More small town experiences.
Trip Start Mar 04, 2005
253Trip End Dec 31, 2014
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The festival was being held at what had begun as a family farm. Over the last decade the Minnesota Finnish-American Historical Society has been working dililgently to turn this farm into an open air museum. The festival is the big event of the year and it featured entertainment, demonstrations, food, crafts and an antique tractor pull.
My paternal great-grandfather immigrated from Finland in the late 1800's. He settled in Joliet Illinois and worked in the steel industry. About as different from being a farmer in Minnesota as you can get, but I still felt a strong connection with these hard working Finns. Spending time on this old Finnish farm and learning how they lived, how they still live for that matter, made me wish that I had a stronger connection with my heritage.
After several hours at the festival we headed down the road. We had plotted out another 'circle tour' so that we could see some more of the area's attractions while not backtracking. This part of Minnesota is full of small towns - average population about 400, if I had to guess. A lot of these small towns have put up statues of something that they claim to be 'the largest in the World' in order to get you to visit. It worked, as you will see when you check out the pictures!!
We also made a stop at Phelps Mill County Park. In the late 1880's and on into the 1920's, Minnesota was full of these types of mills. They were used to process wheat into flour. One estimate has it that there were well over 100 mills just in this part of Minnesota. Phelps Mill is the only one that remains. It is a very impressive structure and unlike any mill we've visited before - don't miss the photos, we've included lots of information in them.
So there you have it. Our planned day off turned into a very worthwhile sightseeing day. It always amazes us what you can find to do out here on the road. Oh, one last thing. Ken and I are both sunburned - we look like we spent a day out on the beach when what we really did was spend several hours at an antique tractor pull. How fun is that?
As a side note, we have been running the heater at night as temps are in the low 40's. Parts of Minnesota are under frost warnings. Any body from CA or AZ want to send some of your hot weather our way?