Employee recruitment for our manufacturing, healthcare and other sectors is becoming a big problem in Southwest Minnesota. On May 23th, Hennepin/Carver Workforce Center in Minneapolis and Pioneer Public TV brought 55 job seekers to Montevideo and Granite Falls. Cathy Anderson, Granite Falls EDA Director and myself went along on the tour and directed the bus tours of Granite Falls, announcing the highlights of our town as we drove through.
The tour ended at Fagen Fighter's WWII Museum where the group was met by Mayor Dave Smiglewski and representatives from Granite Falls Health, Project Turnabout and Exit Realty. They described job, lifestyle and housing opportunities. The job seekers were a variety of backgrounds, ages and educational levels. A group photo was taken and they all left with a goodie bag with gifts, Granite Falls Guides and area information. Move here for a job and you get small town friendliness, river activities, great schools, reasonable housing and a great place to raise a family!
The Governor's Fishing Opener this year takes place on a river, the Mississippi River in St. Cloud. This has been done in the past but on Lake Pepin, a wider lake on the Mississippi. Our rivers deserve the same attention as our many lakes!
The fishing right in our backyard on the Minnesota River has improved since the Xcel dam was removed a few years ago.
Check out this video from Pioneer Public TV 's Prairie Sportsman about fishing in the Minnesota River near Renville - https://www.facebook.com/1753263851366715/prairiesportsman/videos/
You can rent a canoe or kayak at Upper Sioux Agency State Park but it's also popular to fish along the bank at the riverside campground and other park locations. Memorial Park is another great spot to try some shore fishing. Both of these Minnesota River parks have campgrounds and you can even stay in a tipi at Upper Sioux!
Granite True Value has a great selection of camping and fishing supplies. Get your fishing license and bait at a Granite Falls institution, Willie's Korner Store. Everything you need for a picnic lunch is also available here, as well as some great seafood if you don't succeed on your fishing trip! Plan your next fishing trip in Granite Falls!
Workshop, Rehearsal, and Performance Schedule for Granite Falls, MN
Sod House Theater will offer a series of free music and acting workshops led by professional theater artists and directors Luverne Seifert & Darcey Engen, and musicians Brian Laidlaw & Ashley Hanson in Granite Falls on June 8-10th. They will also hold an information session and call for performers & volunteers to participate in their August performance of Enemy of the People - a site-specific performance that will take place in Granite Falls August 18-20. The play will be presented at the American Legion, 60 6th St. with the first act outside (weather permitting) and the second act in the Legion's upper floor. Tickets will include a hot dog or hamburger, chips and a drink. Bar service will be available.
Friday, August 18 at 7:00pm
Saturday, August 19 at 7:00pm
Sunday, August 20 at 1:00pm
Tickets will be available starting June 1 at the chamber office, Legion and online at https://www.brownpapertickets.com/ Prices are Tickets: $18 Adults $15 for Seniors(free city bus included) and $12 for Children (17 and under)
Thursday, June 8th from 6:30-8pm
Hometown Ballad Songwriting Workshop - In this workshop, you will share stories about your community, discuss the craft songwriting, and start to turn stories shared into original songs. Open to all ages and levels of experience; singers, musicians, and writers encouraged to attend; instruments are invited, but not required.
Friday, June 9th from 6:30-8pm
The Power of Your Voice: Developing Your Voice for the Stage - This workshop will introduce and encourage performers to develop the components of vocal production such as projection, dynamics, pitch, rate, resonance, variety, articulation as well as relaxation and breathing. This workshop will help the performer increase vocal energy, strength, range, flexibility, and clarity and apply it directly into their performance. No preparation is necessary. Dress to move comfortably.
Saturday, June 10th - Workshops During Market & Muse
10:00-11:30am - Kick in the Pants: Physical Comedy Routines - This workshop will introduce stage techniques of physical comedy; slaps, kicks, trips, falls, fixed points and awkward timing decisions. Participants will develop a 1-2 minute comedy routine that they will develop and perform. No preparation necessary. Dress to move comfortably.
12:00-1:00pm - Bag Lunch Information Session / Call for Performers & Volunteers - Bring your lunch and join the directors of Sod House Theater to learn more about the opportunity to be involved in a professional site-specific, musical theater adaptation of Ibsen's Enemy of the People that will be performed in Granite Falls this August. Open to all ages, abilities, and levels of experience!
2:00-3:00pm - Music, Movement, and Muse
This playful workshop will incorporate elements of movement and improvisation mixed with live and pre-recorded music. Using physical theater and creative movement, participants will improvise scenarios based on the tempo, rhythm, and feel of the music. No preparation necessary. Dress to move comfortably.
