The McLeod County Historical Society’s annual pork chop picnic fundraiser will be at the reconstructed McLeod County Fairgrounds Pavilion on June 21. This is a change from past years. The Pavilion is a popular gathering spot during the annual Minnesota Garlic Festival (pictured here) as well as the McLeod County Fair.

Does it feel like summer yet?

It seems like just yesterday that we were dodging snowplows and wearing coats. Barring an unusual act from Mother Nature, I think we’ve finally turned the seasonal corner and can look forward to some summer fun.

Speaking of summer, I thought I’d use this week’s column to update everyone on upcoming summer events of the McLeod County Historical Society.

To kick off the season, the MCHS is holding its annual Pork Chop Picnic from 4:30-7 p.m. Friday, June 21. This year we’ve decided to spice things up. Instead of hosting the event at the museum, we’re moving it to the Pavilion at the Mcleod County Fairgrounds. In addition, we’ve decided to add hot dogs and watermelon to the menu, but that’s not all. To make the event family friendly we’ll be including a bounce castle, a Silver Lake fire truck, a Hutchinson ambulance and a McLeod County Sheriff’s Office cruiser for the kids to explore. Also, there’ll be a clown on site as well as yard games. It should be a great summer kickoff event!

At 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, June 25, the MCHS is hosting its monthly Breakfast Club for members. For those who aren’t familiar, it takes place the fourth Tuesday of each month. There’s coffee, orange juice, donuts and usually a few other varieties of breakfast snacks to enjoy. We’ve had speakers for the past few meetings, but this month we’ll be trying something different and hosting a roundtable discussion.

Since most who attend Breakfast Club are readers of this column, the discussion will revolve around some of the topics of past articles. Remember, this is a members-only event, so be sure to stop in and renew your membership or purchase a new one for as low as $25 annually.

On Friday, July 19, the museum will host “Show-and-Tell.” Those of us who have historic items of any type are invited to the museum from 1-3 p.m. to display their items. If interested, stop in or call the museum and fill out a sign-up form. If you’re planning to come and view, but not to show, we’ll have coffee and lemonade available while you browse.

The MCHS will once again be at the McLeod County Fair from Aug. 14-19. Last year, in addition to an indoor booth that showcased county history, we ran a dunk tank outside. I have to say that it was the most fun I had all summer. I couldn’t believe how many people were excited to throw a ball at one of the various local officials, officers or celebrities who sat in the tank. It was a great fundraiser for the museum, as well as a good way for people to test their throwing arms. That being said, we’re looking to do the same in 2019.

Lastly, the MCHS is co-hosting with the Hutchinson Senior Center a bus tour to the Oliver Kelley Farm on Sept. 11. The farm is owned and operated by the Minnesota Historical Society and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There are costumed guides and a visitor center. In addition to the farm, the tour will include a stop at Rockwoods Grill with a buffet and salad bar. The bus will depart at 8 a.m. and return around 3 p.m. Registration for the tour is open July 8 through Sept. 1.

That’s all the news I have for you at the moment, so we’ll see you next week with another interesting story about the area’s history. Thanks for reading and I hope to see you soon!

Brian Haines is executive director of the McLeod County Historical Society and Museum, 380 School Road N.W., Hutchinson. Do you have a historical anecdote to share? Haines can be reached at 320-587-2109 or by email at

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