Events in and around Northfield

Hospital Auxiliary needs books for annual sale

Calling all books!

The Northfield Hospital Auxiliary will begin collecting books Monday, April 2, at the Northfield Ice Arena for the auxiliary’s 46th annual book sale: “The Great Northfield, Minnesota Book Raid.”

Volunteers will be on hand to take your books weekdays from 4 to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through Saturday, April 14. From Monday, April 16 through Friday, April 20, the arena will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The last opportunity to donate will be Saturday, April 21, from 9 a.m. to noon. Magazines or Reader’s Digest condensed books will not be accepted. Local Boy Scouts will also be collecting books at the Econofoods parking lot on Saturday morning, April 7 and 14.

“The Great Northfield, Minn. Book Raid” will run from Tuesday, April 24, through Saturday, April 28. Each year the proceeds from the sale go to projects at the Northfield Hospital and other community health efforts.

If you have questions or would like to volunteer to help with the book fair, please call this year’s co-chairs: Linda Barck, 507-645-0517; Marge Barnes, 507-645-7752, or Mary Schwake, 507-645-5446.

Energy efficiency workshop slated March 29

If you want to do your part to save the planet and save some green at the same time, plan to attend “Building Energy Efficiency 101: Cost-Effective Home Energy Saving Strategies for the 21st Century” Thursday, March 29th from 7 to 9 PM in the Northfield Public Library meeting room.

This will be the first in a series of workshops sponsored by Northfield EnergySmart BuildingWorks, an initiative of RENew Northfield and the Northfield Area Foundation. I am providing staff support for this project as a contractor to RENew Northfield.

Workshop attendees will learn from local builders and other experts how to cost-effectively save energy and money whether you are building a new home or living in a drafty 19th-century Victorian. State-of-the-art building techniques and technologies will be covered, as well as utility and government financial incentives. Case studies on several new homes and older home retrofits will detail the energy efficiency and renewable energy steps taken and actual energy saving results.

Mbele to speak on creating inclusive communities

St. Olaf Associate Professor of English Joseph Mbele will give a public talk, sponsored by the Faribault Diversity Coalition, titled "When Africa Meets Faribault: A Conversation about Culture and Traditions" on Saturday, March 24, from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at Faribault's Buckham Memorial Library in the Great Hall. All ages are welcome and a small lunch will be provided with a suggested $2 donation for food.

Mbele has been part of the diversity coalition for nearly a year, and the group meets regularly to discuss issues and plan special events and programs. The group's mission includes promoting an inclusive community where all are welcome and respected, and working with new residents to mentor them in the life skills needed to become active and integrated participants in the community. For more information on Mbele's talk or the diversity coalition, call the Faribault Welcome Center at 507-333-5036.

Village Market to hold Spring Festival Saturday

Let's welcome Spring and perhaps it will stay, yes?

I attended the Winter Festival last month, despite the heavy snow, and was delighted to find quite a few vendors. We've passed the Spring Equinox so how appropriate to call this Saturday's Market a Spring Festival.

Spring Festival @ Village Market -- Saturday, March 24 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

At the market you can purchase:
Organic eggs, beef, lamb, pork, bison, poultry, pies, tarts, breads and other baked goods, jams, dried beans, yarn and wool products, wildflower and perennial seeds, Lady Slipper plants, magnetic jewelry, eco art, hair beading, and more.

Knights of Columbus host annual Fish Fry

The Northfield Knights of Columbus will host their Annual All You Can Eat Fish Fry on Friday, March 23rd from 5:00 - 8:00 PM in the O'Gara Social Hall at the Church of St. Dominic. The KC Fish Fry has become one of Northfield's best, and the public is invited.

The menu includes Baked or Fried Cod, Salad Bar, Scalloped or Baked Potatoes, Cole Slaw, Vegetables, Bread, Dessert and Beverages.

Cost is $10/adults, $5/Children 6-12, Free/Children under 6.


CVEC classes have a few spaces available

Enrollment for the Cannon Valley Elder Collegium (CVEC) Spring Term (March 26 – May 18) classes is very strong again this spring. However, there are still a few openings in some courses. At this time CVEC will open these classes to anyone in the community and not limit enrollment to only those age 55 and older.  Classes that still have a few openings are: “Sherlock Holmes,” “Romantic Comedy,” “Sustainability: Creating An Agenda,” “Islam Then and Now,” and “Its Only A Theory: The Copernican Revolution.” Course Descriptions, Class Schedules, and Registration Blanks are all available at Copies of the CVEC newsletter with the same information are available at the senior center. Up to date enrollments and course closings are posted on the Web page. Regular tuition is $50 per course and the lecture course on Islam is $20.

In the course, “Its Only a Theory…,” Richard Noer, Carleton Science Professor Emeritus, will help students better understand the present public debate between intelligent design and evolution by examining previous “great debates” in history. Additional description of this course and the others is available on the CVEC web page. You may also contact Director Bill Carlson by phone 507-645-9642 or by email,

Support & Training for Senior Companions

RSVP volunteersThe Senior Companion and RSVP (Retired & Senior Volunteer) programs, in partnership with local agencies and organizations, are offering training sessions for volunteers, age 55 and older, who would like to offer support and friendship to help Rice County elders who may need some help to live independently in the community.

As a friendly visitor, that may include some help with local errands and appointments, you can make a big difference for a neighbor. You can serve anywhere from a couple hours a week to 15 hours a week. Volunteers serving 15 hours a week are eligible to receive a tax-free stipend, and all volunteers receive mileage reimbursement.

A festive weekend!

St. UrhoSt. PatrickI'm neither Finnish nor Irish, but that didn't stop me from getting in the spirit and celebrating both St. Urho's and St. Patrick's days this weekend. You can view photos from both celebrations by clicking the images here.

