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Through a SoMinn Lens: Celebrating autumn at Wabasha’s SeptOberfest

September 19, 2019

In the bold blue waters of the Mississippi River, a red kayak skims across the surface within view of the bridge connecting Minnesota and Wisconsin. Nearby, a houseboat snugs the shoreline and a young boy follows a riverside trail with tackle box and fishing rod in hand. Also next to the river, down the hill from Hill’s Hardware Hank, families gather in a themed kids’ play area.

This is the setting for SeptOberfest, Wabasha-Kellogg’s annual two-month celebration of autumn. The historic riverside town rates as a favorite fall, or anytime, destination for me. I love the riverside location, the strong and aged architecture, the activities, the shops, the National Eagle Center, the community pride that define Wabasha.

Add the contrasting vibrant and earthy hues of September and October in leaves turning color and seasonal displays of pumpkins, corn shocks, scarecrows, festive banners and other décor, and my appreciation for this town deepens even more. Here mini and mammoth pumpkins and those crafted into characters delight me and my young granddaughter who wanders among them in The Pumpkin Patch at Heritage Park under the Mississippi River bridge.

Everything seems brighter, sharper on fall days when the sun blazes brilliant across a landscape transitioning from green to golden. Wabasha celebrates the season in a big, yet down-home, way that feels welcoming and comfortable to everyone—from couples to families to friends on a day trip get-away to shop seasonal boutiques. SeptOberfest appeals to the farm girl in me, who embraces the scents, the sights, the colors of my favorite of Minnesota’s seasons.

FYI: For a complete listing of SeptOberfest attractions and events, go to


By Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Freelancer Audrey Kletscher Helbling writes and photographs with an appreciation for small towns and the land, rooted in her upbringing on a dairy and crop farm in southwestern Minnesota. A former newspaper reporter, she holds a journalism degree and continues to pursue her creative passions through blogging at, penning poetry, photography and more.

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