A small town can still throw a great party - and that's just what residents of Porter have planned for this weekend.
The Porter Harvest Festival starts Friday, and festival organizers said this week that the community is looking forward to its annual get-together. Besides hosting a variety of activities, the festival serves as a kind of reunion for families and friends.
"We have a good time. A lot of people who grew up in Porter and moved away come back for the weekend," said Chad Moeller, one of the many Porter residents helping to organize the festival. "The people getting together is probably the biggest highlight."
With so many people coming back, participation in the different festival activities tends to be strong.
"For the beanbag tournament, we always get 32 teams every year," Moeller said. Returning events, like the Harvest Festival softball tournament and car and tractor shows, have stayed popular as well.
The festival starts off Friday night with a community supper and a "North vs. South" softball game. The game pits Porter residents from north of Minnesota Highway 68 against residents from south of the highway. The temporary rivalry is all in good fun, Moeller said.
The sense of the Harvest Festival being a friendly get-together may also lend itself to some creativity in thinking up festival events. Besides events like the softball tournament and games for kids, there will be local couples doing stunts to earn the title of "Porter Survivor," and events like a 5K cross-country fun run and a lawn mower poker run.
"That was something we came up with last year," said poker run organizer Charlie Anderson. Participants in the event will take their lawn mowers to different stops around the north side of Porter.
"We had 35 lawn mowers last year," Anderson said - including one old-fashioned push mower. "We're hoping for 40 or more this year."
Music and entertainment will be a big part of the festival, with outdoor music on both Friday and Saturday night, as well as a free kids' dance at the Porter community hall. The fun continues through Sunday, with a grilling competition and a pie and ice cream social at Bethel Lutheran Church in Porter.
5-7 p.m. Porter Development supper and fundraiser at Porter Cafe
6 p.m. Lawn mower poker run
7 p.m. North vs. South co-ed softball game
7:30 p.m. Senior Citizen King and Queen coronation
9 p.m.-midnight Music and dancing with Al Hansen at Schoneman Memorial Park
8 a.m. Registration for 5K cross country run/walk
8 a.m. Wood bat softball tournament begins
9 a.m.-noon Omelet breakfast fundraiser for the Porter Hall
Noon Kiddy tractor pull
1 p.m. Horse show at Porter Trail Dusters Saddle Club
1-4 p.m. Tractor and equipment show. Tractor games at 1:30 p.m.
1-3 p.m. Car show
1-3 p.m. Kids' games and mini-carnival
3:30 p.m. Cow pie bingo
4:30-6:30 p.m. Whopper Wagon at Schoneman Memorial Park
6 p.m. Bean bag tournament
7-11 p.m. Free kids' dance at Porter Hall
8 p.m.-midnight Street dance at Cut Loose Lounge
Softball tournament continues
8 a.m.-1 p.m. Breakfast/brunch buffet at Porter Cafe
10 a.m. Church services and fellowship at Bethel Lutheran Church.
1:30 p.m. Grilling competition at Schoneman Memorial Park shelter. Cost is $6 for a plate and voting rights. Limited to 100 plates.
4-7 p.m. Ice cream, pie and barbecue social at Bethel Lutheran Church.