Events in and around Northfield

Weekend Entertainment and Events

Click to view PDFSummer is here in full force, so get out and enjoy it!

On a beautiful day there is nothing like outdoor baseball, and you don't have to wait for a new stadium! The Dundas Dukes are sponsoring a baseball tournament at Memorial Field in Dundas this weekend. The Dukes, the Dukes over-35 team and the Northfield Knights will all be playing.

The rest of the weekend's details are inside...

Locals play cowboy at Wild West Roundup

Crazy CoraWhether your view of the old West was shaped by Jesse James, Roy Rogers or the boys of "Deadwood," you have to admit there's a certain draw to the fantasy of life on the frontier.

Now you can be part of that life, at least for a weekend, at the Wild West Roundup, June 10 and 11, at the Rice County Steam & Gas Engine Grounds grounds in Dundas. From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, you can take a trip back in time to the Old West. There modern day folks will take on roles as cowhands, blacksmiths, gunslingers and barmaids. Click to visit the websiteThe event also will be a homecoming celebration for our own James-Younger Gang, the bank-robbing reenactors who keep Northfield's history alive. The troupe is performing its signature show on a two-week tour of Germany, a country wild about our West. The boys return just in time for the Roundup, which will kick off the area's reenactment season.

"What we're going to try to do is make this the Rennaissance Fair of the Old West in Minnesota." says Jody Greenslade, better known among reenactors as Crazy Cora (pictured in character above). "Pretty soon people will be coming to the Roundup instead of going to all those other events."

Fishing class? Now that's summer school!

Editor's note: Summer school often means more work. But here's a class in fishing that sounds like a heck of a way to start summer vacation.

You can enroll your child, grandchild or scout troop in a fun, active, four-hour session for children ages 6 to 11. Professionals and trained volunteers from the Minnesota DNR MinnAqua Program will teach children the basics of fishing and the importance of protecting healthy aquatic habitats.

As they move from station to station, the children create their own fishing equipment, learn about regulations, identify fish, practice casting and try their hand at fishing. This lifelong activity connects kids to their local environment!

The class will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, June 13. Registration cost is $2 for members, $4 for non-members. Reservation deadline is June 9. Children must be accompanied by adults. Location is Lampert Lodge, The Science Center at Maltby Nature Preserve, 789 Sciota Trail East, Randolph, MN 55065. Phone: 507-664-0770; email: See for a map to the center.

Take a Walk in the Big Woods

Hidden FallsFor those who are creatures of habit, the DNR suggests a change of pace and the encouragement to try something new during Minnesota state park’s annual free open house day on June 4.

“Each year the public is invited to visit state parks for free on the first Sunday in June,” said Courtland Nelson, director of DNR Parks and Recreation Division. “There’s probably no better time to try something new than when it won’t cost you anything. We hope that visitors will take this opportunity to visit a different park, try a new activity, hike a special trail or find out something new about their favorite park.”

The Nerstrand-Big Woods State Park is located just minutes from Northfield and has over 14 miles of hiking trails. I've attached a map of the park so you can find your way to the beautiful Hidden Falls (pictured). So why not take advantage of the DNR’s open house this Sunday and take a walk in the Big Woods!

Vintage Band Festival needs help

Paul NiemistoSummer often is a slow time for academics, but Paul Niemesto is heading into one of the busiest summers of his life. It's the culmination of months of mixing his academic skills with those of an event planner, travel agent and public relations guru.

Paul, the director and founder of the Cannon Valley Regional Orchestra, a member of Ameriikan Poijat and a professor of music at St. Olaf College, has invited scholars from around the world and 15 vintage bands from the United States, Sweden, Germany and Canada. They'll hold a conference, but they also will take the whole town back in time to the late 1800s and early 1900s, when brass bands played the parks of the world. This time, however, they'll all be playing 40 free concerts throughout Northfield July 27-30. Sure, it seems early to talk about the festival, but Paul has been working for months, and he needs help to pull it all off.

"We need money," he says. "We need volunteers. We need folks to help welcome these bands to Northfield."

Downtowners mix business and pleasure

We're a little late in getting to this, but we wanted to share our appreciation for the fun and conversation at the Northfield Downtown Developments Corp.'s mixer last Thursday. For a business organization, these people sure know how to have a good time! And the upper deck tucked behind the lobby of the Archer House is one of the hidden treasures of the downtown.

NCO board chairman Doug Bratland and I also want to thank Rob Schanilec for the great photos. The only catch is that he was taking pictures while we were talking, so there are a few names we didn't get. Doug knows that the picture above includes Dan Freeman, and Sue and Bart de Malignon. Please feel free to check out the whole gallery and point out our sins of omission. If you find your own face and identify it, I'll buy you an adult beverage at the next mixer!

Carleton to honor two at June 10 commencement

Stephen P. HubbellLila Abu-Lughod
Carleton College will award honorary degrees at Commencement exercises on Saturday, June 10 to Stephen P. Hubbell ’63, botany professor at the University of Georgia, and Lila Abu-Lughod ’74, professor of anthropology and women’s and gender studies at Columbia University. 

Stephen P. Hubbell, a 1963 Carleton graduate, is an internationally known ecologist whose research is on tropical rainforests and in theoretical ecology. He has published three books and more than 100 scientific papers on tropical planet ecology, plant-animal interactions and theoretical ecology. He is founder and chair of the National Council for Science and the Environment, a national organization with more than 10,000 members and more than 200 universities and professional societies, with the mission of improving the science underlying environmental decision-making.

