Thursday, July 29, 2010

Stearns County Fair: First Full Day

I walked through part of the Stearns County Fair this afternoon, and took a few photos.

The midway hasn't opened yet, but a few folks are walking through.

Carousel, merry-go-round: whatever you call it, it's a sort of tradition. Also very colorful.

This is a little unusual: being able to see all the way down to the Gravitron.

Exhibit halls to the left, folks selling stuff to the right, and barns in the background. Next stop, the Conservation barn.

Okay, so it's next stop: Folks selling stuff to other folks, and a family with a stroller.

Mule deer in the Conservation barn. The sign says that they're called "mule" deer because of their mule-like ears.

This is a duck. Specifically, a shoveler, or spoon bill duck. If I was a better photographer, you might see that that it's got an oustized bill.

A redhead. Really: That's what they're called. Nothing wrong with the bird's eye, by the way: that's what they look like when they're closed.

And this is what they look like when some guy with a camera clicks his tongue.

Here's what the fair's about, partly: farm equipment.

And more folks selling stuff.

More of what the fair is about: livestock.

Which include poultry and rabbits.

Including this fuzzy specimen.

Farm equipment - the way it was. These were parked along the edge of the fairgrounds by Lake Wobegon Trail.

Farm equipment - the way it is.

Another street of folks selling stuff: quite a few of the vendors here provide food.

And lemonade.

You aren't imagining it: the sign says "UFF-DA TACOS."

The American Legion's beer garden: another tradition.

As I was headed back home, the midway was opening up.

Somebody putting on a show at the Sauk Centre Herald bandstand, folks listening, and a boy having fun with a stick.

The performer's name is Mike Turner. Pretty good singer.

Technical Difficulties

Thursday, July 29, 2010. Sometime around midnight, last night, my household lost our Internet connection. Also phone and cable. I'd just wrapped up Wednesday's entry. That was frustrating. By 1:30 a.m., communications were still out - and I decided it was time to sleep.

Sorry about the delay, getting Wednesday's entry out.

Red Carpet For Sale, Harvest, Stearns County Fair

Wednesday, July 28, 2010. The Red Carpet, downtown, has been a part of Sauk Centre for decades: it was established before I moved here in 1986. Now, someone has an opportunity to take over a Sauk Centre landmark.

The Red Carpet has been there, next to the Palmer House, since before I moved to Sauk Centre back in 1986. July 26, 2010.

Here's a chance for someone to own a Sauk Centre landmark. July 26, 2010.

All I know, at this point, is what I saw in the window: the owner of the Red Carpet is retiring, and the place is for sale.

Driving to Alexandria this afternoon, I saw several fields ready for harvest. And this one, near the tank farm west of town, where harvest was already happening.

Harvest has started on this field, just west of Sauk Centre. July 28, 2010.

Folks have been setting up the midway and getting exhibit spaces ready for the Stearns County Fair.

Stearns County Fairgrounds. July 27, 2010.

One day to go before the fair opens - and a whole lot of activity at the fairgrounds. July 27, 2010.

Stearns County Fair is a fund-raising opportunity for several local groups: like the VFW, with their parking spaces. July 28, 2010.

I plan to see what's happening at the fair tomorrow. And, probably, Friday. Saturday evening I'm scheduled to help at the Knights of Columbus Bingo booth. I've mentioned the VFW in that photo's caption: the Lions are just west of the K. of C. Bingo booth. Or, looking at it another way, K. of C. has their Bingo game in the east side of the Lions' building.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Stearns County Fair This Week, Serenity Studio, Main Street Theatre

Sunday, July 25, 2010. A week from now, the Stearns County Fair will be over. I'm just as glad that I don't have to any of the preparation involved for that.

If I'd taken a closer look at that "Serenity Studio" display in the old drugstore window, downtown, I'd have realized that it was just that: a display. Diane Schmiesing's Serenity Studio ( isn't, quite, there.

She's got some of her work displayed in the window, with contact information printed on a card. Pretty good way of making use of an otherwise-empty storefront, I think.

That big "For Sale" sign is for the store itself. Dian Schmiesing's Serenity Studio phone numbers and an email address are on the smaller card. July 21, 2010.

There's a fairly good range of subjects in the Serenity Studio paintings. July 21, 2010.

Meanwhile, on the other side of Main Street ("The Original Main Street," as it says on the street signs), storefronts south of the Main Street Theatre entrance are boarded up. There's a lot of activity going inside there: I think they're adding an overflow/bad-weather entrance. But then, I thought Serenity Studio had moved in where Winter's drug store used to be: so we'll just have to wait and see.

Sawhorses, ladders: Work in progress on Main Street. July 21, 2010.

The Main Street Theatre folks own those storefronts, where the construction work is happening. July 21, 2010.

I checked the five-day forecast, and see that there's a chance of rain on forecast for Friday. But this is Minnesota, so about all I'm really sure of is that we probably won't have snow.

Another Quick Look at Those Paintings in the Window

You're not going to see much, driving by. From the sidewalk, it's another story. July 21, 2010.

Reflections from the windows - and the glass in the paintings' frames - make viewing a little challenging. July 21, 2010.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sinclair Lewis Days Storm; and Stearns County Fair Coming

Wednesday, July 21, 2010. The weekend storm that interrupted the Sinclair Lewis Days celebration made this week's Sauk Centre Herald front page, naturally enough. Folks living around the north end of Sauk Lake had property damage.

I've heard that people working at Pizza Hut, on south Main, looked up and saw a rotating could. This could have been a lot worse.

Gardens didn't, generally, have warning signs when I was growing up. This makes sense, though, I think. (July 16, 2010))

Stearns County Fairground. It's going to be busy there, soon. (July 19, 2010))

The Stearns County Fair starts a week from today. There's work going on at the fairground, getting things ready.

Electrical work being done, I think, at the Stearns County fairground. (July 20, 2010))

It's a good thing I'd seen the fellow working in an electrical box near the base of the pole on the fairgrounds that has a siren on it. When the siren went off - briefly - two times - this afternoon, I wasn't quite as jumpy as I might have been. My guess is that he was testing the system. I checked the weather, anyway.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sinclair Lewis Days Parade Rained Out; and Serenity Studio

Sunday, July 18, 2010. Sinclair Lewis Days wound up yesterday, but not quite as planned. The Chamber of Commerce ends the week - most years - with the Sinclair Lewis Days parade and then a street dance downtown. Generally, the weather cooperates. This year, not so much.

By late morning, there weren't many empty spots left on the parade along South Ash Street. July 17, 2010.

A little farther north on Ash, same story. July 17, 2010.

South 6th, between Ash and Main: a few more empty spots. July 17, 2010.

Downtown: not on the parade route. I'll get back to Serenity Studio later. July 17, 2010.

Sauk Lake, the public access near the campground. Some folks out, having fun. July 17, 2010.

Same thing, a closer look. July 17, 2010.

Craft show at Sinclair Lewis Park. July 17, 2010.

More craft show, by the band shell. July 17, 2010.

Crazy Days, downtown. July 17, 2010.

More chairs and blankets set out for the parade, on The Original Main Street, between South 6th and 7th. July 17, 2010.

Back on South Ash Street, near Our Lady of the Angels church: yet more chairs and blankets. July 14, 2010.

So far, the day was about as nice as the Chamber of Commerce could have hoped for. Then, a bit after noon, I started paying very close attention to weather reports.

Clouds, looking northwest from the corner of South Ash and Ninth in Sauk Centre. July 17, 2010, about 1:20 p.m. (from "Tornado Sirens, Hail, and a Parade Coming This Evening," Through One Dad's Eye (July 17, 2010))

Around 2:26, I heard sirens and went to the basement with my family. A bit later, I found this hailstone:

Most of the hailstones were around the size of pea gravel. This was the largest I saw. July 17, 2010.
(from "Tornado Sirens, Hail, and a Parade Coming This Evening," Through One Dad's Eye (July 17, 2010))

By 6:00 p.m., our time, the mid-afternoon storm had passed, but another line was coming our way.

(from, used w/o permission)

An hour later, we were getting more rain. The folks who had set chairs, blankets and - in one case - sofas to watch the parade had packed their stuff up and moved on.

(from, used w/o permission)

More about this week's storms:'It could have been worse,' as the Minnesotan saying goes. A lot worse. Saturday's excitement was the second times sirens had gone off for a tornado warning here in Sauk Centre this week. I haven't heard of property damage: but I could have missed something.

Back to Serenity Studio, downtown.

Serenity Studio, where Winter's Drug used to be: the corner of Sinclair Lewis Avenue and Main, downtown Sauk Centre. July 17, 2010.

There's a new business on the corner of Sinclair Lewis and Main: Serenity Studio. It's where Winter's Drug Store was. That storefront has been empty for a long time. (June 4, 2008) I'm glad to see someone moved in there.

Serenity Studio ( has the art of Diane Schmiesing, of Sauk Centre. Some of her work is "done with
the intention of sharing the beauty and the lifestyle" of the people of Migori, Kenya. Which is quite close to Sauk Centre, in one sense.

And that's another topic, for another day.