Posted: June 23rd, 2011 | Author: Julie | Filed under: Uncategorized | 2 Comments »
Photo Credit: Jon Heller
You know me, but you don’t.
This will be my 67th year in Bemidji, and I wish I could tell you all the things I’ve seen,
but honey, there just isn’t enough room on the internet.
I’m the Bemidji Jaycees’ Entertainment Tent.
Let’s make sure you have that right, my name is Entertainment Tent, OK? Some sloppy
people will hastily call me a “Beer Tent.”
I hate that.
Our Jaycees’ put me up every year not so they can sling beer. There’s so much more
going on in and around my canopy going on that to call me a “beer tent” is a slap in the
This weekend, for example, I will be up for the annual Fishing Has No Boundaries event.
What great memories we’ve seen. If you get the chance, you really should help out.
You’d definitely put a smile on someone’s face and shine a light in their heart forever.
So, don’t call me that. But you don’t have to call me by such a long drawn out name
like “Entertainment Tent,” either. Call me E.T. for short, cuz I am otherworldly I tell ya.
Then of course, there’s the big show a few days later — the Water Carnival. This year
will be the Jaycees’ 67th. Through such things as a multitude of family and children
events (and yes, the beer sales) our Bemidji Jaycees pump tens of thousands of dollars
back into our community to such organizations as the Fire Department and Citizen’s
My size (very long by pretty wide and awful tall) may have you thinking I could double
as a circus tent. If you ever have been associated with the Jaycees, you know that the
days, weeks and months leading up to my erection are nothing less than circuslike,
but make no mistake, when the show starts those guys work together like a well oiled
That’s why every year the Water Carnival seems to get bigger and parts get better and
better. The Fourth of July fireworks that the Jaycees fund (in part through a corporate
fundraising campaign) are the biggest Independence Day show for at least 100 miles in
And THAT is what really blows wind up my skirt: the people (like the Jaycees, for
example) who come together, work with one another to make this town, my town,
Bemidji, not just a town, but a community, working for the betterment of all.
I hope I can help doing that for another 67 years.
Slideshow of set up HERE
written by: Ryan Thomas
Bemidji Jaycees Member
Posted: June 20th, 2011 | Author: Julie | Filed under: Surrounding area: Laporte | Tags: award winning, Bemidji, Forestedge, John Wildmo, MN, Paul Shuster, Sharon Shuster, This is my town, winery | 3 Comments »
To make award winning wine everyone knows that you first start with grapes. Preferably grapes raised under the sun in the Napa Valley of California. To think of doing anything else would be crazy….right?
Photo from HERE
What if someone decided to use rhubarb grown in the cold Spring frost of Minnesota?
Surely they would be considered crazy.
Well, John Wildmo along with Paul and Sharon Shuster were just crazy enough to attempt such a venture. In 2000 they opened their winery outside of Bemidji in Laporte, MN
Eleven years later they are producing 7 “fruit wines” and winning more awards then they are able to display. One might say now that they were crazy like a fox.
Producing 5000 bottles in the first year they found themselves in an interesting predicament;
they ran out of wine.
Since then they have become the 6th largest winery (out of 32) in the state of Minnesota.
Starting out with a 24×40 building they found the need to quickly upgrade and expand.
It became evident that using barrels was not going to work to meet the production demands.
Adding thirteen 600 gallon Italian stainless steel tanks was a huge leap of faith.
However, they soon found themselves ordering even more tanks calling for further expansions.
Things have run mostly by hand-
bottling, labeling, corking.
At one point they were hand bottling and casing up to 300 bottles an hour .
In 2009 they purchased a bottler allowing them to produce up to 125-150 cases a day,
(even now I noticed on their wine list that they are out of two varieties,
a nice problem to have I am sure)
Early Season White Cranberry
Headwaters Classic Red Wine
Providing a grape-less wine has been their ticket. When I asked the guys what they liked best about their experience they summed it up quickly:
- We were successful
- We did what we set out to do
- We enjoy what we do
I must say that being at the winery and having a wine maker teach me HOW to drink wine, this non-wine drinker had her first sip of wine that she enjoyed (white cranberry).
In a Year:
5 tons of sugar
10,000 lbs of rhubarb from their own 2 acres
2000 lbs of strawberries
30,000 bottles of wine produced and sold
all with 3 employees.
Forestedge Winery is the perfect example of Minnesota determination mixed with local talent to bring us a hometown, award winning wine for our enjoyment.
More photographs can be found HERE
Located: From Bemidji- Take US Hwy 71 S to Kabekona. Take MN Hwy 200 E until the junction of MN Hwy 64. Turn right and take 64 south. Forestedge Winery is situated on the right side of the road.
Forestedge’s Website can be found HERE
Open: May through December
six days a week and closed on Mondays
Tuesday- Saturday 10-5:30, Sunday 12-5
Winery Photographs by: Jon Heller
Story by: Julie Saari
Posted: June 9th, 2011 | Author: Julie | Filed under: Uncategorized | 2 Comments »
Until this morning I was not familiar with Shelby Bjerke. She is a 5th Grade student at Lincoln Elementary School here in Bemidji, MN. As I listened to the brave students who stood up to share a few words with their fellow classmates and their families (I mean public speaking is hard, but in 5th grade! wow!) Shelby’s speech stood out. Read and see what I mean:
by Shelby Bjerke
Lincoln Elementary School
Photo by Julie Saari
Lincoln School, to some people it’s just a name, a school, with no emotion towards it’s real virtue. But to the students who go here and to the adults who work along side them it’s a place filled to the brim with love, friendship, happiness, laughter, and kindness shining through like sunlight from Lincoln’s many windows.
To the children who will come here next year Lincoln’s an exciting school filled with kids to befriend, to the kindergartners it’s classrooms filled so full with toys, crayons, and new friendships they don’t know where to step!
For the first graders it’s learning to read and write and add and subtract, it’s having their name put on a special piece of paper when they lose a tooth.
To the second graders it’s having their name on a wall [for reading progress], a ride in a limousine and a dilly bar, it’s AVE classes, and A.R. Ceremonies [Accelerated Reading].
For Third graders it’s MCA Tests, and funny teachers, it’s being in another class from your best friend which drives you CRAZY, it’s building rockets, and planting trees.
To the Fourth Graders it’s Chorus, and fun trips, it’s track and field, and teachers with wit, it’s fear of the next year, and what’s to come, and relief that it’s not quite there yet.
For the Fifth Graders it’s letting go inch by inch, of the school that took us and changed us bit by bit, and became such a part of our lives that we can’t begin to imagine life without Lincoln School.
But, there is also the knowledge that today when we walk out those doors and can no longer truthfully call ourselves Lincoln students, we can march right back in and say, “I am a Lincoln Laker and always will be” with all the truth in the world, because:
Lincoln isn’t just a school; it’s a lifestyle.
Lincoln isn’t just a school; it’s a community.
Lincoln isn’t just a school; it’s a home.
The school makes the student
The student makes the teacher
The teacher makes the school