Festivals & Holidays

Northfield’s 22nd Winter Walk is right around the corner, and guess who will be there? Santa’s elves, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and Frosty the Snowman, of course! Come look for them as they meander up and down Division Street after the Tree Lighting Ceremony (5:00 PM) - if, that is, you can pull yourself away from Northfield Library’s Magic of Model Trains exhibit (starting at 3:30 PM).

One hundred forty-five years ago a notorious outlaw gang rode into town with plans to rob the First National Bank, but brave citizens of Northfield rallied to the cry, “Get your guns, boys—they’re robbing the bank!” and denied them one more cash withdrawal.  That day, brave men put their lives on the line and defended their bank and their right to live in peace, and the James—Younger Gang was never the same.  

There is something charmingly timeless about Winter Walk. In many ways, it represents the best of what small-town Midwestern life has to offer. When the sun goes down, the lights come on, and seemingly everyone in town crowds onto Division Street to sing, shop, visit Santa, or take a ride on a horse-drawn wagon.  It’s hard to imagine Winter Walk anywhere else, and each year it just feels like it must have been a part of Northfield forever.

As tornadoes ripped through our community this September, we witnessed firsthand the devastating power of these storms and the loss they can cause.  But we also witnessed the power of natural disasters to bring communities together for the common good in ways both big and small.

Cute costumed kids begging for candy and eating hot dogs at the local fire station party—that’s the Halloween everyone likes to talk about.  But is that the same Halloween of the scary slasher movies and the haunted attractions that pop up every October?  Ghost stories and witches and pagan rituals always find their way into this holiday as well.

“From Ghoulies and ghosties And long-leggedly beasties And things that go bump in the night, Good Lord, deliver us!” --Traditional Scottish Prayer

Who’s got the biggest pumpkins?  Where can you pick the crispiest apples?  And who’s got the most family friendly corn mazes?

Fall has officially arrived when the re-enactors ride into town.  Flowing dusters on horseback, shouting, and gun shots fill the streets.  Jesse James’ Gang is defeated once again, but at no small cost for Northfield.

It is summer and July is almost over so it must be time for the Vintage Band Festival.  The festival was founded in 2006 by Dr. Paul Niemisto to celebrate the best and the brassiest of traditional band music.  Bands from near and far will gather in downtown Northfield’s Bridge Square on July 28 for this year’s special one-day musical event.

What does July 4ths’ Independence Day mean to you?  Perhaps it means picnics with family; fireworks; patriotic concerts and parades, and lots of flag waving.  For all of us, Independence Day is a day to remember the wars fought to gain our freedoms and we do that by celebrating the victories and the sacrifices on our behalf with grateful hearts.