And if you've got photos of your own celebrations that you'd like to share, send them to and we'll add them to our massive photo galleries. Thanks to Miriam Mueller and Susan Beaumaster who've already added their own St. Pat's pix!

YMCA, city, schools team up to host Healthy Kids Day

In the interest of full disclosure here, I'll start by noting that I am volunteering to help with publicity for this event. But it sounds like a lot of fun and something we'd be happy to write about even if I weren't involved.

And I know it's a little early but this will let you mark the date for one of the first big events for the new Northfield Area Family YMCA. The Y doesn't have a building yet, but its leaders are busy with new ideas.

The event – the first in Northfield – will combine the city’s annual bike safety rodeo with a host of other activities in and around the school. There will be a display of police, fire and ambulance vehicles as well as an emergency helicopter and visits by police dogs, coordinated by Northfield Police, Rice County’s Sheriff’s Department and Northfield Hospital Emergency Medical Services. Key local co-sponsors include the City of Northfield, Northfield Public Schools Community Services and the Healthy Community Initiative, along with dozens of organizations who will offer activities and displays.

John Berquist added to St. Urhos Day lineup

Renowned folklorist and musician to join Friday night festivities at the Eagles Club

I just got word that John Berquist, one of the Upper Midwest’s most respected folklorists, will bring his vocal, instrumental and storytelling talents to Northfield Friday evening as he adds to the already-jam-packed entertainment lineup for the third annual St. Urho's Day celebration at the Eagles Club.

The Eagles fish fry begins at 5:30 p.m., dance instruction with Nordic Jam is at 7:00, and Paul Niemisto will present a short program at 8:00, followed by the headliners, Finn Hall. I'm not sure how John's going to squeeze his way into the lineup, but he says it'll be sometime after 9 p.m. Even St. Urho himself is rumored to be planning an appearance!

St. Olaf to hold lecture on "The Lure of the Roman Arena"

Are you interested in gladiators? Have you ever wondered why the human psyche is drawn to blood sports and violence? What role does it play in culture? Have you ever considered the role of crowd dynamics in human behavior? Why do people act like sheep? Have you read Saint Augustine? How did the arena affect early Christianity? If any of these questions catch your interest, come to Professor Garrett Fagan's lecture:

"The Lure of the Roman Arena: Comparative and Psychological Perspectives."
Sunday March 18th
7:00 - 8:00 pm in Viking Theater, St Olaf College
Free Admission

For more information, please contact Kayla Rasmussen at

Rid the Pain of Winter - March into Spring this Saturday!

Click to view PDFKevin O'Connell, that famous Irish American poet doctor once proclaimed, "The best part about being hit on the head with a hammer is when it stops."  

The pounding pain of winter is over.  I know this because Saturday is St. Patrick's Day, the harbinger of Spring.  No matter your nationality, get out of the house and come downtown to do what needs to be done.  Like St. Patrick ridding the snakes from Ireland, let's march together down Division Street to rid the last of winter from Northfield's community spirit.

On Saturday, gather at Econ O'Foods parking lot at 2 p.m. to partake in something so spontaneous, so light hearted, and so odd that our winter mindset will be magically vanquished for another year ( OK, maybe 7 months).

This is definitely an event for all Northfield citizens of any age or nationality.  We all like to watch a parade, but all of us, especially our kids, love to march in a parade.  To receive candy from a stranger - not so good, but to throw candy to a stranger - what can be more fun!

St. Olaf to host experts on child and teen psychology

Two experts in the moral development and character education of children and adolescents, both psychology professors at the University of Notre Dame, will give public presentations next week at St. Olaf College. Darcia Narvaez, sister of St. Olaf Professor of Spanish Leon Narvaez and director of the Center for Ethical Education at Notre Dame, will speak on "Moral Engagement and Citizenship in a 'Multi-Polar' World" on Wednesday, March 14, at 3:30 p.m. in Holland Hall 501.

On Thursday, March 15, Professor of Psychology Daniel Lapsley will give a public address on "Citizenship in the Ethical Community." The talk will be at 7 p.m. in Viking Theater, lower level of Buntrock Commons.

Written by Amy Gage 

Prominent journalist from India to speak at St. Olaf

One of India's leading journalists will visit St. Olaf on March 12 and 13 to help students and Northfielders learn more about her country -- the world's largest democracy whose booming economy is bringing its 1.1 billion citizens both prosperity and problems, Western-style.

Seline Damayanthi Augustine is chief sub editor of The Hindu, the largest English-language daily newspaper in India.

On Tuesday at 3:30 p.m., she will deliver a public lecture on "Contemporary Journalistic Issues in Pluralistic India." Her talk will be held in the Viking Theater of Buntrock Commons, and the Northfield community is invited to attend.

Written by Amy Gage 

To read more about Augustine visit the St. Olaf Website.

Note: Seline Damayanthi Augustine lectured in one of my classes today and all that she had to say was very intersting.  I would highly suggest hearing her speak.

St. Urho’s Day Celebration & Dance is Friday

I don't know about any of the other couple hundred folks who were at last month's Winter Stomp, but I'm ready to get out on the dance floor again!

I'll have the chance this Friday when the 3rd annual St. Urho's Day celebration comes to the Eagles Club. Don't worry, you don't have to be Finnish to celebrate St. Urho's Day. Similar to the Irish holiday that follows it, everyone is a Finn on St. Urho's Day! And another thing: how long have you lived in Northfield without checking out the Eagles Club? Now's your chance! I recommend coming early for the fish fry, staying for the dance instruction at 7 p.m. and then just making a night of it.

You can check out the photo gallery of last year's festivities to get a taste of what to expect, although I'm betting that we won't have a snowstorm keeping many of the out-of-towners away this year.

Here are the full details for the event:

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