Best Bets: Fall sports kick into high gear

Published 10:54 am Friday, August 31, 2012

Many of you will clear out this weekend, but those who stick around can take in some football, college sports and art.

1. Get excited, football fans: College football started this week, the NFL kicks off next weekend, and most Minnesota high school teams begin their 2012 season tonight. So while the Austin Packers’ past two seasons have been pretty rough — they’re riding a 19-game losing streak — locals are hoping a new coach and a new attitude are enough to make a difference this year. Austin Packer head coach Brett Vesel begins his tenure 7 p.m. at Red Wing, so round up a caravan or look for coverage tonight at

2. Speaking of local athletics, Riverland Community College is vamping up its fall athletic season. The Blue Devils have home soccer and volleyball all weekend, with the soccer team facing Hibbing 4 p.m. and volleyball hosting Fergus Falls (Minnesota State Community and Technical College) at 6:30 p.m. Then on Saturday, soccer takes on Hibbing again, at noon, and the volleyball team hosts Rochester Community and Technical College.

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3. On Sunday, the Austin Area Art Center is holding its open house to honor participants in the “Don’t Shoot the Photographer” photo contest. It’s 1-4 p.m. in Oak Park Mall. You’ll shoot yourself if you don’t go.

4. Take a breather Monday for the one holiday all year actually meant as a break from work, unlike those others where you just use it as one. Monday is Labor Day, but don’t rest too long, parents; the school year starts Tuesday.

—Matt Peterson’s column returns next week.