JASON REHER, WHO VOLUNTEERS on the Faribault Heritage Days Committee, seemed a bit worried Wednesday evening. And rightly so.
Jason Reher addresses the crowd at Faribault Heritage Days opening ceremony Wednesday evening and then talked to me afterward about his weather worries. Photo by Randy Helbling.
With more rain in the forecast and the City of Faribault in a declared State of Emergency due to flooding potential, he wondered whether festival events would need to be canceled or moved. Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton this afternoon declared a State of Emergency for 35 Minnesota counties including my county of Rice and neighboring Steele, Waseca and Le Sueur counties. This declaration makes state resources available to areas of the state in need of assistance and “engages state agencies in response efforts.”
Sandbags are in place at the Faribault Woolen Mill which sits along the Cannon River. The dam here is no longer visible. This was shot Wednesday evening.
Already the riverside Faribault Woolen Mill canceled its Heritage Days tours because of the rising Cannon River and the need for sandbagging its property. And Saturday’s Kids’ Fishing Contest at the King Mill Dam has been postponed until July 12 due to dangerous high water. (Click here to read my earlier post about flood prep in Faribault. River levels have actually dropped some since Wednesday evening but started to rise again Thursday morning as steady rains resumed.)
A racer in the 2012 Faribault Heritage Days Soap Box Derby.
Saturday, Reher said, is the “make it or break it” day for the fest with a lengthy list of activities that range from tours to music to a soap box derby, fun run, garden tractor pull and more capped by the 6:30 p.m. parade. He was already tossing around the possibility of moving the parade route, which follows Second Avenue. A portion of that city street bridges the rising Cannon River.
Despite his concerns, Reher seemed hopeful at the Wednesday evening Heritage Days opening ceremony that the rain will stop and the sun will shine this weekend.
A view of the Minnesota River as seen from Riverfront Park, looking toward downtown Mankato. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2011.
Let’s hope, because this weekend is packed with area festivals and events, like my community’s Heritage Days, Straight River Days in neighboring Medford and the Arts by the River fest in Mankato’s Riverfront Park along the banks of the Minnesota River. Mankato has experienced lots of problems associated with mega rains, resulting in mud slides, closed roads and more. The downtown is protected by a flood wall.
In Medford, just to the south of Faribault, the City Council meets this evening for the purpose of declaring a State of Emergency in this Straight Riverside community. The volunteer fire department put out a call yesterday for locals to fill sandbags and build walls. As of now, this small town’s annual Straight River Days weekend celebration is still on with events subject to change due to the flooding river.
Locally, Faribault Area Hospice is celebrating 30 years of service with a free outdoor bluegrass concert by Monroe Crossing at River Bend Nature Center at 3 p.m. Sunday. Floodwaters and downed trees have closed numerous trails in the nature center. Should the venue and weather necessitate, the concert will be held at the American Legion. In past floods, the Legion has also been closed off because of flooding.
During a worship service filled with music, choir and congregational members sing in Norwegian, “Ja, vi elsker” at the Old Stone Church. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.
Nearby, but indoors not out, the Old Stone Church is holding its annual worship service in this historic Norwegian church 2.3 miles southwest of Kenyon along Monkey Valley road at 9:30 a.m. Sunday.
The Moland folks serve a generous amount of strawberries with two scoops of ice cream. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.
And then from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Sunday to the south also in rural Kenyon, Moland Lutheran Church celebrates its annual Strawberry Festival with a delicious meal of pulled pork sandwiches, potato salad, cake, locally-grown strawberries, ice cream and beverages. There’s a bake sale, too.
Whatever you do this weekend, don’t sit at home. Get out and enjoy. Rain or shine.
FYI: Click here for more information about Heritage Days.
Click here to read a past post about the Old Stone Church and the Moland Strawberry Festival.
Click here to learn about Arts by the River.
Me with my winning International Festival 2012 photo.
WEDNESDAY EVENING I WAS AMONG those honored at the Faribault Heritage Days opening ceremony in Central Park. By default (mine was the only entry), I earned first place in the “personal heritage” category of the event’s first-ever photo contest with an image from the 2012 International Festival Faribault.
My photograph shows children during a pinata breaking. It is one of my favorite photos from that international celebration for the perspective and the content. The image shows the many cultures of Faribault, particularly fitting for Heritage Days.
The only three entries, and thereby the winning entries, in the Faribault Heritage Days Photo Contest. The photo on the right of historic Johnston Hall was voted the community favorite during polling at the State Bank of Faribault.
That photograph and the two other entries (in the landscape/wildlife/historic views portion of the competition) will be showcased at Central Park during Heritage Days and then at Paul Swenson Photography (327 Central Avenue North), contest sponsor.
© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling