Rustic Country Road

By Molly Butler

Even mundane things become so interesting when you’re on the road.

In a different house, a new city, another country, anything and everything can carry some intrigue. It’s all so real, more real than the usual ordinary life back home. The traveler is so alert and alive. I’m sure you remember it: studying a map, laying under a strange blanket, the taste of unfamiliar food on your tongue.

And what you slowly come to realize, as you wander to new places, is that your place is also new and strange. The feeling fades so quickly upon returning, but there is a brief moment, when you first get back from a trip, while your bag is still packed, before your muscle memory realizes where you are and before you move about your home and its activities without awareness, coffee mug placed here, shoes here, toothbrush there, that you can see your own home with a traveler’s eyes. What a strange place. Who lives here?

Step away from the known. Open your eyes and see it all as strange and interesting.

Your life, as comfortable or tidy or routine as you may keep it, is not inevitable or fixed. It can change; you can change it, really, whenever. You may not realize it, but you are always a traveler. Time is always taking you forward, and if all your days look the same, they blur together. If you want to get the most of your time, stretch it out. Step away from the known. Open your eyes and see it all as strange and interesting.

You’re going somewhere. Safe travels!


The First Fridays Speaker Series at First Presbyterian Church of Mankato will present Homelessness in Mankato: Stories, Challenges, and a Call to Action. Co-founders and directors of the Connections Ministry, Rev. Erica Koser and Rev. Collette Broady Grund, will discuss homelessness in Mankato to dispel stereotypes, raise awareness and provide concrete paths to create lasting impact. This event is FREE and open to the public. It will also be streamed live on the church’s Facebook page. The talk will take place from noon to 1 p.m.

The Carnegie Art Center presents Carnegie Unhinged: Living Rhythms, an interactive community installation that celebrates non-verbal creativity. The Mankato MakerSpace is collaborating with the project and will be showing 2D work and sculpture. Stop by the Carnegie Arts Center this Friday from 1-4 p.m. to check it out.

The Coffee Hag in Old Town Mankato will host another Open Mic! Come by from 5-7 p.m. to enjoy local talent or get on stage yourself! These events are super friendly and supportive, so don’t be shy! From there, you can head over to the Loose Moose Saloon for the kickoff of Mankato Pride, with Queeraoke starting at 7:30 p.m.


It’s that time of year! Pumpkin Junction is back at Blue Sky Farms in Good Thunder! Stop by from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for kids’ games, farm activities, concessions, hayrides and more! Admission is FREE!

Join Drew’s Crew with a 5k Colorfest Run/Walk! This fundraiser is for Drew Aufderheide, who is suffering from an incurable form of leukemia, and will take place at Harman Park in New Ulm with lunch available from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and a live auction, as well! Saturday is also your last chance to check out Selfhood at the 410 Project in Mankato! The gallery will be open from 2-6 p.m.

Dog lovers: head to Pet Expo in Mankato for their Puppy Palooza! From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., they will have food, vendors, games, adoptable dogs and more! The Pelican Food Truck will be available, and don’t forget to bring along your pup for photos!

Mankato Pride weekend continues with the Jessica Flatequal Pride Parade on Riverfront Drive, beginning at 11:30 a.m. Head to Riverfront Park from noon to 5 p.m. for the Pride Festival. Admission is FREE! Then head to Rounders Bar at 6 p.m. for their Pride Party, an 18+ event with dancing, a DJ and a private room reserved.

Stomp your feet! Indian Island Winery is hosting another Grape Stomp and Beer Fest, with live music, samples, drinks and snacks. The party starts at noon! You can catch Ben Scruggs performing at MonaLena in New Ulm from 5-7 p.m. and Nate Boots at Javens Family Vineyard and Winery in Mankato from 5-8 p.m. Don’t miss the Blue Skunk Punks, Mols, and Mac&Chz at the What’s Up Lounge in Mankato, beginning at 8 p.m.


First Presbyterian Church of Mankato will have its Fall Fest this Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Stop by for food trucks, children’s activities, live music and more! Pumpkin Junction at Blue Sky Farms will be open from noon to 5 p.m.

The Rock Bend Folk Festival is a FREE, all-ages music festival celebrating the area’s original arts and crafts and musicians. Enjoy food and fun; bring your own lawn chair and cooler. Check out the schedule here!

Mankato Pride wraps up this Sunday with a Youth Party at the WowZone VIP Room. Admission is FREE, so come join the fun!

Bonus: Stay & Getaway

Most of us don’t have an endless supply of money and P.T.O. to be jetting off to popular, exotic lands all that often. There are ways to get into the adventurous spirit without costing a ton:

  • Try a new cuisine
  • Read a book (especially genres you’re unfamiliar with)
  • Take a virtual tour
  • Camping! Set up the tent in the backyard or use Free Campsites to find a free place to set up nearby.
  • Take a class
  • Do the touristy stuff in your town
  • Attend one of the many fabulous events listed on MankatoLIFE!


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.