Bald eagle makes splash catching a fish.

By Molly Butler

I’ve never been a huge fan of parades and fireworks, but the 4th of July does bring back fond memories; like the one I spent on the river all day with friends, until we were so sunburnt and exhausted we all fell asleep before the fireworks even started, or the 4th of July lake days at my grandma’s house, decorating the pontoon, swimming for hours and hours, eating fresh corn on the cob on the porch, chasing the dogs and joking around.

I don’t have anything very profound or patriotic to say about this particular holiday. The 4th of July is a lot like our country: complicated. I don’t love the distress and pollution caused by the fireworks. I feel for the veterans who struggle with these traumatizing displays. I worry about all the animals that will get lost or terrified this weekend. And I can’t help but roll my eyes at yet another excuse to push cheap products and disposable un-necessities.

The 4th of July is a lot like our country: complicated.

On the other hand, I always enjoy a good BBQ with friends and family, and I will absolutely be taking the opportunity to ignore my inbox and jump in the lake. If I can, I’ll take off with a kayak and get a quiet lap around the shore. There’s a spot on the far side where giant trees grow, and the bald eagles make their nests. If you’re lucky, you can watch them dive for fish, or, if you don’t scare them off, you can get right up close to where they perch, silent, huge. No matter how many times you’ve seen them, they’re somehow always bigger than you expected them to be. They are intense and powerful birds. Their eyes are keen, their talons alarming. They’re frightening, yes. But they do inspire pride.

Have a safe and good holiday weekend everyone.


Crafters and artists can try something new this weekend. The New Ulm Public Library is hosting a Needleworking group starting at 9:30 a.m. The sPARK Creativity Mobile Art Studio will be at Gorman Park in St. Peter this Friday! This FREE program brings art to area parks so kiddos grades K-6 can explore and create.

Let’s get outside! Naturalist Scott Kudelka will lead a nature hike through Flandrau State Park in New Ulm from 4-5 p.m. Bent River Outfitter is hosting another Happy Hour Float! This 1-1.5 hour guided paddle is perfect for friends, families, and even date night! Boat rental, shuttle service and guides are all included for just $25 per person.

Wine always pairs well with live music. Chankaska Creek continues their Un-WINE-d series with Matt McAllister, who will play the patio from 6:30-8:45 p.m. Morgan Creek Vineyard of New Ulm is ready to Winedown for the Weekend, with Ben Marti playing classical and jazz piano from 6:30-9:30 p.m.


We have everything you need for a fun, exciting and active Saturday morning! Nicollet Bike, River Valley Running and Bent River have teamed up for a Bike/Kayak/Run event! Pick a sport and meet in their respective parking lots. The event will conclude at the HUB at 10 a.m., just in time for the River Valley Maker’s Market, featuring local vendors, food and music! At 10:30 a.m., Safe Relations Space will host a 30 minute All Levels Yoga Class on the HUB lawn! Bring our own yoga mat; no reservations needed!

The Mankato Farmers’ Market is open in the Best Buy parking lot from 8 a.m. to noon! I’m going to swing by to stock up on some honey and check out the produce. New Ulm’s KNUJ Farmers’ Market will be open in the Cash Wise Foods lot from 9 a.m. to noon.

Say “cheers” to the holiday weekend! Head to New Ulm for the Sozial Food Truck at the Bier Halle! August Schell Brewing Co. will have the food truck on-site starting at 11 a.m. until the food runs out. Come hungry! Then, the Mankato Brewery will have a FREE brewery tour from 3-4 p.m.

Of course, there’s always live music around town to wrap up your Saturday. Nate Boots and the High Horses will be at the Blue Boat from 7-9:30 p.m. The Rain Kings will play at the Westwood Marina and Bar starting at 6:30 p.m. The Jim McQuire Jazz Trio will play the Morgan Creek Vineyard, also beginning at 6:30 p.m.


Happy 4th of July! Nicollet Bike Shop is celebrating with their annual 4th of July Century Road Ride, beginning at 7 a.m.

Saint Peter will host a parade beginning at 10 a.m., and they’ll have a picnic in the park from noon to 4 p.m. Fireworks start at 10 p.m. New Ulm will have a FREE celebration at Turner Hall Park, featuring live music, burgers, brats, a kid’s tent, Schell’s beer, ice cream and more! The 507 in Mankato is celebrating with a Fireworks Pre-Party, with food and live music on the patio from 6-9 p.m.

Have a safe and happy holiday weekend!


Weekend High Notes is a regular feature by Molly Butler. Molly covers weekend events, live music, and culture in the Greater Mankato Area. Suggestions are welcome using the MankatoLIFE contact form.