I grew up in North St. Paul, just 20 minutes from Stillwater, so I’ve been appreciating the quaint river town ever since I can remember. In high school my friends and I used to watch the Fourth of July fireworks from the banks of the St. Croix River, in my post-college days I was all about celebrating Lumberjack Days, in the past 10 years two of my dearest friends got married (one in the fall; another in the spring) at the beautiful Historic Washington County Courthouse, a few years ago I helped throw my best friend’s bachelorette party at the Northern Vineyards Winery, and now that I’m a mom, my favorite park for the boys is a park in Stillwater—Teddy Bear Park—at South Second and Nelson streets.
Whenever we visit Stillwater, we make it a point to walk down to the river to watch the boats go by and either grab lunch at The Freight House or buy a worth-every-single-calorie malt from Leo’s Malt Shop. Now that fall is officially here (even if it doesn’t seem very fall-like with this record-breaking streak of 80-degree days we’ve been experiencing!), I’m looking forward to bringing the wee ones to this weekend’s Harvest Fest, located in downtown Stillwater on the north side of the bridge along Lowell Park. The community event is run entirely by volunteers (how cool is that?) and, for many visitors, the big draw is the Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off. I had no idea those suckers could get so enormous! Last year, Chris Stevens from Wisconsin set a new world-record with a 1,810.5 pound pumpkin. That’s a whole lotta pumpkin pie! Other events like the street dance, “Minute to Win It” tourney, bingo on Friday night, kiddie tractor pull, costume parade, cake walk, chili cook-off, pumpkin regatta race (people sit inside giant pumpkins and paddle down the St. Croix River. Who knew giant pumpkins can float?!), microbrew and wine tasting, and pumpkin drop on Saturday sound like guaranteed fun for kids of all ages.