Rushford area and Houston Taste of the Trail events this Saturday

By : 
CHAD SMITH
TRI-COUNTY RECORD

This weekend’s Taste of the Trail event in Rushford Area (Rushford and Rushford Village) and Houston is a perfect opportunity for the communities to highlight themselves, and for visitors to experience their hospitality.

Taste of the Trail is a yearly celebration of the small towns along the Root River Trail System in southeast Minnesota. It’s a great chance for both residents and non-residents to find out what’s special about each community.

Rushford/Rushford Village

Jen Hengel, Executive Coordinator of the Rushford Peterson Valley Chamber, said this weekend’s schedule will be full of activities in both locations. Rushford’s activities will run from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. this Saturday, Sept. 22, while Houston will celebrate their Taste of the Trail from 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

“Everything starts off down at the Rushford Train Depot,” Hengel said. “We’ll have live music down there by Root River Jam from 11 till 2. That’s where we’ll hand out the little maps for people, so they can go around town to all of the participating restaurants and businesses that’ll be giving out samples.

“The Lion’s Club will also be at the Depot selling popcorn again this year. We’ll have Root River t-shirts for sale. We also have pumpkins and gourds for sale. For the kids, we’ll have pumpkin checkers, a pumpkin ring-toss, as well as pumpkin painting.”

The Rushford Fire Department is hosting its annual open house in conjunction with the Rushford Area Taste of the Trail. Hengel said their hours will be a little different as the open house runs from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. They’ll also have kids’ activities and snacks. Hengl said the fire department is hopeful that the Mayo One helicopter will be available to appear. “They’re hoping to fly into the area around 1:30 p.m.,” she said. “The fire department is also doing to be doing some extrication demonstrations with the ‘Jaws of Life.’”

Houston

In addition to a different time schedule, Houston will be hosting some different events as well for their Taste of the Trail celebration. They’re hosting a downtown block party behind JT’s Corner Bar and Grill.

“They’ll have live music, food trucks, a bean bag tournament, kids’ activities, as well as a Houston Chamber-sponsored wine-tasting event between 4-6 p.m,” Hengel said.

All of the Taste of the Trail events are free admission and of course open to everyone. Hengel said the Rushford Area event typically features a mix of locals and tourists. Many visitors are bicyclists who just happen to be on the trail that day, but others plan for the event and make a family day out of it. “We have people in attendance who tell us ‘I come to this event every year’ and they’ll be from up in the (Twin Cities) metro area, or Milwaukee, and Madison (Wisconsin) too,” Hengel said. “We get people coming into the area from all over.

“The bicyclists that come through for the first time tell us that ‘they love the trail, they love the whole area, as well as the outdoor atmosphere’ around here,” Hengel said. “People from outside the area compliment us on the friendly people, our quaint little towns, and tell us we’re very good at making them feel welcome.”

Hengel said out-of-towners who visit the Taste of the Trail locations are surprised at the number of places to stop in each location. The Rushford Area stops include restaurants, the public library, Trinity Lutheran Church (pie samples), and Sterling Drug will have some of their food items available for tasting. That’s just a few of the different locations and variety of “tastes” along the trail in Rushford.

“The weather forecast looks nice, so far,” Hengel added. “If we can get between 200 and 300 people, we’d love that. However, there’s always room for more.”

For more information, check out www.rootrivertrail.org, or www.rushfordpetersonvalley.com.