September 17 and 18
St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin and Taylors Falls, Minnesota straddle the beautiful, Wild and Scenic St. Croix River. Home to the National Park Service visitor center, Interstate State Parks and the gorgeous Dalles of the St. Croix River, this area is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. But arts and culture also abound these sister cities and nearby communities.
The second weekend of Take Me to the River is an ideal time of a weekend getaway whether you are coming from the Twin Cities or Chicago. It is easy to make your base for exploring one of the local bed and breakfasts that are part of Inns of the Valley. Whether you choose Taylors Falls, Osceola or Center City, you will be in easy reach of all the Falls area has to offer.
Right along the Hwy. 8 construction detour on Tern Avenue south of Taylors Falls you can’t miss Peter Jadoonath Backyard Pottery Sale. Peter moved his studio from St. Paul to Shafer a couple of years ago and now invites his friends to join him in annual backyard sale. This year you will be able find amazing pottery by Peter, Joe Singewald, Mike Helke, Jason Trebs and Sarah Dudgeon. Don’t be surprised if you see a few chickens checking out the pottery too.
Head south on Hwy. 95 and on a bluff above the river, you will find Guillermo Cuellar & Friends: Fall Pottery Sale on the St. Croix Trail. Each year, Guillermo is joined by fellow potters and artists. This year Jim Lorio, Mike Norman and Alan Honn will be on hand to discuss their pottery and blown glass. The welcome atmosphere, comfort foods and beautiful views of the St. Croix Valley only pale in comparison to the beautiful fine crafts on display.
Heading back north, you will find Franconia Sculpture Park’s Art and Artists Celebration, their annual party celebrating the newly installed sculptures. In addition to larger than life sculptures dotting a picturesque prairie, you will find fun activities, food and music to make this even more of an end of the summer season party.
Sunday offers even more fun. St. Croix Falls has so much to offer art and nature lovers. Stroll along the Gaylord Nelson Riverwalk and enjoy the fall beauty of the Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway. Be sure to see St. Croix Falls Art Bench along the Riverwalk. It is part of the Art Bench Trail, a series of artist and community built benches in towns along the lower St. Croix River.
You saw the river from the overlook, but you should really take the opportunity to get out on one of the nation’s few Wild and Scenic Rivers with the Taylors Falls Scenic Boat Tours. Their experienced pilot/guides will take you up close to the famous Dalles of the St. Croix and point out how this area was formed by glaciers.
Be sure to catch the Sunday matinee at St. Croix Festival Theatre in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin, where some extremely talented youth will be performing My Name is Rumpelstiltskin adapted by Vera Morris. This performance will transport you to an enchanted forest once upon a time. You may want to consider buying your tickets in advance, several of youth actors spring performances sold out.
- Franconia Art & Artists Celebration, 29836 St. Croix Trail, Shafer (Sept. 17, 11:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.)
- Guillermo Cuellar and Friends: Fall Pottery Sale, 1885 263rd St., Shafer (Sept. 16-18, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; free admission)
- My Name is Rumpelstiltskin at Festival Theatre, Franklin Square Black Box, 125 N. Washington St., St. Croix Falls (On stage Sept. 9-18, Thursdays – Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 2:30 p.m., tickets are $13.50 for adults and $8.50 for youth)
- Peter Jadoonath Backyard Pottery Sale, 30208 Tern Ave., Shafer (Sept. 17-18, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; free admission)
- Taylors Falls Scenic Boat Tours, 155 South Street, Taylors Falls (Weekend and weekday cruises, excursions vary by day, 80 minute cruises: $18.99 for adults, $11.99 for children; 45 minute cruises: $16.99 for adults, $15.99 for children)