UffDa Fest returns for another weekend of autumnal fun

By: 
Jordan Gerard

The weather is turning, the leaves are falling and a host of events await at the sixth annual UffDa Fest celebration this weekend.

“We have a fun schedule of events lined up for the first full weekend of October,” Spring Grove Lions Club member Jacqui VanMinsel said. 

UffDa Fest once again aligns with Spring Grove High School’s Homecoming Week and football game versus Grand Meadow on Friday night. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

Both days include many fun events including hiking on the Norwegian Ridge Birding and Nature Trail, apple pie sales, pork chops, quilt show, balloons, music, blood pressure checks, wagon rides, flower pounding, lefse and more.

“Uffda for an endless list!” VanMinsel added. “To congregate in the park with music, food, games and neighbors, what isn’t there to enjoy?”

For those looking to volunteer for UffDa Fest, she encouraged people to reach out to clubs and organizations to see if help is needed.

If it’s too soon for your schedule to volunteer for UffDa Fest, consider volunteering for Christmas in the Village. 

Work for that event begins in October, decorating in November and enjoying the result in December.

“UffDa Fest is a weekend of groups coming to gather to entertain and celebrate rather than one committee planning and working the event in total,” VanMinsel said. 

The official dates are Oct. 4 and 5, but this year, UffDa Fest starts on Thursday, Oct. 3 with a “Welcome Gnome” Habitat for Humanity fundraiser at RockFilter Distillery.

That event will feature live music by Tim Foss, food by Fat Pat’s, raffle prizes and special cocktails. Classic Norwegian music featuring old-time, bluegrass and traditional fiddle by Foss and Jeff Worrell will also be heard at the event. 

T-shirts will also be for sale. There is a $10 cover charge for the event. All funds raised benefit the Habitat Heritage House. Advance tickets not needed.

Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Kahya Fox said the project includes a unique partnership with the city of Spring Grove, Spring Grove High School students and local architectural designer Miranda Moen that all helped to conceptualize a design and build a home that highlights and incorporates the Norwegian heritage of Spring Grove.

Sherry Pitts and her family are helping to build the house, as they will purchase the home once complete for the fully appraised value with a zero-interest mortgage.

“Habitat families truly embody the mission of providing a hand up, not a hand out,” Fox added. 

Habitat is still seeking individuals, groups, organizations and businesses to join them on the job site. 

For more information or to become a volunteer, visit the website at www.habitatlacrosse.org.

Friday, Oct. 4

All-day events include citywide garage sales and hiking on the Norwegian Ridge Birding and Nature Trail.

The 10th annual Festival of Quilts Show and Sale by the Piecemakers Quilt Guild will be held on Friday from noon to 5 p.m. at the Fest Building. Admission is a free-will donation. Vendors from various area quilting shops will be on site, including quilt boutique items. Demonstrations will also be seen.

At 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 5, Kay Capps Cross of Spring Grove will have a trunk show during Festival of Quilts.

Wrapping up Friday is the homecoming football game at 7 p.m. at the football field. Watch as the Lions take on the Superlarks.

Saturday, Oct. 5

All-day events include citywide garage sales and hiking on the Norwegian Ridge Birding and Nature Trail. Festival of Quilts will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on this day. 

Another all-day event will be three characters from Spring Grove’s history, including Ola, Per and Vaermor. They’ll be wandering the streets of Spring Grove, so stop by and say, “Hi.”

Returning this year is the 5K Run/Walk event, sponsored by Spring Grove Syttende Mai. 

Entry fee is $5 per person, and proceeds from the event will benefit the Boy Scout Troop 55’s fundraising efforts. The event starts at 8 a.m. at Viking Memorial Park on Maple Drive.

Find the race entry link on the Facebook event page ($5-5K Uffda Fest) or print out the form and drop off with payment at Red’s IGA.

New this year is Spring Grove Ambulance offering free blood pressure and blood sugar checks. 

If the weather holds, the ambulance crew will be in Viking Memorial Park from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (perhaps longer) to offer this service. 

Co-Manager Angie Halverson said her goal is to do more things in the sense of community service with the ambulance. Though the emergency medical technicians (EMT) cannot diagnose any medical conditions, they can record the vitals and encourage people to talk to their regular care provider.

“Sometimes somebody just getting their blood sugar checked and finding that it’s high is the first red flag, and they should talk to their doctor,” she said. “We’re not able to diagnose, but the next time you see your doctor, you can talk to them about it.”

The whole process to check blood sugar and blood pressure takes about five minutes top. 

EMTs will record the day and time the vitals were taken and what numbers were measured. In turn, people can take that to their doctor for an opinion.

