Sponsored by Wabasha-Kellogg SeptOberfest celebration.
You read that right. For 6 weeks, the river towns of Wabasha and Kellogg celebrate fall with SeptOberfest. From September 9 through October 23, you can enjoy all there is to see and do along these two river towns.
This festival began nine years ago when the National Eagle Center opened, says Carolynn Klees, general manager of AmericInn in Wabasha, one of the festival sponsors. “We started it out small,” she says, “and we decorated up the town.”
While it may have started out small, today’s celebration is anything but. “It just keeps growing. We’ve created a monster!” says Klees. Innumerable events are held throughout the months of September and October, including pumpkin races, carriage and pony rides, a petting zoo, and free concerts.
Of course, there are favorites. Schell’s German Pub Crawl (Sept. 24 this year) is a favorite of adults, but the pumpkin derby, also on Sept. 24, takes the cake for kid’s favorite. Klees explains the event:
“They construct pumpkin-mobiles; they get four wheels, two axels and they put them in the pumpkins. We build a racetrack under the bridge and they race down there.”
Yes, there is a prize for the fastest pumpkin, but there is also one for the best decorated.
And speaking of decorations, there will be plenty of fall decorations to see throughout the towns.
“A lot of people come down to see the displays we do,” says Klees. Each of the ten or so displays changes from year to year. “I love fall and the colors and it’s just neat seeing pumpkins and corn stalks and strawbales [making up] the displays.”
One of the displays this year is Bugsville. Located between the National Eagle Center and the nearby condos, there will be a caterpillar slide made from two black culverts. “Kids can slide down it,” says Klees. “It’s really interactive for kids to participate in.” A good way to see the displays is by riding along the bike trail; the five-mile trail will hit most of them.
Also open during SeptOberfest are the 5 Seasonal Boutiques. Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day, each seasonal boutique offers something unique. Shopping options include Grandpa’s Barn Boutique, The Woodshop Boutique LLC., The Attic Boutique, The Anderson House Boutique and Proud Bridgeside Boutique. As referenced in the name, these boutiques are only open seasonally and as such, draw a crowd. “We’re putting 20,000 people though them through the six weeks,” notes Klees.
There is so much to do, you may need to come back multiple weekends. And because the event is donation-based, you pay what you want/can afford and have access to a huge range of things to do.
“There’s so much [to do] I don’t know what you highlight over one other thing,” says Klees. “They’re all well-attended, it’s great family fun.”
If you go
When: September 9 through October 23
Where: Wabasha and Kellogg
Admission: Free, donations accepted