Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Mantorville Fall Festival

We had the most amazing time on the Saturday before Halloween. We took a short drive down Highway 57 to the little township of Mantorville, MN for their annual Fall Festival. To understand and appreciate the charm of this excursion, you must first know that Mantorville is just a tiny speck of a town, consisting of only 500 people or so, down in the Zumbro Valley of SE Minnesota. What it lacks in population it makes up for in atmosphere and attention to the little details.

The residents of this community recognize they have a beautiful location carved out of the surrounding limestone and they use this to full advantage. Some of the oldest buildings in the state are festooned with cornstalks, carved pumpkins, hay bales, squash and Indian corn. There are horse-drawn carriage rides, tractors pulling smiling children on their first hay-rides (with a narrator in period costume telling of the haunted history of the town - which is considerable), games and candy for the kids, hot cider and candied apples for the adults, haunted houses in the basements of mid 1800 era homes, and residents in costumes getting in on the act.

I was in heaven.

The weather could not have been nicer for a late October's eve. A partly cloudy sky gave way to abundant sunshine, and then a pleasant evening of cool, crisp autumn air mixed with the scents of straw and candles burning inside of grinning jack 'o lanterns. I lingered at the car, having to be practically pulled away by my wife - wanting to take just a few more snapshots with the camera (the picture above is one of the last I took just before we left).

I am so smitten with the place that I plan on volunteering my time and Halloween decorating knowledge for next year's festival. At the very least, I shall have a custom scarecrow built for the scarecrow contest. With our huge Halloween party the weekend before (that we went completely over-the-top on account of my wife's sister and family being in attendance) I just didn't have time to build a proper scarecrow that I thought would be up to snuff.

Next year. Yes, already planning next year...

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