4:00-5:30pm - Original Music Jam Session
Local musicians are welcome to bring their original finished, half-finished, or barely started songs to experiment with arrangements in this open jam session. Recording equipment will be on hand to capture the magic. Open to all ages and levels of experience; singers and musicians workshops will be facilitated by professional musicians and songwriters Brian Laidlaw & Ashley Hanson.encouraged to attend; instruments are invited, but not required.
All workshops are free and open to the public. Granite Falls has a history of outdoor, "walking theater" and this will be an exciting addition to our history of productions. Below is rehearsals from one of the productions that took place on and below the footbridge.
It’s exciting to see another store opening up downtown! The Falls Boutique in the old Frozen in Time location, 709 Prentice St., is now open with a fun interior and a great selection of home decor, clothing and other unique items. I love that old theater building and it’s great to see some of the original features like the deco light fixtures preserved and the space open to the public with a new boutique. Visit their facebook page for more details –https://www.facebook.com/Falls-Boutique
In my job as chamber director, I’ve also spoken to two other possible business owners who want to open here, a tattoo studio and artisan cheese maker. Everyone benefits from the addition of these unique businesses, the more locations we have to browse, the more people will be attracted to our beautiful town. Keep your money here in town and shop local. The chamber is working on creating more places where you can shop.
The first Riverside Market and Muse event is May 13. Join Tamara Isfeld for a free Raku pottery class. The June 10 event is a great opportunity to learn music and acting skills from professionals who will return in August for the play," An Enemy of the People". Vendors can set up for free along our downtown plazas, only home based businesses need to register so there are no duplicates. I encourage the downtown shops to use these dates as an opportunity for a monthly sidewalk sale. Together we can get our downtown full of people during these monthly events. Live music near the Berge Building, so mark your calendars!
Members of the State of Minnesota Unemployment Office will be visiting Granite Falls and they want to hear from you.
Attending will be :
Jim Hegman, Deputy UI Division Director
Michael Vaughn, UI Outreach Manager
Lynne Batzli, UI Outreach Specialist
They will give a very brief presentation about the Unemployment Insurance Program. The main purpose of the visit, however, is to listen and learn about what is going on in our community. They look forward to hearing about your experiences and impressions with UI. Lunch is included.
Please RSVP so we have an idea of the numbers for lunch, 320-564-4039 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Theater Workshops and Performances this summer!
Granite Falls has become known as a location for outdoor theater with the productions during Meander and the paddling theater event which took place along the banks of the Minnesota River. My dream is to have a theater downtown. Until that happens we can still use our beautiful riverside location for outdoor theater. This summer, the area near the Legion will host "An Enemy of the People" by the Sod House Theater. Tickets will include a meal and performance of the play.
Earlier in June, free workshops will be conducted by Luverne Seifert, a professional actor and Teaching Specialist in the Department of Theater Arts and Dance at The University of Minnesota and Darcy Engen, Professor at Augsburg College. Ashley Hanson and Brian Laidlaw will be conducting the musical workshops. These are funded partially by the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council as part of the grant for Riverside Market and Muse. Mark your calendars, these are open to any level of experience and any ages. Don't miss this opportunity to learn from professional actors and musicians!
Placebase Productions , Granite Falls Saturday Nights
Thursday, June 8th from 6:30-8pm
Hometown Ballad Songwriting Workshop - In this workshop, you will share stories about your community, discuss the craft songwriting, and start to turn stories shared into original songs.
Friday, June 9th from 6:30-8pm
The Power of Your Voice: Developing Your Voice for the Stage - This workshop will introduce and encourage performers to develop the components of vocal production such as projection, dynamics, pitch, rate, resonance, variety, articulation as well as relaxation and breathing.
Saturday, June 10 during Riverside Market and Muse
10:00-11:30am - Kick in the Pants: Physical Comedy Routines - This workshop will introduce stage techniques of physical comedy; slaps, kicks, trips, falls, fixed points and awkward timing decisions. Participants will develop a 1-2 minute comedy routine that they will develop and perform
12:00-1:00pm - Bag Lunch Information Session / Call for Performers & Volunteers - Join the directors of Sod House Theater to learn more about the opportunity to be involved in a professional site-specific, musical theater adaptation of Ibsen's Enemy of the People that will be performed in Granite Falls this August. Open to all ages, abilities, and levels of experience!
2:00-3:00pm - Music, Movement, and Muse This playful workshop will incorporate elements of movement and improvisation mixed with live and pre-recorded music. Using physical theater and creative movement, participants will improvise scenarios based on the tempo, rhythm, and feel of the music.
4:00-5:30pm - Original Music Jam Session
Local musicians are welcome to bring their original finished, half-finished, or barely started songs to experiment with arrangements in this open jam session. Recording equipment will be on hand to capture the magic. Open to all ages and levels of experience; singers and musicians encouraged to attend; instruments are invited, but not required.
