Cat and Catnip
Cat and Catnip

By Molly Butler

This week was my cat Ricky’s birthday. Maybe. I think. It’s hard to say, as I found him on the road last year, but he was about three weeks old when I found him, and that was right after Halloween. So, we threw a little birthday party. There was catnip, toys, treats and even a pet-safe wheat grass garden to plant. It was the epitome of silly. I think we needed that.

There’s a lot of uncertainty in our lives: in our elections, our jobs, our relationships, our health. Winter is coming, sure to be long, and the seasonal woes will be compounded by Covid-19. It can be overwhelming. With so many reasons to worry, some silliness is necessary to stay well. So, this weekend, let’s make room for something silly.


Some alphabetical animals are sure to make you smile. This is your last weekend to check out Dinah Langsjøen’s exhibit, Nostaligia in Nature, at the 410 Project. Enjoy these beautiful watercolors of creatures, flowers and Midwestern birds, with originals available for sale and prints available at the Union Market Mankato.

Let yourself be entertained! The American love rock musical, “Hair,” is showing at Ted Paul Theatre in Mankato. The MSU Mankato Department of Theatre & Dance will be performing this show through Oct. 25, with tickets available here. Then, the St. Peter Public Library is showing “The Addams Family” at 8 p.m. This free drive-in event will play audio through an FM transmitter, so you can watch while staying warm in your car. Bring blankets and snacks!

Envisioning a positive winter is the first step to staying well through the season.


You’re never too old or new to play some games. Atlantis Hobby has activities all day long! There will be Pokemon and Star Wars X-Wing free plays from noon to 4 p.m. and then a free Keyforge learn and play from 4-7 p.m. Atlantis Hobby is located on Front Street, and the friendly staff is happy to help beginners learn to play.

The North Mankato Taylor Library is putting on a Jack-o-Lantern walk at Bluff Park starting at 6 p.m. Enjoy the beautiful walk, creative pumpkins and a fall food stand. I just took a bike ride through Bluff Park with my mom, and the trees are exquisite, so don’t miss out on this once-in-a-fall opportunity.

Then we have live music all over town! The Hootenanny Annies play at Indian Island Winery starting at 5:30 p.m., and Another Time Around will provide tunes for the Loose Moose and Flask patios starting at 6 p.m. Meanwhile, Chankaska Creek Winery hosts Tim Cheesebrow for its Un-WINE-D series. Enjoy Cheesebrow’s capo-wizardry and percussive guitar work, starting at 6 p.m. Or catch the incredible vocals in Mankato Playhouse’s musical, “The Last Five Years,” with optional dinner at 6 p.m. and show at 7:30 p.m.


Enjoy some retail therapy and get a jump-start on your holiday shopping. The Arts Center of St. Peter has transformed its formerly one-day Holiday Fare event into an 11-week Holiday Market. Oct. 7-25 will feature Prints & Photography. Located at the Arts Center of St. Peter, this ongoing event will feature work of local artists and craftspeople, so shop local and check it out!

Bonus: Prepare and Prevent

If, like me, you’re already worried about some potential winter blues, now is a good time to plan ahead and make sure your winter is a wonderland. If you have a history of experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder, so common in our region, it’s a good idea to invest things like a Vitamin D lamp, exercise equipment and supplies for your favorite hobbies.

While it can often feel like a curse, we are so lucky to live in the age of the internet, with countless online communities and resources. Find a healthy rabbit hole on YouTube to explore your interests or join groups that share your hobbies. Maybe this is the year you put on roller skates for the first time, or delve into creative cooking, or start studying a new language.

Personally, I’m planning on maintaining a winter garden under a grow light, knocking out a few stacks on my reading list and spending lots of time on the rug playing with the critters. Envisioning a positive winter is the first step to staying well through the season.


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.