Aug 13, 2022 - Things to Do

An ode to the small town festival

The 2019 Corn Days parade. Photo: Church of St. George Long Lake

Sure, I could tell you about the trendiest events in the Cities this weekend. But this week, I'd like to highlight something near and dear to my heart: Corn Days.

The big picture: Corn Days is the annual festival in Long Lake, a town about 15 miles west of Minneapolis with less than 2,000 people.

  • It's exactly what you would expect from the event of the summer in a small town: bingo, a pancake breakfast, local bands, a parade, a silent auction and, of course, corn-themed activities.

Why it matters to me: Though I never lived in Long Lake, I worked at its only grocery store for several years and was deeply ingrained in the community. (RIP, Harvest Moon Co-op.)

  • Big fairs with tens of thousands of people are also lots of fun. But there's something about the ambience of the traditional small town festival that just feels right.
  • Kids play together, teenagers pretend they're too cool for it all, while adults have an excuse to hang out with each other and drink a few beers.
  • The only goal is to make sure the entire community has a good time.

Objectively, Corn Days isn't big on the Twin Cities events radar. The full-scale event has been on hold since 2019, and its marketing is simply word of mouth, a Facebook event page, and a banner on the east side of town.

  • But for me, its return feels like the resurgence of the community gathering — something that was often lost in the isolation of the pandemic.

The bottom line: I write about a lot of big events in the Twin Cities. But we should remember the small stuff, too, and the importance of connecting with your neighbors again.

A shirt that looks like an ear of corn.
My very own Corn Days t-shirt. Photo: Audrey Kennedy/Axios

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