We started out the day walking around a small farmer's market. Look, beer soap!
Then I saw these apron's dancing in the breeze. See how the sun streams through? Umm, did I mention I have and unnatural obsession with aprons? I don't wear them all that often, I just like to look at them. Yep, this is going to be a fun day.
The festivities began with the singing of the Rhubarb National Anthem. The Rhubarb Sisters then sang other familiar tunes rewritten to feature rhubarb. During one song they even used rolling pins and wooden spoons as instruments. We were in line for the tasting contest, so I only managed to get a side shot.
Each of the four Rhubarb Sisters wore a vintage style dress and apron. Along with these shoes.
While waiting in the tasting line we were also entertained by the Rhubarb Jugglers. The highlight here was the juggling of flaming rhubarb.
About the time the juggling ended we arrived at the front of the tasting line. Anyone could enter a recipe featuring rhubarb as long as they provided enough samples for tasting. Judges consisted of anyone who was willing to wait in line and sample all 22 entries, which turned out to be a whole lot of people. After sampling pies, cobblers, muffins, bread puddings, cookies, syrup, salad, salsa, pickled rhubarb, cider, cheesecake and even spicy rhubarb gummy worms we voted for our favorite. It was hard to remember all 22 samples and even harder to pick just one. I ended up spilling a sample cup on my camera and pretty much freaked out that I'd ruined it. Thankfully all that sticky rhubarb came off.
After casting our votes we went around to various booths and vendors. You could paint a picture with rhubarb leaves, go through a petting zoo, or buy various rhubarb treats. Popular items included rhubarb cheesecake, rhubarb salsa, rhubarb gelato and rhubarb caramel corn. There were also bake sales going on, but the goods were mostly sold out by the time we got there.
In addition to eating rhubarb, you can use it in games. Rhubarb golf, balancing an egg on a stalk while walking around a tree, a stalk throw for the longest toss and more. Here's the pile for the stalk toss.
Then there was the Minute-to-Win-it Rhubarb Chopstick contest. Contestants had one minute to transfer as many rhubarb pieces from one pie plate to another....using chopsticks. I was in the 40's and I think the winner came out at 64.
Another contest was held for the largest leaf. I think that's what these were doing on the ground. I forgot to get something in there for perspective, but I'm told previous winning leaves were over 3 feet wide.
There were other things to do too, in fact the day only got better. But my camera was low on battery and I opted to save it for the pie making contest. Although I'd much rather take pictures than be in pictures, I figured I'd let my mom take some of my attempts at the pie. I couldn't exactly hide from the camera while competing in a pie making contest. I'll tell (and show) you all about it tomorrow.
The festival takes place each year on the first Saturday in June. If I'm in the area next year I will definitely go again. Even though you missed the festival for this year, I would still highly recommend a visit to Lanesboro, MN. It's a charming little town full of interesting things to do. Visitors can stay in historic Victorian homes turned into a Bed and Breakfast or bring a tent for camping. Canoe, kayak or tube down the Root River, bike on over 60 miles of trail, see a play, enjoy local cuisine, visit the winery, window shop in the historic downtown district, take an Amish tour, visit the fish hatchery or museum and the list goes on. Needless to say, we didn't have a chance to do many of these things as we spent most of the day at the Rhubarb Festival. I'd love to go back and spend some more time there, so let me know if you feel like going along.
Food for Thought: "Don't wait for someone to bring you flowers. Plant your own garden and decorate your own soul." -unknown