Fall Harvest Lights

By Molly Butler

We pulled the winter coats out of the closet to hang by the door, we’re trying to figure out which windows are leaking in the cold air and the handy dandy ice scraper is back in my passenger seat.

The winter season is here, and it’s not all blustering wind and icy roads!

My mom and I had a shopping day. After months of chaos and busyness, working to sort out our lives after the house fire, the two of us finally found ourselves having a normal day. We had coffee and no plans, wandering the aisles, laughing and joking, picking out ridiculous, tacky, tinsely attire for an upcoming Christmas celebration. Such a simple thing I once took for granted. I can’t tell you what a joy that was!

Be the light in the dark.

While the sun seems to set sooner every day, windows are illuminated with twinkling lights, fireplaces are blazing, and that good ol’ Minnesota nice shines its brightest. It’s a season of light in the darkness. A season of giving, of care and generosity. Every day I read about good deeds and kindness. People pull over on cold roads to help one another with car troubles. Folks giving more to food banks and shelters. People rescuing animals, people helping their neighbors. Even the smallest things, being patient and smiling, can bring so much relief and joy.

Whether it’s giving generously of your time or money or patience or smile, I hope you spend the weekend getting into the spirit of the season. Have a wonderful weekend. Be the light in the dark.


Get into the holiday spirit! The Madelia Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau invites you to Razzle Dazzle, a fun-filled start to the holiday season! There will be a lighted parade, shopping, kid’s games, plus Santa’s in town! Head to their website for more details. The Courtyard by Marriot on Raintree Road in Mankato presents Jingle + Mingle from 6-9 p.m. This Toys for Tots kick-off event will include festive fare, holiday demonstrations, vendors and entertainment. Tickets are just $20 and include apps and a glass of sparkling wine! Must be 21+

Treat yo’self! Head to LocAle Brewing Co. in Mankato for Queers and Beers from 5-7 p.m. Meet new folks and build community! Allies are welcome, beers are optional, and pretzels are available at the taphouse, or order your favorite local eats for delivery and enjoy them at the brewery! Tweens and teens, head to the North Mankato Taylor Library from 6:30-8 p.m. for Cupcake Wars! Compete in three rounds of themed cupcake decorating for prizes and fun! Cupcakes are baked in advance, and decorations are provided; register here to join in the fun!

Catch live entertainment in the area! Crista Bohlmann will be at the WOW! Zone from 6-10 p.m., or you can catch Nate Boots at the North Mankato American Legion Post 518 from 7-10 p.m. Bethany Lutheran College presents The Snow Queen starting at 7:30 p.m. Order tickets here. The MSU Department of Theatre & Dance continues the Studio Season with Slasher at the Andreas Theatre. Get tickets here to enjoy the show.


Get your home ready for the holidays. Pick out one-of-a-kind pieces and perfect hostess gifts for your Thanksgiving dinner or holiday party at Hen and Chicks, open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Bittersweet Lane in Mankato. Drummers Garden Center will host Spruce Top Container Workshops from 10:30-11:30 a.m. and 12:30-1:30 p.m.

The Holiday Shopping Expo is on at the New Ulm American Legion! Stop and shop from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. for vendors and an appearance from Santa! There will be snacks, board games, cornhole, and the bar opens at 1 p.m. The North Mankato American Legion Post 518 will host a Shop and Sip Party beginning at 1 p.m. Check out the craft fair, bake sale and silent auction, all while enjoying some delicious wine!

Morning people, head to the Coffee Hag from 10 a.m. to noon for Queers and Coffee! Make friends, build community and enjoy delicious drinks. Key City Bike is hosting their 5th Annual Cranksgiving! It’s a bike ride, food drive and scavenger hunt all in one!

Generation Gap will perform 5:30-8:30 p.m. at Indian Island Winery. The CSU Ballroom will host a night of Jazz Music and Swing Dancing, with a beginner dance lesson beginning at 6 p.m. and a free dance beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tickets will be available at the door. Mike Munson will perform at LocAle Brewing Company from 7-10 p.m., and The Blue Ringers will be at Mullys on Madison beginning at 8:30 p.m.


The Pond Road Market will have their Christmas Open House from noon to 4 p.m., and the Arts Center of St. Peter will have its Holiday Market available from 1-5 p.m.

Catch the David Viscoli and Daniel Rieppel Duo Classical Piano Recital from 3-5 p.m. at the MSU Elias J Halling Recital Hall. Tickets are just $9. Nelly Blanco Brown will be at the Civic Center in Mankato beginning at 7 p.m. with his full band. Tickets are available here.

Added Value: Give to the Max Day 2021

Today happens to be Give to the Max Day 2021. You can head to GiveMN to search out and support your favorite local organizations to help keep our community rich and generous and bright. 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.