Certainly, one of the most well attended events of this summer in Granite was the Kiwanis’ Popcorn Stand Centennial party on August 1st. The size of the crowd was hard to judge but the 500 souvenir root beer cups that were given away were gone well before the event was over. That didn’t stop the 1919 Root Beer from flowing however and the standard cups were brought out to meet the crowd’s thirst.

Allen and Rae Ann Arneson and their family, of Sleepy Eye, are owners of the 1919 Root Beer brand and are Granite Falls natives. They generously donated four 16-gallon kegs and two eight-gallon kegs of root beer, a total of 80 gallons, as well as delivering their 1919 Root Beer trailer for the Kiwanis’ use at no cost. Al told me that night that he and Rae Ann had sold their longtime Grain Belt Beer distributorship business in Sleepy Eye to Locher Brothers Distributing, but he said they kept their 1919 Root Beer business and their kids are involved with that. The Arneson family deserves a very large thank you for their generosity.

Once the Kiwanis’ popcorn popper started it never stopped, keeping three volunteers busy inside the stand and leaving no extra room. Popcorn stand chief organizer Les Bergquist told me that they went through approximately 125 pounds of popcorn and somewhere around 20 pounds of butter that evening. The popcorn popping started early and Les said at one point, he was feeling a bit weary from the steady popping and then realized it was only a few minutes after 7 o’clock, normally the time the popcorn stand opens up.

Last week’s newspaper featured a photo showing the long popcorn stand line stretching past the newspaper office door. That line was there almost all evening, and sales exceeded that of any other single day in the popcorn stand’s 100-year history. Those sales will go toward another year of children-focused and community-minded generous donations by the local Kiwanis Club. In 2018, the popcorn stand revenue enabled the Kiwanis to donate over $28,000 to various community projects or programs that benefit children in the community.

Those donations are possible because the huge area-wide support for that little popcorn stand and the countless volunteer hours spent there by the Granite Falls Kiwanis Club members. A big thanks from the entire community to all those volunteers and to the hundreds of customers who support the Popcorn Stand and the good deeds and ideas and it helps support in our area.

Speaking of events, it seems like there has been something happening in our area nearly every weekend and sometimes during the week, all summer. Starting in June with Western Fest and Fiesta Days in Monte, there has been a steady stream of events and celebrations in our nearby area.

July brought Maynard’s annual Fourth of July celebration, Clarkfield Cardinal Days and Sacred Heart’s Summerfest celebration. August kicked off with the annual Upper Sioux Wacipi and the Pioneer Power Threshing show in Hanley Falls. There was the Yellow Medicine County Fair and the Chippewa County Fair and last weekend was the annual Ride to Remember motorcycle event and street dance at the American Legion in Sorlien Park in Granite. This weekend is the Minnesota Valley Threshing show near Monte, next week is the Wood Lake Fair, and there is a rodeo in Maynard on Saturday August 24th.

Add the various golf tournaments, baseball and softball tournament, some fundraisers and a few one-time events like the Popcorn Stand Centennial and it adds up to a lot happening in our nearby area. There is no shortage of things to do. As I mentioned earlier, next Monday through Wednesday, August 19-21, brings us the annual Wood Lake Fair. The lively fair each year marks the approach of the end of summer and always draws a nice crowd. It’s a slice of small-town life at its best and not to be missed.

The Twins have enticed their fans this summer with a salty mix of success and more lately some very heart-breaking stumbles. Their hold on sole possession of first place in the Central Division since late April came to an end this week when the surging Cleveland ball club took three out of four games at Target Field, tying the Twins for the top spot. That changed when Cleveland beat Boston on Monday when the Twins were idle, and the Twin found themselves in second place for the first time in three and a half months.

The old saying that you win with pitching seems to be more true than ever. At a time when the Twins starting pitchers are struggling to get through five innings and their bullpen is taxed and leaking runs, Cleveland’s starters and bullpen are stronger than ever. Cleveland’s pitching staff is so deep that they are winning without their ace Corey Kluber who is out with a long-term injury and they could afford to trade away one of their remaining starters, always a hot commodity at trade deadline, for two big bats to bolster their lineup.

Meanwhile, the Twins, due to injuries, are temporarily with out their hottest bat, Nelson Cruz, and their best fielder, Byron Buxton. That hurts. And, adding salt to the wound, Sam Dyson, one of the relief pitchers they traded for in late July showed up unable to pitch effectively and was put on the injured list. Is all lost? Not by a mile. There are six weeks and 44 games left, six of them with Cleveland. Much good can happen and those of us who are die-hard Twins fans will be hanging on and cheering them on. It’s been already been a fun ride and hopefully will get even more interesting.