The three-day Upper Minnesota River Art Crawl, also known as “The Meander”, is just around the corner.

The three-day Upper Minnesota River Art Crawl, also known as “The Meander”, is just around the corner. The first weekend in October nearly 50 artists in over 30 studios will open their art rooms and workshops to share their fine art to folk art with weekend guests. Hundreds of people from far and near will travel the self-guided tour along the Minnesota River Valley, stretching from Granite Falls to Ortonville.

Right in the center of the Meander tour, visitors will find Milan, a quaint, artsy community. One can visit several artists as well as enjoy a delicious, home-made lunch in the old Milan school building. It only makes sense to plan the noon hour, or more, in the warm, welcoming small town.

The Greater Milan Initiative will again be serving their home-made meal in the community dining room of the old Milan school. Of special interest on the menu is their renowned home-made, home-grown, vegetable beef soup.

“We are fortunate to have Double D Natural Meats of Milan donate all the ingredients for the soup - their locally raised beef as well as their home-grown vegetables,” noted Jane Link, coordinator of the noon event.

The best ingredients make the best soup. For this recipe, it means beef from grass-fed cattle, no antibiotics and no hormones, and only the freshest tomatoes, beans, carrots and potatoes from Bev’s garden.

“Bev Struxness not only donates the items, but also is part of the team that makes the soup.” Starting Thursday afternoon, Bev will be joined by two other excellent Milan cooks, Saundra Moe and Judy Thompson. The ladies will again use their culinary skills to have the soup all ready for the Meander visitors Saturday and Sunday.

In addition to the vegetable beef soup, chili and chicken wild rice soup will be available. Egg salad and ham sandwiches as well as dessert and coffee will also be on the menu. The soup and sandwich lunch will be served 10:00 to 2:00 Saturday and 11:00 to 2:00 Sunday. Link noted that lunch guests may purchase items individually, or opt for the “whole meal deal”.  

The Old Milan School building is also a Meander site, where three artists will have their works on display. Two additional artists will be set up just across town in the Milan Village Art School. Make sure you leave time to visit them all.

Another level of excitement will be added Friday evening at The Village Art School, where Director Ron Porep will announce their new schedule of classes for the next year. “Classes fill up quickly, so students will want to check out the schedule as soon as possible,” Porep said.

The Soup and Sandwich Luncheon is being held as a fundraiser by GMI, the Greater Milan Initiative, a non-profit organization that owns and operates the former Milan school building. All proceeds from the luncheon will go to GMI for maintenance and support of the Milan building.

The entire building is used on a regular basis for many events, art studios, classes, 4-H, athletic events and community education. Many wedding receptions, dances, parties, and special programs continue to be held in the unique setting.

The 2018 Meander Upper Minnesota River Art Crawl is set to kick off Friday evening, October 5th, and run through Sunday, October 7th.

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