm Regional Park outside of New Prague where the tractors and vendors are scattered under big beautiful trees on hillsides that lead past the old barn and down to Cedar Lake shore.”

Nancy and her husband, Gordon W. Fredrickson, will be there, near the entrance, selling their collector series Farm Country Tales and If I Were a Farmer books. Readers, Nancy and Gordon are two of the finest, down-to-earth people you will meet. Plus, their rural-themed picture books are about as real and honest and authentic as they come. I highly-recommend these books to anyone interested in farming from years past.

Hanging out along Central Avenue during Faribault Car Cruise Night in May.

If classic cars are your thing, then take in, or participate in, the Faribault Car Cruise Night from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. Friday in the 400 and 500 blocks of Central Avenue in the heart of historic downtown Faribault. According to the group’s Facebook page, “…if you have a cool car or truck or motorcycle, bring it down.”

The Paradise Center for the Arts theater, this photo from several years ago and the set for “South Pacific.”

Also on Friday, but in the 300 block of Central Avenue, the fractured fairy tale, “Into the Woods,” opens at 7:30 p.m. at the Paradise Center for the Arts. The Faribault theater and the Northfield Arts Guild are collaborating on the musical which continues on selected weekdays and weekends through August 5.

Betsy cuts Tacy’s hair in this snippet from a mural by artist Marian Anderson in the Maud Hart Lovelace Children’s Wing at the Blue Earth County Library in Mankato.

Finally, 40 miles away in Minneapolis and Mankato, the Betsy-Tacy Society is holding its annual convention. The organization focuses on celebrating the Betsy-Tacy children’s book series written by Mankato author Maud Hart Lovelace. I love, love, love these books about three friends growing up in Deep Valley (Mankato) in the late 1800s and early 1900s. I read the series to my young daughters two decades ago and we, even to this day, occasionally call my second daughter Tib, after Tib from the books.

It’s probably too late to get into the convention, but you can still join in on some of the fun by attending the free Betsy-Tacy Storytime Tea from 10:30 a.m. – noon Saturday at the Barnes & Noble Bookstore, River Hills Mall, Mankato. A Maud Hart Lovelace interpreter will read from Betsy-Tacy and photos can be taken with Betsy and Tacy. Visitors can also shop at the Betsy-Tacy Bookfair at Barnes & Noble.

The childhood home of Maud Hart Lovelace (aka Betsy), author of the Betsy-Tacy series first published in 1940.

The houses where Lovelace (Betsy in the books) and her friend Frances “Bick” Kenney (Tacy) grew up are owned by the Betsy-Tacy Society and are open to the public. They are a must-see for any fan of Lovelace’s books, although this weekend may not be the best time to tour the homes if you prefer elbow room to crowds.

There you go. Five things you can do within 40 miles of Faribault this weekend.

What are your plans?

FYI: You probably already know this, but just in case you don’t…  By clicking on the highlighted phrases/sentences within the post, you will be directed to more detailed information about the featured events.

© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling