Without Trails

Taste of the Trail travels through Minnesota


Taste of the Trail is back and better than ever in 2021. The annual event will take place three consecutive weekends from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. beginning Sept. 11, with host communities along the Root River Trail in southern Minnesota. 
Each town will give participants a “taste” of what makes the area special.

Lanesboro, Peterson and Whalan
Lanesboro’s events kick off Friday, Sept. 10 at 6 p.m. at the Rhythms on the Root Live Music Series featuring Pieta Brown at Gateway Park. Saturday begins with the farmers’ market at Sylvan Park from 9 a.m. to noon. Coffee Street will host local vendors, authors Steve Harris and Barb Jeffers, Lanesboro Arts kids’ activities, food and drinks from Old Village Hall and the Root River Saloon and more. Slippin’ Jimmy’s and guests will perform during the event. That night, Mike Munson will perform at the High Court Pub, and the Commonweal Theatre will perform “Come Back” at 7:30 p.m.
Peterson will have a full slate of activities. Music by Cat and the Fiddle will play all four hours. There will be food available, including Kristin’s famous pies from Burdey’s Cafe and smoked brisket from the Driftless Trading Post. The Peterson Legion is planning a Taste of the Fall event while Featherstone Farms is hosting the farmer’s market. Peterson’s eight-and-a-half foot gnomes (nisse) Gunnar and Gustav will be available for photo opportunities. 
“Taste of the Trail invites people to experience our historic bandstand – often used for popular music events each summer – introduces them to Burdey’s homemade pies that are unbelievably creative, is a chance for our legion to be creative with some kind of fall beverage, will introduce guests to our new restaurant,  The Driftless Trading Post, serving only locally-sourced foods while also selling frozen meat and fish and renting canoes, tubes, and kayaks,” said Friends of Peterson member Gail Barnard-Boyum.
In the community of Whalan, there will be free samples of Norwegian favorites like Lefse and Rommegrot, as well as live music by Matt and Brenda Stier. Locally-produced merchandise will be available. According to Whalan representative Wes Harding, someone from Sustainable Driftless will be on hand to discuss the uniqueness of the bluff country. There will also be a representative from Bluebird Recovery Program of Minnesota on hand.

Chatfield, Fountain, Harmony and Preston 
The second weekend, Saturday, Sept. 18, will feature Chatfield, Fountain, Harmony and Preston. The four communities are partnering for a “keg card.” Those who visit all the breweries and the distillery in Harmony and e-mail a photo of the completed card to one of the city’s Chambers of Commerce will be entered for a chance to win a local package. 
New to the Root River Trail system, Chatfield will have a pop-up market, food samples and music in the city park. City-wide garage sales are also that weekend. Participants are invited to hike the new Bailey loop on the Lost Creek Hiking Trail. The history museum will be open in the public library lower level.
Fountain activities will be at the trailhead/park and will include demonstrations and samples from various businesses. There will also be garage sales. 
Harmony is planning live music, kids activities and sales throughout the downtown business district. 
Preston’s event is happening at the same time as the fall city-wide garage sales and the Bluff Country Tractor Ride. The Preston Public Library and Friends of the Library will be hosting a Preston Rocks rock painting activity from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the library while the Driftless Fly Fishing Co. is having a Fly Fishing 101 course. Sign up for the fly fishing course by calling 507-327-4276. 
The fun continues Saturday night as the Preston Fire Department is having a live band at The Club. 
“This event has been a great way to celebrate our trail towns and the ‘tastes’ that we each have. This includes food, music, art and more. The weekend is enjoyed by not only lovers of our state trails but community members, too,” said Preston Economic Development and Tourism Director Gabby Kinneberg. “We’ve adapted and changed a few things over the years to make this event work better for our businesses and we’ve been growing the event each year!”

Rushford, Rushford Village and Houston 
The final weekend, Saturday, Sept. 25, will bring people to Rushford and Houston areas.
Events in Rushford start at the Historic Depot/Visitors Center with live music by Travis Oppelt, activities for kids, a book signing by local author Cassie Hungerholt Meyer and a Rushford Fire Department Open House, among other activities. There will also be a map available of other area businesses offering a ‘taste’ of the town.
“The Taste of the Trail event is for the community and our visitors. It’s a time to celebrate the Root River Trail system and the small towns connected by its path,” said Rushford Peterson Valley Chamber of Commerce Coordinator Jennifer Hengel. “We plan the event to bring our community members together and give visitors a ‘taste’ of the life experienced in each of our small towns.”
Houston will be celebrating with a large outdoor block party, taking place behind JT’s Bar & Grill on Cedar Street from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. There will be live music, food and activities in addition to a wine and craft beer tasting later in the day for those over age 21. 



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