By Charlene Corson Selbee
Toot-Toot, the familiar sound heard every September in Mabel welcomes residents and visitors to the annual Hesper-Mabel Steam Engine Days, September 7-10.
The giant steam engines kick off both parades on Saturday and Sunday at noon. The Hesper-Mabel Calliope, a steam-whistle organ, takes its place among the steam engines as it whistles out familiar tunes. Do the iconic “wave” when Grand Marshals, Deb and Wayne Buxengard on Saturday and Cathy Peterson on Sunday pass by.
New this year is the six-person coed sand volleyball tournament on Saturday and Sunday. The tournament will take place on the new sand volleyball courts built by community volunteers and local businesses.
Over the past 71 years, the popular farm celebration has been known for fun challenging games and this year is no different. Sunday afternoon begins with the Kids in the Straw Coin Find for pre-school through fifth graders followed by the Mabel Lions mutton bustin’ competition. Kids will be talking about their wild ride on the four-legged woolly animal for days. Spectators will be splitting a gut as the kids roll off or as the sheep drops to the ground in protest with the child still on its back.
Follow the oohs and aahhs to the Hesper Lutheran Church and Mabel First Lutheran Church food stand located on the festival grounds. The food stand is open for breakfast and lunch from 7 a.m. through early evening. Try a slice of fresh baked pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.
Molly B & Squeezebox takes the stage Saturday afternoon at the Mabel Lions beer garden, country singer Cory Farley will rock the stage Friday night, and on Saturday evening Rhino will entertain the crowd. Enjoy dancing to the sounds of the Lockharts on Thursday evening at the Mabel Legion, on Friday night dance to the tunes of Buck Hollow, and Saturday night is Flashback. On Sunday morning enjoy Highway 30 during the ecumenical church service on the festival grounds, and Palomino will be performing Sunday afternoon in the beer garden.
Other upcoming Bluff Country community celebrations:
•September 8-10, Watermelon Fest, Kellogg, Minn.
•September 8-10, Dairy Days, Platteville, Wis.
•September 9-10, Laura Ingalls Wilder Days, Pepin, Wis.
•September 9 – October 21, SeptOberFest, Wabasha, Minn.
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