Hands reaching for a connection
Hands reaching for a connection

By Molly Butler

I was living in St. Paul, running late for work, and the plow had just come through, creating a fresh snowbank at the end of the driveway.

Instead of taking the time to dig it out, I decided to slam my poor little car in reverse and hope for the best. You’d think as a lifelong Minnesotan, I would have known better. Instead, I ended up late, stuck and digging snow out from under my car, cursing myself with every scoop. My landlord, who shared the duplex, must have seen me from his window. He appeared within minutes, shovel in hand, and cheerfully started digging. Nothing evaporates a foul mood like a good helper. I was off to work in a much better mood.

If winter isn’t here yet, it’s coming fast. Even without the added challenge of COVID, winter in Minnesota can feel pretty lonely, even overwhelming. But this is a state full of helpers, and I know Minnesotans will face this with the same grace, humor and helpfulness as we face a car stuck in the snow.

Helpers are just people open to making a connection: the people willing to stop, grab a shovel, and do a good thing. In isolating times, remember, we really are in this together. So, this weekend, let’s make a connection.

Helpers are just people open to making a connection: the people willing to stop, grab a shovel, and do a good thing.


Water unites us all. This is especially true in the land of 10,000 lakes. The Blue Earth County Historical Society will host its interactive exhibit, We are Water, Minnesota, at its location at the History Center on Warren Street in Mankato. This interactive exhibit will allow visitors to examine biological, social and economic aspects of water, as well as share their firsthand experiences of the importance of water. The exhibit is open Tuesday through Friday until Dec. 18, and all visitors must schedule a time to visit.

Cooped up kids can join the Virtual Youth Social Hour, provided by the City of St. Peter’s recreation office. Grades K-2 log on from 1-2 p.m., and grades 3-6 log on from 2-3 p.m. Adult staff will be online supervising. This week’s theme is Jokingly Magnificent, so, kids, be sure to bring out your silly side and a favorite joke. Then from 4:30-7 p.m., the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota is inviting all children with special needs or sensory challenges to come on over for their Special Needs Accessibility Playtime. With fewer visitors present, this is a great time to help your child enjoy all the Museum has to offer, without excessive stimulation.


Shop ’til you drop while connecting with local growers and craftspeople. The Mankato Farmers’ Market is almost done with its regular season. Swing by the Best Buy parking lot to pick up delicious applesauce from Alternative Roots Farm, medicinal teas from Lakota Made, plus veggies, honey, pies and more. Stands are open from 8 a.m. to noon. Then the Holiday Market is open in the Arts Center of St. Peter from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. with local and handmade goods. Union Market Mankato will celebrate its grand opening with giveaways, refreshments and additional promotions. Swing by to shop from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and enjoy refreshments provided by Homegirl Snacks!

There’s enough music for everyone! Miller Den is at Indian Island Winery from 5:30-8:30 p.m., and the Dan Duffy Orchestra will play for both the Flask and Loose Moose patios from 6-9 p.m. Chankaska Creek Ranch and Winery hosts Haldy Music for its Un-WINE-D series at 7 p.m. Starting at 8 p.m., you can catch either the Everett Smithson Band’s funky blues at the Blue Moon Bar and Grill or the Steel Bridges Band at the Prairie Saloon & Grill, both located in Kasota.


The show can only go on for so long! This is your last chance to check out some amazing local theatre. “The Last Five Years” is performing at the Mankato Playhouse, and “Hair” is wrapping at the Ted Paul Theatre. Purchase tickets for “The Last Five Years” here, and tickets for “Hair” are available here.

What are you going to be for Halloween? Sunday is a great day to get your costume together. Even if you’re avoiding in-person gatherings, virtual parties and social media are still a good excuse to get all dressed up. Have some fun with it!

Bonus: Boo to Wasted Pumpkins

Ghosts, goblins and zombies can run around galore, but there’s nothing as scary as food waste. No one wants rotten rinds stinking up the street. Make sure to get as much use out of your pumpkin as possible, with some helpful ideas from Earth 911. If your pumpkin starts to get a little zombified, and you don’t practice composting at your own home, drop off your jack-o-lantern remains with the help of Mankato Zero Waste or your local organics recycling service.


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.