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southwestern minnesota Native Prairies

sw mn cities

albert lea, appleton, benson, breckenridge, canby, fairmont, glenwood, granite falls, hanley falls, hutchinson, lake benton, le sueur, litchfield, luverne, mankato, marshall, montevideo, morton, mountain lake, new ulm, ortonville, pipestone, redwood falls, saint peter, walnut grove, waseca, willmar, windom, worthington

calendar of events

(Contact area CVBs for complete calendars) august

6-9 11-17 22-23 22-23 5-6 6-7 6-7 12-13 13 13 17-20 18-20 19-21 2-5

Kandiyohi County Fair, Willmar 320-599-4318

Martin County Fair, Fairmont 507-235-9576

47th Annual Corn Days, Sleepy Eye 800-290-0588

Big Island Barbeque, Albert Lea 507-373-2316


Re-enactment of the Capture of the Younger Brothers, Madelia 888-941-7283

Farming of Yesteryear, Albert Lea 800-345-8414

Rock Bend Folk Festival, St. Peter 800-473-3404

34th Annual Arts and Crafts Festival and Taste of Hutchinson, Hutchinson 800-572-6689

King of Trails Marketplace, Lake Benton 507-368-9577

King Turkey Day, Worthington 507-372-2919

The Odd Couple at The Barn Theatre, Willmar 320-235-9500

Hermann’s 2,000th Victory Celebration, New Ulm 888-463-9856

27th Annual Applefest, Appleton 320-289-1527


22nd Annual Big Island Rendezvous and Festival, Albert Lea 800-658-2526

3-4,10-11 Oktoberfest, New Ulm 877-359-2941 november

6-8,13-15 Gilligan’s Island, Hutchinson 320-587-2599 14

Glows Parade, Fairmont 507-235-5547 21-23 22 27-30

Beneath the Village Wreath, Morton 507-697-6912

Holidaze Parade, Willmar 320-214-7646

Christmas Wonderland on the Town Kickoff, Blue Earth 507-526-2916 Christensen Rock Garden - Albert Lea Christensen Rock Garden – Albert Lea

One of Minnesota’s most elaborate folk art environments, sometimes known as the Itasca Rock Garden after the township of Itasca where it is located. John Christensen started this elaborate rock garden in 1925. At the one end of the garden, the battlements of a castle like structure dated 1927 is built into an artificial hill and conceals a tool shed. Below this tower, to the north, he constructed several pools circled by paths and bridges. On the higher ground at the opposite end is a miniature hotel-like castle of rock and concrete. The last constructions in the garden were built in 1938, and Christensen passed away in 1939. Fortunately, the rock garden was maintained and kept open to the public by his widow and the following owners of the property. This privately owned garden is a must see!

other inspiring spires & grottos in southwest minnesota

Cathedral of the Holy Trinity – New Ulm This Cathedral is truly a magnificent sight with a spire that soars to nearly 150 feet, heavy bells that toll the quarter-hour, stunning paintings, elaborately carved wooden altar with spires and Gothic finials, and arched ceilings contain numerous paintings. Your group will be in wonder and awe at the craftsmanship displayed here.

Historic Ottawa Stone Church – Ottawa It was built about 1869 and is one of the oldest Methodist churches in the State. It is one of seven native limestone build- ings remaining in the village dating back to the mid 1800’s.

Johnson’s Rock Garden – Hendricks A one-of-a-kind rock home that features rocks and stones from all over the US. It has many functional and ornamental rock creations. Such as benches, a fireplace, fishpond, side- walks, fences, a gate and many others throughout the yard.

Martin Luther College – New Ulm There’s a spire of the “Old Main” building at the college dating from 1884. Come wander the campus and take in the other historic buildings, as well as the ten-foot tall, bronze statue of Martin Luther.

Methodist Church Museum and Laura Ingalls Wilder – Spring Valley Visit the church built in 1876 when the James Wilder family were members. Almanzo and Laura (Ingalls) Wilder attended

this church from 1890-1891. The Church Museum includes two floors of exhibits including a Wilder photo display, religious artifact collections, old-time country store, local pioneer business artifacts and displays, 1874 wooden fire wagon, and many other historic displays of Spring Valley area growth.

St. Paul’s Lutheran Church – New Ulm This church is also home to an inspiring spire, which is easily visible from the college hill. Inside see stained glass windows, soaring wooden trusses and delicate artwork to compliment their impressive clock spire outside.

St. Mary’s Church – Sleepy Eye Built in 1902 with two lofty steeples, which are 170 feet high. The signs, symbols and Gothic-style architecture will truly inspire and uplift the hearts and minds of all who enter.

Saint Casimir’s Church Stone Home – Wells The handmade fieldstone house is located on a 1 1/2 acre site surrounded by fieldstone gazebos, bell towers, a pergola, stone fences, gate and small grottos. Built over a period of 57 years, the grounds include a variety of gardens from the traditional, to woodland, to natural prairie.

Schoenstatt Shrine & Retreat Center – Sleepy Eye A charming little white chapel on the grounds of a convent.The nuns will greet your bus at the chapel and give you a tour of their site with its history and their role in modern religious life.

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