Family reunions, high school reunions and town festivals. All great reasons to celebrate. Many held at different times of the year and in different places.
I thought it would be fun to explore some of the celebrations that take place in different areas.
We recently spent some time at one of our favorite places, Cedar Valley Resort in Whalan, Minn. It’s located right on the Root River and the Root River Trail. We load up our bikes and head north, only a little over three hours from the Ames area. It was time for the annual Rhubarb Festival in neighboring town of Lanesboro.
It all starts with the national anthem being sung by none other than the Rhubarb Sisters. Then comes the Rhubarb Run, which is held on the Root River Trail. The trail runs through Lanesboro and is beautiful. A rhubarb art show and the rhubarb stalk throw kick off the weekend of fun.
Also included in the weekend festival is rhubarb tasting, a largest leaf contest, a heaviest stalk contest and a fashion show with the articles of clothing made from rhubarb leaves.
And finally, the annual rhubarb golf tournament, played with a rhubarb stalk and ping pong balls.
All this talk about rhubarb makes me hungry for rhubarb pie.
I have a favorite recipe that I have prepared for many years. Nevada’s Jane Rewerts used to make it and bring it to baseball picnics. When the boys played baseball for Nevada High School, many games would take place on Saturdays. Parents, and in this case our bus driver, would supply the food. Jane would make her delicious rhubarb pie. It was so good that my sons didn’t know they were eating rhubarb and loved it. I still make it to this day. In fact I made two, which we included in our silent auction at our gala held in April for Charlie’s Angels. They were purchased for a goodly amount of money and eaten on the spot.
There are some things that you expect from a town celebration — carnival rides and parades. Some towns move their celebrations “outside the box.”
Like the Tomato Fight Festival, which isn’t like the school lunch room food fight, but a celebration held in Spain that all began because of really bad music at a festival. Apparently, those attending started throwing tomatoes at the City Council members because they were upset with the local politicians.
Hmmm…think about that one.
How about the Mud Festival held in South Korea – all things mud related. Come to this festival and take part in mud rich in minerals that prevent wrinkles. Held in July, the festival includes mud baths, mud massages, mud wrestling, mud sculptures and floats made of mud.
While looking into festivals in the United States, I came across some that were listed in the 14 Best Town Festivals in the U.S.
Some that appealed to me included the Elkhart, Ind., Jazz Festival, held each year in June and run by 200 volunteers.
The city of Mackinac Island, Mich., holds a ten-day Lilac Festival, which included a queen, concerts, dancing and a grand parade. Take time to smell the lilacs.
Over Labor Day each year, the Telluride Film Festival is held in Colorado. No one knows what movies will be celebrated, which celebrities will be attending or who will be honored. But heck, it’s in beautiful Colorado and about 3,000 attend each year.
The National Shrimp Festival is held at Gulf Shores, Ala., consisting of some 250 vendors, which forms an outdoor village. The festival is held in October of each year and has some 250,000 attend.
And my favorite, the Wine and Culinary Festival held in Lewiston, N.Y. The two-day festival is held in July each year and consists of sipping wine and sampling food. Not sure that it gets any better than that.
Staying closer to home, town celebrations are taking place almost every weekend. Pick out your favorite and attend, because a lot of work goes into these festivals. Support your towns so that the traditions will continue.
And have a great time!