White Lights

By Molly Butler

I recently had an old friend out for a bonfire.

It was a clear night. Stars filled the sky. These days, she lives in a city where the light pollution blots out the stars.

“Can you always see the stars like this?”

“On clear nights, yeah.”

So used to the night sky in the country, I’d forgotten how lucky I was! We sat close to the heat of the fire, looking up at the stars, trying to pick out the constellations and find planets.

Let’s all lighten up a little.

The Kiwanis lights are twinkling, storefronts are illuminated, and pretty soon, here we will get around to untangling our Christmas lights from their boxes and get them up in the yard. It’s been a rough year for so many people. The holidays can be especially hard. The days are short; the skies are dark. Let’s not mope. Let’s all lighten up a little.

Victor Borge said, “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” Be merry and bright and even a little silly. Have a wonderful weekend.


There’s a new exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota Ag and Nature Lab! Stop by from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for “Birds!” Explore everything birds: nests, birdhouses, bird feeders, binoculars and more!

We have some fun holiday events to get you into the festive season! The Kiwanis Holiday Lights are up for viewing this weekend, 5-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. This event is free and open to the public, featuring both a driving loop and a walking path. Stop by Scheels to meet Santa’s reindeer, available from 6-8 p.m. The North Mankato Taylor Library will host their Winter Wonderland Party beginning at 6:30 p.m. Kids ages 1-10 are invited to this How to Catch a Yeti party, where they will receive a stuffed Yeti and enjoy fun-themed activities!

“Project Bike, The Final Stretch” will have its Mankato Premiere beginning at 7 p.m. at the MSU Ostrander Auditorium. This full-length documentary tells the story of local artist, Dana Sikkila, and her journey to share other artists’ stories. There is a $5 suggested donation, with all proceeds going directly to the 410 Project Community Art Space.

As always, we have plenty of great live music around town. Family Tradition will perform from 6-8:30 p.m. at Indian Island Winery. Jamboyz will be at the WOW! Zone from 6-9 p.m. The Blue Moon Bar and Grill will host Nici Peper and Charlie Milkey from 7-10 p.m. The Mankato Playhouse presents “Scrooge: the Musical” beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available here. Finally, the Fat City All-Stars will be at the Square Deal beginning at 9:30 p.m.


Enjoy some holiday cheer! Head to the Madison Lake Farmers’ Market Christmas Expo from 8 a.m. to noon, located at the All Saints Catholic Church. There will be crafts, baked goods and many vendors to shop. The St. Peter Community Center will host the Great Candy Cane Hunt & Reindeer Games! Stop by from 9-11 a.m. for family-friendly fun.

Bells on Belgrade returns, with horse-drawn trolley rides, Santa, goodie bags, games and fun. Fun starts at 2 p.m., and the Holiday Parade begins at 6:30 p.m. Then, it’s Christmas at the Hubbard House! There will be a scavenger hunt, puzzles and self-guided tours of the festively-decorated house, open 3-7 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children and $7 for BENCHS members. Then, the Circle Inn will host an Ugly Sweater Party and Contest beginning at 4 p.m.

Head to the 410 Project and catch A Night of Living Art-An Interactive Drag Experience. This event is 18+ and begins at 7 p.m. This hour-long gala will feature 5 Drag Performers posing as art pieces. Entry is $5.

Busters Sports Bar and Grill will host Bruce Burniece, performing the classic hits from 1-3 p.m. Angel Val will perform country and pop at Indian Island Winery from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Hofftriune will be at the Mankato Brewery beginning at 6 p.m. Husband and wife acoustic duo Matt & Laurel will perform at the Circle Inn Bar from 6-9 p.m. Catch Ledfoot Larry from 8 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. at Mully’s on Madison. The Blue Moon Bar and Grill in Kasota will host a Toys for Tots Benefit Show kicking off at 8 p.m. with a $5 entry or Toys for Tots donation. This event is 21+


It’s Sunday with Santa! Exclusively Diamonds will host Santa Claus from noon to 3 p.m. Celebrate the holidays and enjoy free photos with Saint Nick, but if you are able, please bring a donation for our local CADA House. Then, head to the Kiwanis Lights at 3:30 p.m. for a sunset family 2.9-mile fun walk/run. The Diamond Dash will benefit the Mankato Family YMCA, sponsored by Exclusively Diamonds and the Kiwanis Holiday Lights. Register here for the run!

The Curiosi-Tea House of North Mankato hosts Sunday Dinner from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. This week’s meal will be Lasagna, Side Salad and Garlic Bread, all for just $12.

Santa and his reindeer will be at C&S Supply from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Stop by and say hi! Then, catch a matinee of Scrooge: the Musical at the Mankato Playhouse beginning at 2 p.m. Drive through the Kiwanis Holiday Lights, beginning at 5 p.m.

Added Value: Have a laugh

Need an excuse to laugh this holiday season? Boredpanda has 125 Funny Christmas Comics. Make sure you share your favorite funnies on social media: I love seeing some silliness to break up the sometimes monotonous newsfeed.


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.