We’re clinging to the fleeting moments of summer, but there’s no doubt about it, fall is in the air. While these summer months have brought so much fun, fame, and fresh new faces to Lake City, there’s something about the autumn months that make this area truly special. Whether you enjoy a quiet crisp morning on the river or twisting your way through bluffs on county roads or hugging Lake Pepin on Highway 61, you can’t beat Lake City for amazing colors and vistas. We’re a place where families can find fun, treats, and gifts at Pepin Heights, experience fantastic art at LCAA, explore the shops and restaurants in downtown, and hike to the heart’s content at Hok Si La and Frontenac parks. And now, for its second year, Fall Fest is back with an October filled with exciting events.
First, I’d like to say a quick word about the Fall Fest committee. These folks have really knocked it out of the park with the planning of this year’s events. You thought that Fall Fest was fun last year? Well, this group of local citizens have clearly turned the dial to 11 in 2022.
What to expect this year? Well, to kick things off there will be a Kids Fun Zone opening party in Patton Park on Saturday, September 24th, complete with a Jr. Royalty Coronation and a kid’s parade, Johnny Appleseed is going downtown, Touch a Truck returns, there’s Bunco, Bingo, and a Meat Raffle at Port 104, the Rotary’s beloved Beer, Wine, and Spirits Tasting is back, a new Fall Fest fundraiser lunch at the VFW is planned, and the Haunted Hok Si La Trail is getting bigger, better, and oh so scarier!
While Fall Fest is, at its heart, a community-wide endeavor with multiple organizations adding both new and established events to the lineup, we at the Chamber are particularly excited to tell you about the event we are tasked with curating and organizing… Johnny Appleseed Days!
While last year was really special under the canopy of Patton Park trees, this year, we decided to bring the event downtown and throw Lake City a good old fashioned block party on October 1st and 2nd. All the things you loved about last year’s reboot will be back: tons of live music, dozens of vendors including your favorite Junk Crush booths, food trucks, a petting zoo, a pie eating contest, and fun activities for the kids. However, this year we are super excited to involve our downtown retailers, pubs, and restaurants.
There are a few new things to know about this year’s Johnny Appleseed Days. As just stated, this year we’ll be downtown. We’ll have Washington St blocked off between the VFW (Alliance Bank drive through will still be accessible) and Center, and Lyon will be closed between Washington and Franklin. The streets will be lined with vendors, and we encourage downtown businesses to set up sidewalk sales and fall displays. If you are a Chamber Member and your Lake City based brick and mortar business isn’t within the block party area, no worries, we’ve got you covered! Give us a call at 651.345.4123 or send Elizabeth an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how we can help bring your shop to the event!
We’ve also changed up how to get your beverages at Johnny Appleseed Days. We chose to move Johnny downtown because we wanted to support city center businesses, so this year, The VFW, Port 104, and The Old Bank will serve as the watering holes for the event. When you donate a small sum to receive a festival cup, you can get what you like, where you like, and take your beverage out into the fair. These cups are reusable and will be required if you leave the pubs with a drink.
Now, just a little about the programming…
Saturday we will have a full day of awesome regional talent under the tent on Lyon Ave, beginning at 11am with the Lincoln High Jazz Band! We’ll continue with Matt Marek, Joel Ward, AnimalHead, Jackie Treehorn and the Malibu Sheriffs, and close out the day with the one and only Texas Toast. Street vendors will be selling their wares from 10am to 7pm.
Sunday, acclaimed blues musician Mike Munson will be kicking things off from 11am-1pm and then music will move to the VFW stage with Connie and Dan. While the VFW is hosting the tunes, from 1-4 we will be having Kids Day under the big tent. There will be hands on art and learning activities, a petting zoo, the Lake City Fresh Market Pie Eating Contest, and a show by Dr. Bob’s Puppets! Vendors will be set up on Sunday from 10am-5pm.
We also encourage folks to stop by the adjacent events going on around Lake City that weekend. On Saturday, The Knights of Columbus will be holding their Pancake Breakfast at St. Mary’s of the Lake Church from 8-11am, the Auxiliary will have pie and ice cream from 12-3pm at the VFW, and the Cub Scouts will be having a ‘Rain Gutter Regatta’ at the Patton Park fountain from 9am to 2pm. On Saturday and Sunday from 9am-4pm the Friends of the Library will be having a book sale at the old public safety building across from the firehouse. Of course, we want to see our local businesses thrive during this event as well. This is a great opportunity to shop hop around downtown too!
Speaking of our local businesses, I want to give a shout out to Jil Garry at Treats and Treasures who has been instrumental in helping us bring this event downtown. Not only did she plant the seeds for the block party concept months ago, but she also led a fundraising effort of the downtown establishments to help pay for the costs of the entertainment. From the bottom of our hearts, we want to thank Jil and the downtown businesses for all your generosity, help, and support of this event.
Elizabeth and I hope to see you out and about at all the great Fall Fest events. We are excited for all the fun that’s in store for Lake City and heartened to see the community working together to bring us together!