Best Bets: Reap the Harvest(fest) this weekend

Published 8:49 am Thursday, September 14, 2017

A chill is in the morning air meaning fall is just around the corner, and what better way is there to celebrate than with the second annual Harvest Fest?

Put on by Mower Refreshed and Austin Downtown Business Association with about 50 businesses in conjunction with Welcoming Week, Harvest Fest will be held this Saturday. Cedar River Watershed District Outreach Coordinator Tim Ruzek described the event as “family fun with an emphasis on healthy living.”

The event will kick off with the Harvest 5K run/walk at 9 a.m. on Saturday at the Austin Municipal Pool. The entry fee is $20 pre-registration for people 12 and older, $10 pre-registration for kids under 12, or $25 registration the day of the event. Participants are asked to bring donations of healthy, non-perishable food items.

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“Harvest 5K aims to raise awareness of the need for healthy food donations to Mower County’s food shelves and funds to purchase healthy options, making healthy choices easier and more accessible for people regardless of financial resources,” Ruzek said in a press release.

The event will continue with the festival running from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. Information and registration booths will be at the Austin Municipal Pool parking lot at Austin Mill Pond. Visitors who register can get a “passport” that can be stamped at various booths and businesses.

“The passport will guide people to booths and businesses for healthy activities, such as canoeing, canning foods, artwork, interactive games and more,”
Ruzek said.

Free activities include:

• Bounce house at the Austin YMCA;

• National Guard climbing wall;

• Face painting by Matchbox Children’s Theatre;

• Box hockey games by Austin Positive Action Committee;

• Austin Bruins activity with Bruins mascot Bruiser;

• Helmet sale by Vision 2020 Biking Committee;

• Mower Refreshed active dice game;

• Hands-on activity by Mower County 4-H

• Canoe/kayak trips on Mill Pond by Cedar River Canoe and Kayak Rental

Visitors who get all of the stamps in their passports will be entered in the grand prize drawing for a $500 gift certificate to be used at either the Austin YMCA or Rydjor Bike Shop.

Other door prizes will be available as well. Sharing a photo from the event with @MowerRefreshed with the hashtag #livingmowerhealthy will increase the chances of winning a door prize.

A mobile medical unit will be available for the uninsured and the underinsured courtesy of Mankato-based Open Door Health Center.

The event will be held at Packer Arena in the event of poor weather.

“Harvest Fest aims to get people to ‘explore living Mower healthy,’” Ruzek said.

For more information, contact Tim Ruzek at 507-434-2603 or or visit

Weekend events

Friday, Sept. 15
•Fall Luncheon, noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Mower County Senior Center. Welcome the fall with a delicious dinner of mixed greens salad, brown sugar and garlic pork loin, baby carrots, roasted potatoes and dessert. Cost is $7.50 for members or $8.50 for non-members. As always, there will also be entertainment. For more information or to make your reservation, call 507-433-2370 or stop by the front desk.
Saturday, Sept. 16
•Fall Bus Trip (Friends Members Only), 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center. Take a trip to the Minnesota Zoo with other Friends of the Hormel Nature Center Members and tour leader Savanna Dahl. Space is limited to 50 people. Friends Members will receive a direct mailing closer to the date.

•Kids’ Studio – Ice Cream Painting, 10:30 a.m. to noon at the Austin ArtWorks Center. With Barbara Oeninger. For kids ages 4 – 14. Cost $5. For more information, call 507-434-0934 or go to

•Saturday Sweet Reads – Pete the Cat, 10-11 a.m. at Sweet Reads Books and Candy. Come in costume, listen to stories, meet surprise guests. For more information ,call 507-396-8660.

•Chi-Fi Festival, 9-10:30 p.m. at the Historic Paramount Theatre. Music by Chilla, Do Or Die, Twista, Crucial Conflict with special guests Psychodrama and Triple Darkness. Tickets $25 in advance, $30 day of, $60 VIP (limited tickets). Tickets can be purchased online or at the ArtWorks Center Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m to 3 p.m.

•2017 Autumn Artistry, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Osage, Iowa. A downtown full of crafters and artisans and a fairgrounds full of a Show and Shine Car Show. Food, entertainment on hand.
Sunday, Sept. 17

•Walking Meditation Class, 2-4 p.m., Jay C. Hormel Nature Center. Chris Anderson will lead a walking meditation class. This free program will help participants learn how to practice awareness of the present moment by exploring several methods of walking peacefully
in nature. The class will be held rain or shine and take place in Ruby Rupner Auditorium and on the Nature Center’s trails. RSVP by 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16 by calling 507-437-7519 or emailing