St. Olaf Class of '06 heads into history

Fun Facts about St. Olaf grads

If you want to hear about all the commencement speeches and know all the reunion details, you can check out the official website.

If you don't want that much info, here are some highlights for trivia fans, with many thanks to Tom Vogel...

Hundreds join in Memorial Day tribute

SFC Kory WeichThe new Northfield Area Veterans Memorial proved a fitting setting for a solemn ceremony this morning marking the service of veterans from Northfield and throughout the country.

Hundreds of people gathered on bleachers and chairs and spread through the grass, facing the morning sun as it rose behind the memorial, which features a bronze soldier flanked by stone tablets listing the names of his fallen comrades.

"It was just beautiful, very meaningful," said Barbara Knaak, whose husband, John Knaak, was a Korean War veteran who died last fall.

There were familiar songs and speeches, but the crowd rose to its feet when SFC Kory Weich, a veteran of the current war in Iraq, finished his remarks.  

"Great speech," said Jim Knowles, asking for a copy. Jim was one of many who came up to speak with Weich after the service. A Northfield native, Jim is a U.S. Air Force veteran who served in Iraq about the same time as Kory. Jim, who was commander of a trauma hospital there, retired from the service and now has a private surgical practice in Ohio.

Editor's note: I can't do justice to Kory's words, so I've included them in their entirety at the end of this post.

Oles of all ages share the biggest party of the year

Here are a few photos taken before and during the progression of the reunion classes this morning at St. Olaf College. We thank Tom Vogel (Communications Specialist for the college) for taking time from a truly hectic weekend of commencement and class reunions to share them with us. You can check out the full story about the weekend and links in an entry below.

Tom also told us there are 17 local students graduating, so proud parents, get out your cameras and send some pictures. Just e-mail them to with names and info and we'll do the rest.

Read the rest of the entry to view the photos and captions.

Cannon River Rendezvous Returns

Editor's Note: The Cannon River Rendezvous begins this morning. If you head out to the event, please take a few minutes to email us your photos with a few words about the experience!

The Science Center at Maltby Nature Preserve is pleased to present this year’s Cannon River Rendezvous, FREE and open to the public!

The 4th Annual Cannon River Rendezvous will take place over Memorial Day weekend, May 27-29, at The Science Center at Maltby Nature Preserve in Stanton Township. Sponsored by the Twin City Muzzle Loading Club, the Cannon River Rendezvous takes you back in time to a tradition of long ago, recreating the everyday life of French fur trappers, traders and early settlers in the early 1800s.

St. Olaf holds Commencement, Seminars and Concerts

By Cate Grochala '06

click to enlargeCommencement is the culminating event of St. Olaf College's Celebration Weekend 2006—three days of events that begin today, May 26. The weekend will feature three learning seminars and three concerts, all of which are open to the public.

Commencement (open to the public if held outdoors at Manitou Field) will begin at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 28. This year's commencement speaker is Peter Agre, recipient of the 2003 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Raised in Northfield, where his father was on the faculty at St. Olaf College, Agre went on to a successful career in medical research. In 1991 he discovered the channels that regulate the transport of water through cells, research that has led to a better understanding of many medical conditions and the Nobel Prize. Currently, Agre is vice chancellor for science and technology at Duke University Medical Center.

St. Olaf senior Breanna Peterson, who plans to continue her studies in nursing and public health at Emory University in the fall, will be the student speaker.

A public baccalaureate worship service will precede Commencement on Sunday at 9 a.m. in Skoglund Center Auditorium.

Read the rest of the story for more commencement events...

Weekend Entertainment and Events

Click to view PDFI know it's a long weekend, and you're thinking of leaving town, but you really should stay. There's a lot to do right here, and besides...your friends are here! A quick look at the Northfield Entertainment Guide (you can download it here or pick up a Guide at key spots around town) will tell you all you need to know.

Read the rest of this entry for the full scoop...

Policy and Picnic...What a Combo!

Reminder: this event is TODAY.

Steve MorseThe public is invited to hear about gains for environmental quality achieved during the 2006 Minnesota Legislative session. Steve Morse, Executive Director of Minnesota Environmental Partnership (MEP), will address the topic and answer questions from 4-5:30 p.m., Thursday, May 25, at the Northfield Public Library.

Steve is a former state senator and a former deputy commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Steve was elected to the State Senate the first time in 1986, representing the Winona area. For most of his 12 years in the Senate, he served as chairman of the Senate Environment and Agriculture Budget Division. He served in the DNR from 1999 to 2003.

You're invited to a mixer . . ., it's not one of these mixers, although this may be the more familiar variety during construction season.

It's one of those FUN MIXERS, where you can meet and greet your downtown neighbors and fellow lovers of downtown food, cash bar, plenty of socializing and stimulating conversation, hear the latest news, get motivated to make a difference or just kick back with your friends

The Northfield Downtown Development Corporation is sponsoring this event which will be held at the Tavern Lounge in the Archer House on Thursday, May 25, from 5 to 7 pm. Meet members of our Board of Directors, tell us what you really think and share whatever gossip you’ve heard. This event is free and open to the public.

Questions? Call 663-0319 for more info.

Dan Bergeson is president of the NDDC.

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