By Molly Butler

Our Memorial Weekend will probably look a lot like yours. We might track down some live music, eat some local food, spend some time in the garden, maybe jump in the lake if the weather allows and the water is warm. But when Monday comes, we celebrate a little differently.

When we were little, my siblings and I overheard the grownups talking about Memorial Day coming up. We were so small, so we couldn’t quite get the word right. We thought they were saying, “Mmmm, Oreo day.” In our little kid minds, it sounded like an amazing holiday. My sister piped up, “Does that mean we get to eat Oreos?” Another one of those darnedest things the kids say. The adults laughed. A tradition was born.

I was young, but I remember the morning my grandpa Ken passed away. He’d been battling cancer and was spending his final days peacefully at home. I remember my mom coming to my room to wake me up, the quiet, winding drive to grandma and grandpa’s house, watching the orange sunrise. I remember how quiet the house was, how unusually quiet, and how dark. No one turned on the hallway light. People were whispering. Normally, grandma and grandpa’s house was where we laughed and played, but with death in the house, that was impossible. I remember everything looked a little strange, a little off for a while as if Ken was taking part of the house, part of us, away with him. Maybe children understand death better than we realize.

After all, it’s not the death we’ve come to recognize. We’re there to remember life, to celebrate life.

On Monday, we’ll meet at the cemetery to visit my grandpa Ken. One by one, our cars will pull up, and my grandma Linda will arrive. She’ll have at least one box of Oreos, but she usually brings more. We gather around the grave, pass out cookies, and inevitably, with cookies in our mouths, remembrances will turn into silliness and giggles. We are probably the most cheerful group you’ll run into at a cemetery. Instead of flowers and tears, we always leave cookies and laughter. After all, it’s not the death we’ve come to recognize. We’re there to remember life, to celebrate life.

Have a wonderful weekend, spend it with the ones you love. Have a happy Memorial Weekend.


There’s always something fun at the library. They’ll have Break-In Bags from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Think Escape Room except, instead of breaking out, you’re trying to break in! You’ll have to solve three puzzles to acquire the numeric code you need. No registration is required for this event that’s open to ages 9-17. You can also join the library in celebrating National Scavenger Hunt Day. There are 12 words hidden in North Mankato business windows. Write them all down, figure out what they say, and bring your results to the library to receive a prize! While National Scavenger Hunt Day only lasts one day, this scavenger hunt will be available until June 4th.

Family Fun Shows are back at the River Hills Mall for a Memorial Weekend Celebration!
They’ll be set up near Barnes and Noble with rides, food, and all the fun stuff, open from
5:00-10:30 p.m. Friday with hours all holiday weekend. Keep an eye on their Facebook Event for more info.

It’s a beautiful night for a cruise! Key City Bikes will host a Friday Night Sunset Cruise this Friday. Bring lights and helmets and meet at Key City Bikes in Old Town Mankato at 7 p.m. There will be stops along this casual, fun ride. The New Ulm Chamber of Commerce and the Lamplighter Restaurant want to celebrate the graduating class of 2021 with their 2nd Annual Senior Cruise! Decorate your car and meet at the Lamplighter parking lot at 5:30 p.m. Registration is required. Congrats graduates!

The 410 Project in Mankato will hold a Closing Reception for Russ White’s exhibition, The Distance Between Us. Experience the work of the Minneapolis-based artist, and try your hand at creating your own Russ White inspired silhouette portrait. Visitors can head to the back studio from 7-9 p.m. to cast shadows, trace, cut, and create their own collage. Everyone is welcome, and this event is FREE.


There’s something for everyone in St. Peter. Marketfest continues with an open-air shopping experience. There will be food, refreshments, entertainment, and of course, wonderful local vendors to shop from. A portion of proceeds from St. Peter Marketfest will go to the Feed Our Children Program and Backpack food program. While you’re in St. Peter, don’t forget to check out Soundclash! KMSU DJs will set up in the rear parking lot of the Arts Center and spin records. It’s all vinyl, and it’s all free. Enjoy curated music, check out amazing art, and have a lot of fun. Head to St. Peter High School to catch The Mankato Ballet Company’s presentation of Sleeping Beauty. Based on the classic ballet but with a twist, this show will include tap, jazz and modern dance. This performance includes dancers ages three and up, and the show begins at noon.

The 507 in Mankato will have Ocho performing live music during brunch, 11 a.m to 2 p.m., with $3 screwdrivers, May Mimosa Flights, Build-Your-Own-Bloody, and more. The unWINEd series continues at Chankaska Creek Ranch and Winery, with Crista Bohlman picking up the guitar, fiddle and Ukulele to accompany herself for an eclectic performance of rock, country, folk and bluegrass. This event is FREE, and all are welcome. Then the Mankato Brewery will wrap up their May Food Saturdays with Pharaoh’s Gryo’s. Enjoy good food paired with good local brews. Mankato Brewery will also have a Brewery Tour from 3 to 4 p.m. with space for up to 12 guests.

Becky Borneke and In a Bind will play Indian Island Winery in Janesville from 5:30-8:30 p.m. The Ditch Creek Dixies will perform at the Westwood Marina Bar and Grill on Lake Washington starting at 6:30 p.m., and Jamboyz will be at the Blue Boat from 7-9:30 p.m. The Blue Moon Bar and Grill in Kasota will have a full lineup of musicians from 8 to midnight. There’s no cover to listen to the music, but you must be 21+ to enter the bar.


In case you missed it: the scavenger hunt continues with the North Mankato Taylor Library. The hunt will be available through June 4th, with prizes available for correct answers. Plus, you can still enjoy the Memorial Weekend Celebration with Family Fun Shows at the River Hills Mall. Rides, games and stands will be set up outside of Barnes and Noble from noon to 10:30 p.m.

Want some live music for your Sunday afternoon? Killintime will be playing at the Landing on Madison from 3-6 p.m., and Colby Straka will be at the Westwood Marina Bar and Grill from 6:30-9:30 p.m.

Bonus: Salute with Sweets

Out of curiosity, I checked to see if anyone else happened to celebrate with Oreos on Memorial Day. What I found was this blog of 14 Patriotic Memorial Day Desserts. It includes brownie kebabs, star-spangled pies, and yes, even some dipped Moment of Remembrance Oreos. So if you want to add a little sweetness to a sometimes difficult day, check out these recipes.


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.