Small-Town Summer


We are about to enter the festival season in my little town. Every town has them, I guess, but our town seems to have a LOT of them, and they keep adding more every year! Our newest addition is the Zany Zucchini Street Festival. I knew I could get your attention…read on!

So, we started things off with Frost Free Friday in late May, which is our climb-out-of-winter festival during which local businesses give away plants to visitors to their businesses. It’s supposed to be an advertising kind of thing, and a promotional thing for businesses, designed to get people in the door to purchase something. But, unfortunately, most people just dart from business to business, snatching as many free plants as they can juggle, without giving a thought to purchasing anything, or even shopping around. At about this same time, our local farmers’ market opens, and the Garden Club has a big plant sale at the market. It’s a much more supportive way to get your plants, as far as I’m concerned. We also have not one, but TWO fishing openers in May, because we ARE in Minnesota, after all.

This week is our Summerfest. I’m pretty sure every town has a Summerfest, right? This is the first festival I came to know upon taking up residence in town. We happened to arrive in town after a 23 hour trip from Maryland on the eve of Summerfest, 2001. Our realtor had joked that there’d be a parade in our honor, and it turns out, he wasn’t joking! Arriving around 3:45 AM, and after conking out for a few hours on our air mattress in our new home, we awoke to a loud, “Testing…testing…1, 2, 3…testing!” They were setting up for the musical entertainment for Summerfest. So, we got up, and joined in the festivities. There was a parade soon to start, and we met our neighbors because our yard turned out to be primo viewing real estate for the parade, and they all had been setting up their chairs in our yard for years. It was great!

The county fair is the same weekend as Summerfest, so there is plenty to do in town. Inflatable jumpy things for the kiddos, carnival games and thrill rides, pony rides, horse shows, tractor pulls, beer gardens, music, talent shows, those ridiculously tall mudder trucks, petting zoo, 4-H displays and animals…you get the gist. And, of course, there’s the food…brats, smoked turkey legs, sweet corn, pulled pork, cotton candy, soft pretzels, sno cones, cheese curds…the list goes on, as do the pounds.

Then we have a mere 4 day break before the 4th of July sneaks up on us. Our town doesn’t actually do anything for this one, because there are so many other fireworks displays and parades at surrounding towns. Later in July, we’ve added the Zany Zucchini thing, because there wasn’t anything in particular in July.

We start August off with the Community Garage Sales, which is always fun. That same weekend, we have Pie on Park Ave. (which used to be “Pie on the Porch”), which is a fundraiser for a church’s mission trips. It’s delicious, and happens to be a block from my house, so handy like that. More pounds. Then, at the end of August, is the big Bluegrass Festival. That draws a lot of people to the area, and is a big deal for such a small town.

We finish things off with the Art Crawl, which is usually Labor Day weekend, and that is the end of the trail of touristas, street vendors, an abundance of bad-for-you foods, lots of time in the sun, and medallions to search for. Ahhh, the peace and quiet of fall…even if it means winter is just around the corner.



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