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Wabasha-Kellogg reels 'em in with SeptOberfest

Carolynn Klees and her daughter, Maggie Klees, check the arrangements of plastic flowers at one of the many SeptOberfest displays throughout the Wabasha-Kellogg area. The festival runs Friday through Oct. 25.

SeptOberfest , the grand celebration of fall in the Wabasha-Kellogg area, starts with Kellogg's Watermelon Festival this weekend and goes through Oct. 25. It has grown substantially since its inception in 2008.

Ed McBride, executive director of the Wabasha-Kellogg Area Chamber of Commerce & Convention Visitors Bureau, has this to say about the celebration:

How big has it become?

At first, it was mostly weekends, "but now it's much more a part of the week. As it gets going here, it starts taking up the whole week …. We've just become a huge destination during this event, we are becoming a regional destination." There isn't much going on in fall in other places. "Everyone comes to Wabasha during SeptOberfest."

How much time goes into planning and putting it on ?


They have about 100 volunteers who will donate 5,000 to 6,000 hours.

Who's the leader behind it all?

"Carolynn Klees, she's the tireless leader of this whole organization"

How much will it cost to take part?

"There is a lot of it that is free" such as the parade, listening to entertainers and Bugsville along the Mississippi River.

What is the purpose of SeptOberfest?

First, it brings the towns together, people and businesses donate time and money.

Second, it's great for business. "Out town swells during this time." It's hard to move around during the Pumpkin Derby in which children decorate pumpkins, put wheels on them and race them down a long ramp. "We do just fine during the summer, but getting people to the city center and downtown is goal for the fall. It extends our summer and helps our businesses."


Third, it might attract more people to move to the area. "You don't live here until you visit here."

What's one of the newest things people will see.

"This year we have street performers, so that is kind of cool, like New Orleans jazz style street performers." There will be musicians, jugglers and balloon makers.

What are some of the most unusual things?

One would be the largest pumpkin and sunflower contest.

What's big for children?

Bugsville along the river is great, it's a course in which children can run through tunnels, toss rings or bean bags, run and skip. Then there is the petting zoo, clowns, s'mores night, family carriage rides and entertainers.

How about adults?


Try the five seasonal boutiques that will be in operation through the festival. And there will be bands playing polkas and other music in the downtown or the stage in the park under the bridge.

Where can I learn more, get the details?

Go to www.wabashamn.org/septoberfest .

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