5 things to do this week
1. MatsonStrong drive-thru celebration
Waseca Officer Arik Matson came home to Freeborn on Monday, nine months after suffering a gunshot wound to the head while on duty. While celebrations took place Monday in Waseca and Freeborn, another is scheduled at 2 p.m. Saturday in Edgewater Park in Albert Lea. The drive-thru celebration of Matson will start at the west entrance of the park near the new pavilion and will exit the east end of the park onto Lakeview Boulevard. Those wishing to celebrate Matson’s homecoming can park in the parking lots available — overflow will be on the north side of the road if needed — and seating will be on the south side closest to the lake. Those attending are asked to practice social distancing, and can bring lawn chairs and blankets to line the sides of the road to watch the drive-thru throughout the park. They are encouraged to bring signs and balloons, and to wear any MatsonStrong gear they have. Food trucks will also be on hand at the park.
2. Rock Your Socks walk/run
A Rock Your Socks 3.21-mile walk/run will start at 9 a.m. Saturday from the Brookside Boathouse landing in honor of October being Down Syndrome Awareness Month. The walk was originally scheduled for Down Syndrome Awareness Day in March but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Those attending the walk/run alongside Fountain Lake are asked to “wear your crazy socks and have fun with your family and friends as we celebrate extra special individuals in our community who are rocking an extra chromosome,” according to the event’s Facebook page. A $5 minimum donation is suggested to go toward a future inclusive playground planned for Albert Lea.
3. Boo drive-thru
Local pumpkin carving talent will be on display from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Friday at Edgewater Park in Albert Lea. The free “Boo Drive-thru” will display pumpkins donated by Albert Lea’s Hy-Vee and Walmart and carved by community members. Those driving through to view the pumpkins should enter the park from the northwest side and will remain in their vehicles to practice social distancing. Those with questions can contact Albert Lea Parks and Recreation at 507-377-4370.
4. Harmony Haunted Hayride
Harmony Park in Clarks Grove will host haunted hayrides through the weekend of Halloween, where guests will be able to “travel by tractor and hay wagon through 30 terrifying acres of spooky burr oaks on Friday and Saturday nights in October,” according to the event’s Facebook page. The first rides start at 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and the last rides leave at 9:45 p.m. each night, weather permitting. The last rides on Halloween will be at 10:45 p.m. Wagons will be spaced out for safety and will run continuously as needed. The cost is $15 per person — cash only — and tickets can only be purchased at the gate; no online sales will be conducted. Same-night second rides can be purchased for $8. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, masks and social distancing will be enforced, and waivers will be required with admission. Smokin’ Bros BBQ, a full bar, cider, hot chocolate, popcorn and bonfires will be available. There will be live music on Halloween night. There is no age limit for the event; however, it is being designed for mature audiences, according to the event’s page.
5. Live acoustic music
Jeff Reinartz will perform an acoustic show from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday at Swallow Coffeehouse, 225 W. Main St. in downtown Lake Mills. Reinartz, an area musician for over 30 years, has played in several bands. His solo music leans toward folk and soft rock, but he plays an eclectic variety of cover songs while sprinkling in an occasional original from his EP “Can’t Go Back,” according to the event’s Facebook page.