Photo by Don Lipps - Don's Pond in Ney Park, Henderson, MN
Photo by Don Lipps - Don's Pond in Ney Park, Henderson, MN

[Featured Image by Don Lipps – Don’s Pond in Ney Park, Henderson, MN]

By Molly Butler

Fall is a little different this year. It’s been unusually warm, the colors in southern Minnesota have been extra vibrant, and the leaves have hung on longer. Autumn wants to be savored. This year is also different because we are different. The pandemic has disrupted our normal routines, and many people are working remotely, or at odd hours. More have had a chance to get outside and notice what a beautiful day it is.

John Fire Lame Deer, a Lakota medicine man born on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, said, “We are moving closer to nature again. We’ll come out of our boxes and rediscover the weather.”

Whether it’s a fall tradition, a childhood memory or even a simple walk in nature, I hope this weekend you rediscover something.

We are moving closer to nature again. We’ll come out of our boxes and rediscover the weather. John Fire Lame Deer


What could be more classic than decorating a pumpkin? Kids can check out a pumpkin at the St. Peter Public Library for their Literary Pumpkin Contest. You have one week to decorate your pumpkin and return it to the library. Check out their event page for more info.

Bluedog Blues Band will put on a 30-minute virtual showcase on the Indigenous People’s Day Mankato Committee Facebook page. This Indigenous blues band has performed all over the country and will bring their music to Mankato from 6-6:30 p.m.

I’ll be rediscovering live theater for the first time in months! The musical “The Last Five Years” debuts at the Mankato Playhouse this Friday, with the optional dinner starting at 6 p.m. and show starting at 7:30 p.m. This unconventionally structured musical is going to be powerful and intimate, sharing the story of two New Yorkers falling in and out of love. Tickets are available here.


Carlson’s Llovable Llamas are coming to town for a Llama Adventure at the Children’s Museum. They’ll be offering 20-minute sessions outdoors from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. They’ll also be sharing their Laying Hens Animal Experience from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. with a variety of laying hens and some very fresh eggs. Or you can enjoy the Pumpkin Party (formerly known as the Harvest Hustle and Harvest Celebration) at Farmamerica in Waseca. Bask in the fall weather, get lost in the corn maze and trick-or-treat around the historical sites. Pick-your-own-pumpkin is free with admission. Tickets are available here. Then, it’s Oktoberfest on the Wine Café patio starting at 4 p.m., featuring giant pretzels, brat flights and, obviously, beer.

This strange year has helped us rediscover the joy of a classic drive-in movie. Hosted by the North Mankato Taylor Library and showing at the North Mankato Fire Station on Howard Drive, the showing starts at dusk. The film will be either “Casper” or “Coco,” depending on who gets the most Facebook votes!


The Wine Café will host another Art Pop-up on the patio, featuring Max Adams, Tyler Smith and Shelley Caldwell. Enjoy local art while sipping a hot cider beverage. Then continue the Indigenous People’s Day celebration with the Facebook Watch Party of “The Canary Effect.” Sunday is also going to be another gorgeous and warm day, so get a hike in while you still can!

Bonus: Indigenous People’s Day

Monday is Indigenous People’s Day. I write this from the site of the largest mass hanging in the United States, the place where 38 Dakota warriors were executed in 1862. Earlier this week, the EPA stripped 38 tribes in Oklahoma of their sovereignty over environmental issues. To pretend these issues are part of the past is to deny ourselves a better future. Education, support and policy changes are all necessary.

Love is something that you can leave behind you when you die. It’s that powerful. John Fire Lame Deer

Rediscovering our country’s history, our relationships and our path forward can begin with you. Here are a few resources to explore this weekend:

I hope you will take these into consideration, not with guilt or indifference, but with curiosity and love. As John Fire Lame Deer said, “Love is something that you can leave behind you when you die. It’s that powerful.”


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.