FOR MANY PEOPLE IN SOUTHEASTERN MINNESOTA, FALL IS A FAVORITE TIME OF THE YEAR. THE LONG, HOT DAYS OF SUMMER GIVE WAY TO AUTUMN’S COOLER TEMPERATURES, THE LEAVES BEGIN TO CHANGE, AND THE SMELL OF WOOD SMOKE AND FRESH APPLES FILL THE AIR. WE ADMIRE THE CHANGE IN SEASONS AND PERHAPS THERE IS NO BETTER WAY TO CELEBRATE THAN AT WABASHA-KELLOGG’S SEPTOBERFEST SEPTEMBER 7 TO OCTOBER 27.
What began in 2007 as a way to add something extra to the grand opening of the National Eagle Center in Wabasha has grown into a seven-week event with hundreds of family-friendly activities, events, unique shopping experiences and more. “This is our biggest event of the year,” says Christina Dawson, executive director of the Wabasha-Kellogg Chamber of Commerce. “It is our opportunity to showcase our community for fall.”
EXPLOSION OF FALL COLOR
Dawson says many people come to SeptOberfest to see the artistic displays of fall splendor sprinkled throughout the city. Crafters, artists and farmers use thousands of pumpkins, cornstalks, flowers, hay bales, gourds and squash to create fun fall scenes along the winding Mississippi River and majestic bluffs of the historic river town of Wabasha.
There are many family-friendly activities—something for everyone—such as pumpkin races, scarecrow contests, train rides, a petting zoo and pony rides. Every Saturday, beginning Sept. 15, there are riverfront carriage rides and musical entertainment under the bridge in Heritage Park.
SEASONAL BOUTIQUE SHOPPING
A “must-do” during SeptOberfest is to stop in and browse the selection of home decor and personal items for sale in the boutiques in the downtown area. In addition to the regular inventory each shop offers, a variety of fall-themed items are added to make fall decorating and holiday shopping a breeze.
Grandpa’s Barn Boutique is located at 128 Second Street West in Wabasha. The gift shop, which is operated by the Wabasha-Kellogg Area Chamber of Commerce, is open in May and during SeptOberfest. The boutique has a selection of home decor, clothing, soaps, kitchen items and more.
One of the newer boutiques in Wabasha is Barton’s Brickhouse Boutique, located in a historic home at the corner of Second Street and Bailey Avenue. Five rooms of the home’s main level are filled with a variety of home decor items, wood crafts, antique furniture, windmills and farm-themed accents. A large selection of linens, aprons, soaps and bath bombs are suitable for gift giving.
The Anderson House Boutique is located within the historic Anderson House Hotel on Wabasha’s Main Street. The wares of approximately a dozen local and regional artisans are for sale in the boutique. Items such as pottery, textiles, jewelry and prints are available at the gift shop, which is open from late February through October.
Opened in 2017, Fifth Grant Boutique is located at 2311 Fifth Grant Boulevard in Wabasha. The boutique’s 50 vendors—both new and returning—have much to offer. Vendors offer wood carvings, pottery, rustic decor, gourmet pet treats, knit clothing, farmhouse furniture, framed artwork and more.
ART ALONG THE RIVERFRONT
Each year, there are a variety of displays along the riverfront. The iron art of Jim Dehne of Point Creek Iron Sculpture in Newton, Wisconsin, will return to SeptOberfest again this year.
Dehne, who has been creating both indoor and outdoor iron art for 16 years, will display his unique sculptures along the riverfront. In recent years, Dehne, has created life-size pieces of horses, moose, buffalo, peacocks—and even a grand piano—all-out of iron rods. He will bring a selection of smaller pieces to Wabasha and will be available to speak with customers about more specialized pieces.
For a complete calendar of events at the 11th annual SeptOberfest, visit wabashamn.org and click on the SeptOberfest icon.
Holly Galbus is a Rochester Freelance writer.