Just an hour northwest of Rochester, you’ll discover a diverse arts and cultural scene in the lively town of Northfield. Brimming with creativity, the artists’ town celebrates fall with an abundance of events.
The 50th Annual Riverfront Fine Arts and Crafts Festival Sept.10–11 showcases artists’ wares as part of the Defeat of Jesse James Days (DJJD). This five-day, family-friendly event stirs up a quite a commotion with its annual bank raid reenactment the weekend after Labor Day, paying tribute to Northfield’s heroic past, while the Northfield Arts Guild Theater’s presentation of Jesse Jane’s Jamboree 5 offers a playful rendition of the Old West.
Check out Riverwalk Market Fair, a weekly Saturday morning artists’ and farmer’s market along the Cannon River, offering a multitude of local goods from oil painting and pottery to roses and rutabagas. Find everything from wool-spinning demos and handmade soaps to sweet honey tastings and lacto-fermented carrot-ginger-kraut!
The Harvest Fall Festival is Oct. 15 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Peruse fine art, pick out pumpkins and squash and add your own artistic touch to a community mural.
Art tour, contra dance
An event that has a Midwest draw is the Studio ArTour of South Central Minnesota. Held Oct. 15–16, the colorful autumn tour weaves through various towns and rural sites in southern Minnesota, visiting 46 artists at 23 studios. From knitting to welding and everything in between, art connoisseurs can meet the artisans and see intriguing demonstrations along the way. A sneak peek of several studios including a dozen artists happens the Friday night before.
Mark your calendar for the Northfield Harvest Stomp, a community spirit-filled contra dance held Oct. 21. It’s like square dancing, but not so square! And you don’t even need a partner as dancers are on the move across the room all evening long. Dance to the music of Cornucopia, a nationally known contra dance band that has a caller signaling moves making it easy for everyone to join in.
Catch the excitement and visit Northfield this fall as the brisk autumn air brings a whirlwind of crowd-pleasing activities you won’t want to miss.
Amy Acheson is an independent communications consultant in Northfield, Minn., specializing in freelance writing and design.