Also offered by the ambulance is a teddy bear clinic. EMT Andrea Donlan will give kids’ toys a check up.

Kids can bring teddy bears, dolls or toys to the EMTs, who will take their vitals and explain to kids what is normally done at the doctor’s office.

“It makes it fun for them,” Halverson said. “We’ll take vitals, wrap a sore paw or maybe splint a leg, all depending on what we find!”

Halverson added it’s a good event for kids and the community, while also doing a little education along the way.

If it rains or is windy, the ambulance will be at the shed. If the ambulance gets called out, the event will be rescheduled. 

As Viking Memorial Park tends to be the center of events happening for UffDa Fest, the market place will feature various farmers market items and direct sales vendors from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. There is no fee for vendors to set up, though they must bring their own table/tents.

Also happening in the park are kids games starting at 10 a.m. Tappy’s Face Painting and Balloons by Kevin will also be here to delight young ones. Mike McAbee will perform in the gazebo from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The UffDa Uber wagon rides will pick up and drop off in the park. 

For the hungry ones, there are pork burgers and pork chops by the Spring Grove Athletic Boosters from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Speaking of food, Giants of the Earth Heritage Center and Sons of Norway will once again host Kaffe Fest from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Center.

Enjoy coffee and Norwegian baked goods like lefse, rommegrot, flatbread and more at the center. 

Oral histories and local history exhibits will also be on display at the heritage center.

While you’re enjoying lefse and a pork burger, save room for dessert, as the Spring Grove High School senior class will be selling homemade apple pies for their annual fundraiser.

Reserved pies can be picked up at the school cafeteria from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Oct. 5. Call 507-498-PIES (7437) to reserve yours before Oct. 4.

Unsold pies and pies by the slice a-la mode can be purchased at the Syttende Mai Hus in Viking Memorial Park starting at 10:30 a.m. until gone, but get there quickly as they sell fast.

In the afternoon hours, enjoy a “Flower Pounding” class at Bluff Country Artists Gallery from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., hosted by Houston County Master Gardeners.

Flower pounding is just as it sounds, says Master Gardener Bev Nelson. Participants will use a specifically-prepared muslin material as a canvas. 

Flowers and leaves of the artist’s choice are arranged and taped to a piece of muslin. 

The material with the attached flowers is turned over and placed on a wooden block and a hammer is used to pound the flowers in order to get a print to appear on the muslin.

“If you can pound with a hammer, you can do this craft,” Nelson said. “It is fun and the prints can be very stunning!”

Master Gardener members will be available to help and hang out with flower-pounding artists. The event is free and people of all ages are encouraged to participate, Nelson added. 

If flower-pounding isn’t your thing, check out the UffDa Card Tournament at Giants of the Earth Heritage Center from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

The game is pretty simple and if you know the game of dominoes you almost know all the rules.

Entry fee is $5 per person or $10 for a family/team of four or less. Prizes will be awarded. Learn to play is from 1 to 1:30 p.m. and gameplay will start at 1:30 p.m.

“The game is a combination of how we play dominoes and UNO. It’s played with 55 cards,” Karen Gray said. “This is a game for wholesome family fun and personal interaction.”

Gary Erickson, who hopes to be present during the game at UffDa Fest, invented the game. The decks are for sale in the center’s gift shop. 

For nightly entertainment, the American Legion Post 249 will have Mayfield Experience playing live music from 8 to 11 p.m.

Norski’s Saloon will also have live music from 9 p.m. to midnight, and host the Spring Grove Lions Club Truck Drawing at 8 p.m.

Tickets for the raffle drawing are still available from your local Lions Club member or by calling 507-498-3456. Alternatively, arrive early to Norski’s and purchase your ticket (if there are any left).

“Your $100 donation to our community also gets you a chance at a beautiful pickup truck and awesome cash prizes,” VanMinsel said. “Your $100 donation supports Spring Grove Athletics, ABC, Food Shelf, Senior Dining, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Music Boosters, Summer Rec activities, medical needs of community members, senior class, Music in the Park, Post Prom, Ring & Run to name a few.”

From 2014 to 2018, the Lions Club was able to donate more than $130,000 into the community. If a Dodge isn’t your type of truck, it can be traded on another vehicle at KAR Auto Group in Decorah, Iowa, VanMinsel added. 

UffDa Fest is primarily organized by Spring Grove Lions Club. Prior to UffDa Fest, the event was called Fall Foliage. 

Editor’s note: Citywide garage sales will take place over UffDa Fest weekend, however we do not have a separate listing and map because we did not have enough listings to justify it. Please see our classifieds section on page 8.