Snowy road

By Molly Butler

The slick ice on our walkway has no chance to melt, and my car door makes a horrible frozen creeeeak when I head out on these sub-zero mornings.

Despite refilling the feeders, the birds rarely come, just a shivering red squirrel trying to tuck his tiny paws into his fur. February is one of the harshest months in Minnesota (and that pesky groundhog thinks we ought to drag winter out this year). The major festivities are over, and spring sounds like a dream that won’t come true. It’s around this time that we start to grumble. I caught myself saying it: why do we live in this state?

Yesterday, I stopped by my parent’s place to check on the rebuilding progress. After the house fire last summer, crews are finally getting fixtures in place. There will even be walls soon! As I turned up the familiar street, I saw two neighbor kids playing outside in the snow. They were bundled up like Ralphie in “A Christmas Story,” but my first thought was still, “How are they playing outside in this cold?” Then, I remembered.

It’s harsh, but it is beautiful

I had been one of those kids, on this very street, in fact, digging caves in the snowbanks and sledding in the backyard. And parents would ask, when we came in for snacks or cocoa, “Aren’t you freezing?” The question caught us off guard. The cold was often the last thing on our minds. We were so wrapped up in the game, the fun, the moment. Is it true that kids don’t feel the cold as much? Or, do we just learn, over time, to look for discomfort and focus on it?

Anne Frank wrote, “Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.” The pine trees sparkle with frost. Sun dogs hug the sky. The sunsets are phenomenal. We can see our precious breath painting the air. It’s harsh, but it is beautiful. Bundle up and have a beautiful weekend.


It’s time for the Old Town Indigenous Art Festival in Mankato! Check out indigenous artists, food vendors, hand-made goods and the amazing Indigenous Snow sculpture artists! Organized by local businesses, including Bellissimo Paint and Coatings, Lakota Made, Wooden Spoon and American Indian Affairs at MSU, Mankato, this event will feature classes and live events from Thursday to Saturday. Join Sabrina of Safe Relations from 10:30 a.m. to noon for an interactive workshop on indigenous teachings, anti-racism and connection.

See some local art! Head to the 410 Project in Mankato for its latest installation: Perspective Through Prints and Installation by Wardah Sabrie. See what’s on stage. Wounded Healers will be at the Andreas Theatre at MSU beginning at 7:30 p.m. This spoken-word and musical performance piece is a historical perspective on Black male trauma and experience. Tickets are available here.

Head to Chankaska Creek Ranch, Winery and Distillery for its unWINEd Music Series this week featuring Twin Cities artist, Camille Gross, and local guitarist and educator, Chris Olson. This event is FREE, and all are welcome to enjoy. Loose Gravel will perform at the WOW! Zone from 6-9 p.m. Arch Allies will be at the Kato Ballroom from 7-11:30 p.m., and the cover is just $15. Don’t miss their nonstop music similar to Queen, Bon Jovi, REO Speedwagon and Styx paired with an incredible light show and confetti!


The Indigenous Art Festival continues in Old Town! Steve Tamayo will teach a Lakota designs class from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., followed by a performance by the Upstream Singers. Megan L. Schnitker of Lakota Made will teach about Lakota plant medicines from 2-3 p.m. Enjoy food trucks, vendors and more!

Sip some local wine and enjoy live entertainment! Indian Island Winery invites you to its Charcuterie Board Class this Saturday beginning at 3 p.m. Prices range from $45-75 and include a whole host of goodies! Stick around for Angel Val, who will be performing at the winery from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Chankaska Creek continues its unWINEd series with Matthew Browne, performing from 6-8:45 p.m. This event is FREE to enjoy.

Head to the Kato Ballroom for a special comedy event! The Beginning of the Middle of the End Tour: Meatsauce & Common Mann Flop Sweat & Tears starts at 6:30 p.m! This show is $20 and is sure to make you laugh. Get your tickets here. Nici Peper, Christ Bertrand and Charlie Mikey will be at the Blue Moon Bar and Grill in Kasota beginning at 8 p.m. The What’s Up Lounge will host Another Lost Year, The Failsafe, and Dark Sun this Saturday, beginning at 8:30 p.m. Cover is $10.


The Mankato Farmers’ Market is open from 10 a.m. to noon at Drummers Garden Center. Check out locally grown and crafted goods. Then, Bethany Lutheran College will present Hammered Copper Vessels by artist Adam Oldre. Watch as he shapes copper sheets into graceful and innovative vessels. The exhibit is open through Feb. 16th and will be in the Ylvisaker Fine Arts Center on the Bethany campus.

Added Value: Keep Others Warm

In these harsh days, remember those who do not have the resources to keep warm and safe. Please consider donating time, talent and/or resources to places like Connections Shelter, Welcome Inn, The REACH or CADA. Thank you.


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.