Time for fun, food and festivities
Every small town has one.
No, I don’t mean the town drunk. Although every small town does have its set of ‘interesting’ characters.
And, while many small towns have suffered a lot over the past couple of decades, losing population, businesses and schools, there is one thing they all have managed to hang onto.
Their summer festival.
Granted, some town celebrations are more elaborate than others. But most small towns across the Midwest have some sort of “Days” going on between June 1 and Sept. 1.
Generally, but not always, it is held on the same summer weekend each year. A few renegade towns have their summer festival in the winter. Some have it during the week and not on the weekend at all. But whenever it is, these town celebrations always seem to be a popular thing.
The standard fare can include kiddie games, a parade, car show, street dance and of course, food stands.
Some towns have their festivals named after the food they serve. Kernel Days in Wells comes to mind, or Bullhead Days in Waterville.
(Or Aebleskiver Days in Tyler, Minnesota, where I used to live. It’s a round tennis-ball shaped Danish pancake, in case you wondered.)
Sometimes the name of the celebration includes the town name, but sometimes it doesn’t. Giant Days is one of those festival names which is usually said without the town name included. You have to add the phrase, “in Blue Earth.”
There are town celebrations for ethnic heritage, ones that are in honor of fish (Eelpout Festival in Walker), a few which celebrate holidays like the Fourth of July (Bricelyn), some that celebrate outlaws (Jesse James Day in Northfield), and just about anything you can think of (Potato Days in Barnesville) can be a reason to name a town’s festival.
A friend of mine once said a town’s summer celebration is just an excuse for a city-wide party and the name really doesn’t matter. He was probably close to the mark.
Occasionally town celebrations change after a number of years, even changing the name of the festival.
Two Faribault County towns did just that this year.
Elmore’s Eromle Days and Fire Days are gone, replaced with Horse and Buggy Day.
Winnebago had developed two different celebrations Moto Fest and Brew Fest and now this year it was combined into one big fest named ‘Bago Fun Fest.
It turned out great.
With the Fourth of July weekend upon us, everyone says summer is nearly over. They could be right. At least half of the summer’s town celebrations are already history, with a few more to go.
And, here at the Register, we should know, as we attend every single one of them in Faribault County. Each year we divvy them up, seeing who will go to which ones this year. Over the past couple of years, that means I have made it to every town’s festival at least once, across the county.
They are all interesting and fun, and no, I won’t tell you which one is my choice for the best one.
But, I have learned one thing I will share.
Having a town celebration seems to be an important thing for a community to do. It gives the town a true sense of identity. It brings people together people who live in the town, who once lived there or who know someone who does live there. Maybe it is someone who wished they lived there.
And the major activity at every ‘Town Days’ isn’t the parade, games or dance. It is visiting with your neighbors and friends, some who you see every week, some whom you have not seen in years.
Despite the hard work and expense it takes to put on a celebration, it seems to be worth it.
I hope you had a chance to take in a town celebration this year. Especially the one in the city where you live.
And if you didn’t, I suggest you still have time to get to the county-wide summer celebration the Faribault County Fair. It will be here in just a couple of weeks.
Summer is a time for fun, food and festivities. So go enjoy it.