The 21st annual Minnesota Homegrown Kickoff Music Festival will be May 31 through June 2, at El Rancho Mañana in Stearns County. This three-day outdoor music and camping festival will feature 20 bands from Minnesota that perform bluegrass, old-time stringband, and related genres of acoustic music. Add in the hundreds of amateur pickers on the grounds and the woods will be ringing with fiddles, banjos, and guitars. The annual event is produced by the Minnesota Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Association.
No Man’s Stringband, The Flemming Fold, Moss Piglets, Eelpout Stringers, Hey Lonesome, Blue Yodel #9, No Grass Limit, The Cactus Blossoms, and The Platte Valley Boys are just a few of the many bands scheduled to perform. In addition to the main stage concerts there will be a variety of activities including workshops, a “Jam With The Band” program, open mic in the ranch house, the Gathering Place tent, and plenty of campground jam sessions. It’s a family-friendly event - tickets for teenagers are only $5 for one or all days (including camping) and children age 12 and under are admitted free. You can go for the day or camp for the weekend. For more information about the Minnesota Homegrown Kickoff Music Festival, call (800) 635-3037, or visit www.MinnesotaBluegrass.org.
Fifty years of bringing people and nature together will be celebrated at the park’s environmental center on June 8, beginning at 10 a.m. with a presentation by the Zoomobile, featuring Minnesota wildlife. At 11 a.m., the University of Minnesota’s Raptor Center will present its program on Minnesota’s hawks and owls. Other highlights will include short presentations on park history, a display of wildlife artwork from local schools, ice cream and cake at noon, and plenty of chances to explore the park. Open House day is also National Get Outdoors Day, with free admission to all state parks.
Lake Maria State Park is located in Silver Creek Township on Co. Rd. 111, just north of Co. Rd. 39. For more information, call (763) 878-2325.
Kim Maurer is the new PSE clerk (Postal Support Employee) at the Watkins Post Office. She started in March, and she’s brand-new to the USPS. (Kim had formerly been a phlebotomist for several years.)
Kim joins postmaster Janice Sheets, and rural mail carriers Dennis Loch and Tim Mackedanz (both Watkins carriers), and Laurie Weber and Theresa Booth (both Eden Valley carriers) in the Watkins office.
Friday, May 3, was Kimball postal carrier Larry Schneider’s last day. On Tuesday, May 7, they held a retirement party at Triple R
in Kimball for him. Here, his wife Julie gives him a kiss. When asked what she’ll do with him now that he’s retired, Julie replied, “He will make me supper every night and have it waiting for me when I get home from work.” Larry also will be farming, so he will remain busy. Staff photo by Marguerite Laabs.
Ice or no ice, Minnesota’s walleye and northern pike fishing opener is Saturday, May 11.
Anglers who have traditionally headed north for the first weekend of the season should check ice conditions and the availability of public water accesses and roads leading to them. Good sources of information are bait shops, resorts and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) area offices at www.mndnr.gov/contact/locator.html.