Prairie's Edge Casino Resort has a new website that is user friendly, looks great and has included a "visiting" section with links to many local attractions. With the amount of traffic they get on their website, this is a huge benefit to our community. Check it out at http://www.prairiesedgecasino.com/visit/local-attractions
Thank you to two young, talented videographers, Kirby Winsom and Isaac Svobodny, who created a "Shop Local" video . Here's the link to it on facebook - https://www.facebook.com/kirbsterwinson/videos/10212275510388294/
Our online presence is increasingly important with searches on smart phones and computers for places to visit, stay, eat and shop. If your business has done nothing else, update your google listing. It's free and puts your information on most searches. Most locations already have a listing but the business owner can add details, correct information and pictures . If you need help, contact the chamber office and I'll be happy to come to your business and show you how to do it. If you have a website for your business, a link to the chamber's website is a great idea. Businesses can also link to area websites like the Scenic Byway and Western Minnesota Prairie Waters .
Coming soon, The "Get Rural" project covers the Minnesota counties west of us and will soon have pages for each town in the area along with links to schools, hospitals, employment, government and more to give new residents a look at the entire area rather than just one town .
Explore Minnesota Tourism is the state entity that promotes Minnesota throughout the United States and in foreign countries as well as within the state. They host a yearly conference which was held this year January 20th-February 1st in St. Paul. The sessions consist of great tips from marketing pros, ideas used by other tourism entities and a place to share ideas with other chambers, resort and attraction managers, state agencies and more. As well as the general session, speed sessions allow the attendees to choose their topics of choice. This year was even more special with our local Fagen Fighter's WWII Museum winning a Tourism Award of Merit as one of the three top attractions in Minnesota.
Here are some of the highlights of the conference - John Edman, director/CEO of Explore Minnesota, reported on Minnesota's $14.4 billion tourism industry, statewide marketing initiatives, and shared a sneak peek of Explore Minnesota's all-new, event-focused TV ad that will air Super Bowl Sunday. Lt. Governor Tina Smith spoke on the importance of Minnesota Tourism. Peter Greenberg, Travel editor, highlighted the new world of consumer travel behavior. A variety of national and local travel industry influences highlighted travel marketing trends.
I return from these events reinvigorated by all the ideas being used by towns across the state to attract visitors. What works to attract visitors also works to attract new businesses, employees and residents. This idea was confirmed in the presentation by Adam Sacks, founder and President of Tourism Economics and is something the chamber is working toward for Granite Falls.
Explore Minnesota also offers co-op advertising rates that any business can take advantage of, stop into the chamber office for more information or check out the industry section of their website http://www.exploreminnesota.com/industry-minnesota/. The Granite Falls CVB takes advantage of Explore Minnesota's annual tourism grant that funds almost half of advertising dollars spent to promote our town. The chamber and CVB are members of the Southern Minnesota Tourism Association, a branch of Explore Minnesota. This organization promotes the southern part of Minnesota with print, online and e-mail marketing strategies. Many types of businesses can have a free listing on Explore Minnesota's website. Stop into the chamber office for help setting up your listing.
The Andrew J. Volstead House at 163 Prentice St., Granite Falls will become more of national story as we get closer to the 100 year anniversary of Prohibition and the Volstead Act in 2019. Some of the laws were passed in 1918.
In 2022 we will be celebrating the 100 year anniversary of the Capper-Volstead Act which is still being used by cooperative organizations. The Granite Falls Historical Society manages this house museum which is owned by the City of Granite Falls. Last year, the house foundation was repaired with a grant from the Minnesota Historical Society, further work on the porch and exterior will be completed this summer and a second grant is in process right now to get the architectural plans completed for this work.
The story of Andrew Volstead and his family needs to be updated. Most of the old interpretative panels from the 1970s have been removed to create a home atmosphere. House museums are changing with the modern era of video and digital information, new ways to engage the public are needed. Recently the Granite Falls Historical Society applied for and received a MHS grant that will create an interpretive plan for the Volstead House . Museology Museum Services, a consulting and exhibit planning organization, was hired and will start work in January to create a new interpretive plan for the Volstead House. The plan will include connecting places in the downtown where Andrew Volstead worked as mayor and lawyer. The historical society board of directors is excited to work with Museology on this project. We are also looking for new board members. This is an exciting time to join and help with the new project. Our board meetings are every second Thursday at 6:30 PM at the Volstead House Museum.
With the Fagen Fighter's WWII Museum, Yellow Medicine County Museum and other nearby historic sites, Granite Falls has an opportunity to bring visitors to town who are interested in history. The Minnesota Historical Society is looking to Granite Falls to celebrate these important anniversaries.