Tourism Matters: September Edition

The September 2018 edition of Tourism Matters, the official newsletter of Visit Winona, is now available. 

Boats and Bluegrass Festival to rock Prairie Island

The popular Boats and Bluegrass Music Festival, taking place September 27-30, is the perfect Mississippi get-together. Featuring artists both national and local, the festival will play host to over 40 bands including, but not limited to, Horseshoes & Handgrenades, Pert Near Sandstone, Fruition, Billy Strings, Last Revel, Dead Horses, and Them Coulee Boys.

Located at Prairie Island Campground in Winona MN, on the shores of the Mississippi River, the festival will hold over 2,000 people. This family friendly festival features music, camping, kids activities, and canoe/kayak/SUP (stand up paddle board) rentals, all included in the purchase of a weekend ticket. Kids under 16 get in free with a paying adult.

In partnership with Visit Winona, their will be a limited amount of discounted All-Weekend Passes available by using the code VisitWinona at our online ticketing system found on our website.

For more information, visit or find us on Facebook and Instagram.

Great Dakota Gathering Homecoming and All Nations Wacipi: Protecting the Life Givers

The 15th annual Great Dakota Gathering will be September 8-9 at Unity Park in Winona and will feature kids’ games, storytelling, Grand Entry and tribal dances, talk circle, indigenous learning tent, unity feast, sunrise ceremony, and more. For a full list of events, visit

6th Annual Ride the Ridges includes scenic views, amenities

In its sixth year, Ride the Ridges offers a premier bicycle tour through the scenic blufflands of southeastern Minnesota on September 15. The ride, hosted by the Winona Rotary Club, offers four routes, ranging from 23 miles to a 105-mile Century. All routes have sag support vehicles and well-stocked rest stops. Rider amenities include detailed maps and cue sheets, RTR socks, and a post-ride party. Event proceeds will support local and international nutrition and literacy projects, including the Food Program through Winona Volunteer Services, Feed My Starving Children, and the Dictionary Project. Visit for information.

Annie Hejney: Waterlines opens at the MMAM

Opening August 31 and running through January 6, 2019 at the Minnesota Marine Art Museum (MMAM), is Annie Hejny: Waterlines. Twin Cities-based artist Annie Hejny creates abstract paintings with honorably-harvested water and sediment from her home state – Minnesota. Waterlines includes new works, primarily focused on the Mississippi River, including the shoreline outside of MMAM. “My abstract paintings reflect the changing current, the luminosity of the water’s surface and the foreboding shift in our relationship to local waters,” says Hejny. Hejny aims to emulate the natural cycles of water with the goal of honoring the water’s sacred importance and to highlight the need for water conservation. Hejny will be giving a free Gallery Walk and Talk on Saturday, September 15 from 11 a.m. – noon, where she will share her inspirations and techniques behind her work.

Image credit: Annie Hejny, Lake Pepin Disposition, 2018. 

Celebrating history at annual Pickwick Mill Day

On Saturday, September 8, the Pickwick Mill will sponsor an event for all to enjoy. The day will start with an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast from 7 a.m. – 10 a.m. There will be free admission to the Mill, where “history comes to life” through hands-on demonstrations of pottery making, flint knapping, black-smithing, rope making and live music throughout the day. Other events include a performance by the La Crosse Log Rollers, fire department water fight, a meal served from noon – 3 p.m., or until food is gone, a silent auction ending at 3 p.m., and a pie sale throughout the day. Raffle tickets are currently available, with the drawings at 4 p.m. The day will surely be a celebration of activities for the whole family. For more information visit

Music, food and more at the next Live@the Levee

WINONArts is partnering with Mid West Music  Fest to create an unforgettable Live at the Levee lineup on September 9 from 1 p.m. – 10 p.m., featuring international indie pop sensation and Iowa native LISSIE. Also included are Erik Koskinen, Nooky Jones, and the Brothers Allmanac. Come out to enjoy the day-long festival of artisan vendors, food trucks and craft beers and beverages, family fun, outdoor games, and most important of all: World-class music! For more information visit the WINONArts and Mid West Music Fest Facebook pages.

American Queen to dock at Levee Park

The American Queen Steamboat, the largest steamboat ever built, will dock in Winona at Levee Park on Saturday, September 15, from 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. The cruise’s theme is “Heartland Heritage” and travels the “upper reaches of the Mississippi River,” stopping at five ports until its final destination in Red Wing. Passengers will have an opportunity to experience Winona’s tourist attractions through a hop-on hop-off bus tour, with step-on guides provided by the Winona County Historical Society. Winona residents are encouraged to come to Levee Park to welcome the passengers and view this majestic boat; tours of the boat are not open to the public. For more information, contact the Visit Winona office at 507-452-0735.

Page Series launches season in September

The Page Series at Saint Mary’s University kicks off the 2018-2019 season with Mixed Precipitation’s Picnic Operetta on Sunday, September 16 at 3 p.m., in Winona’s Unity Park. Don’t miss this Minnesota tradition featuring Otto Nicolai’s opera The Merry Wives of Windsor, the anthems of Bruce Springsteen, a sprinkling of Minnesota history, and picnic bites shared with the audience. 

The Series continues September 20 at 7:30 p.m., at the SMU Page Theatre with Ecuadorian-Colombian marimba ensemble Río Mira. Rooted in the East African diaspora traditions, Río Mira specializes in blending contemporary music with traditional sounds that date back hundreds of years. 

The Page Series also launches The Cedar Tree Project this month with an exhibit of Lebanese photographer Fadi BouKaram’s Lebanon, USA, on view at The Outpost September 6-23, and at the Page Theatre September 26-October 26. Additional events are also scheduled. 

For tickets or more information, visit or call 507-457-1715 (12 – 6 p.m., weekdays).

Season of Arts at WSU

Community members, visitors and campus faculty, staff and students are invited to enjoy another season of arts on the Winona State University campus.

  • Tuesday, September 11 at 7:30 p.m.: Dave Marck Jazz Quartet, Performing Arts Center (PAC) Vivian Fusillo Main Stage.
  • Thursday, September 27 at 7:30 p.m.: Guest artist recital featuring Dr. Mike Chesher and Dr. Tod Kerstetter, PAC Recital Hall; free admission.
  • Friday, September 14 & Saturday, September 15 at 7 p.m.: Gidion’s Knot with the WSU Theatre & Dance Department, PAC DBM Black Box Theatre; General Public tickets: $12.

Box office hours are Monday, September 10 through Friday, September 14 from 12 – 4 p.m., & one hour before each performance. Purchase tickets online at

Enjoy “Me Time” at the Visitor Center

 Self-Care Awareness Month in September is a time to remind us that taking care of ourselves, first and foremost, is essential. Stop into the Winona Visitor Center, 924 Huff Street, on Thursday, September 13 from  7 p.m., for just a bit of “Me Time.” Relax and reflect during free mini-sessions with Infinity Chiropractic Wellness Center & Yoga Studio

and Muddy Waters Yoga Studio; September is also National Yoga Month! Enjoy live music while sampling wine and perusing our Winona gear. Enter to win prizes, and participate in the nationwide conversation by using the following hashtags when posting on your social media accounts: #SelfCareAwarenessMonth #selflove #selfcarechallenge #evolvetolive. Call 507-452-0735 for more information or go to


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