Faribault Airfest and Balloon Rally is Returning in 2013!

The organizers of the Faribault Airfest and Balloon Rally have announced that the event will be returning in 2013! The Airfest and Balloon Rally will be held on September 13&14 at the Faribault Airport.
This very fun and successful event needed to be postponed that last couple of years due to major construction at the Faribault Airport where the event was held. Organizers did not want a smaller or watered down event while trying to side-step the construction, so they felt they should just hold off and come back full-throttle with another great event. Details of everything that will be happening at this year’s event are being planned now. Check back to this website or contact the Tourism office at the Faribault Chamber for more details in the Spring.

Top 10 Things that Happend for Tourism in Faribault for 2012

10. Finally a Gift Store Opens
Don’t let the name fool you, there were many other places in Faribault you could buy lovely gifts. However, this unique store in downtown Faribault  owned by Jana Viscomi who also owns Bernies Grill/Vintage ballroom & Suites (www.vintageballroom.com) which is right across the street, has those local Faribault items that have long been a void here. So next time you visit Faribault, go to Finally a Gift Store and pick up some great gift items for friends and family – and get a Faribault sweater for you!

9.  The Announcement of the return of the Faribault Area Balloon Rally & Airfest!
After the 2009 Faribault Balloon Rally & Airfest, which was by far the most successful and best show ever put on in its 25 year history, major construction projects happend at the Faribault Airport.  These construction projects greatly effected the areas of the airport where the show happend, including the field where the parking area was.  With no parking for thousands of cars and no place the FAA would allow a show to be put on, it was just impossible to hold a show at the airport.  The Airfest Board considered having a show in another part of town, but worried about “a watered” down event after the success of the 2009 show.  Keep an eye on this webpage for more information about the Airfest which will be held on September 13 & 14 2013.

8. Faribault enjoys the biggest year ever for large bus groups visiting Faribault.
Coach buses came – and they kept coming!  A total of 26 buses/large groups came to Faribault in 2012 which our Tourism office asssisted with.  Where did they go in Faribault?  They went to: The Cheese Cave, Paradise Center for the Arts, Shopping downtown Faribault, Schools for the Deaf & Blind, Cathedral of our Merciful Saviour, Woolen Mill, Ivan Whillock Studio, Alexander Faribault House, Rice County Historical Museum, Faribault Energy Park, Roberds Lake Resort, Shattuck St. Mary’s School, Donahues Greenhouse, Faribault Farmer Seed & Nursery to name just a few!  Many of the groups also did drive-by history tours.  We are looking forward to another great year in 2013 and even some bus overnights!




7. Brand New Visitor Guide and Map for Faribault!
We spent a lot of time in 2012 creating and perfecting a new Faribault Map and Visitor Guide.  We are really proud of it, you can view it on this website – or request a paper copy of it to be sent directly to you by going to the “Contact” link.

6. Faribault has very successful year with local Events.
Faribault once again hosted the State BBQ competition at the Rice County Fairgrounds in May, the Heritage Celebration in June made it all 4 days with very little rain, the Rice County Fair was held in July to with big crowds, August saw the Blue Collar BBQ and Art Fair which is increasing in its popularity every year and in October the Downtown hosted the Fall Festival and Chili competition.

5. Trippin with Perk visits Faribault!
Eric Perkins from KARE-11 the NBC station out of Minneapolis St. Paul visited Faribault in February for a segment called, “Trippin with Perk.”  The segment had so much great stuff that Faribault had to offer, they couldn’t show it all on their 10pm broadcast.  To see the whole piece, you had to go to the KARE-11 website – you can also view the finished product down below.

4. Paradise Center for the Arts has successful year of shows.
One of the biggest tourism hot spots in Faribault is the beautiful Paradise Center for the Arts.  This year the theater was booked with great entertainment nearly every week of the year.  During 2012 the Paradise was proud to host comedians Louie Anderson, Kevin Meaney, Scott Hanson, Jim Wiggins, Dan Cole and C. Willi Myles.  There was music from Boss Grant & the Johnny Cash Revue, Best of Broadway, Red Rock Canyon and the Sounds of the Season.  Theater performances were huge for the Paradise this year, the Merlin Players showcased “The Last Five Years,” “A Year with Frog and Toad,” and “Nunsense.” The Paradise Community Theater did “Noises Off,” “Into the Woods,” “The Car,” and the most attended play in the history of the Paradise, “Willy Wonka.”


3. It was a GREAT year to be near or on a Faribault Lake.
Because of such an early Spring (75 degrees on March 18!) and a late Fall (75 degrees on Thanksgiving!) there were plenty of oppotunities to visit one of Faribault’s 10 nearby lakes to see a view like this:

2. Sakatah State Trail was paved/widened and expansion of city trails.
The trails around Faribault have always been one of our best assets and 2012 was a great year for those bikers, walkers and rollerbladers who enjoy them.  Even though we are blessed with the River Bend Nature Center, 750 acres of trails right in the city limits – many people head for the flat Sakatah State Trail which lets them pass by lakes & prairies while visiting quaint towns.  Faribault is the hub of the Sakatah State Trail that goes 39-miles to Mankato, so we see many people from around the State come to Faribault to start their journey.  Now with the trail getting a smooth makeover along with some new bridges, we plan on seeing lots more folks coming to Faribault.



1. The Faribault Woolen Mill Back in Production – Opens a new Retail Store
So technically both of these things happend in 2011.  However, full production at the Mill didn’t kick in until 2012 and while there was a small retail store at the factory – the remodeled new version opened in the Spring of 2012.  And it was in 2012 that the Faribault Woolen Mill went National with news of their “Made in America” message on all of the major TV networks.  Just last month Esquire magazine listed the Mill in its list of “Great American Things.”  All of Faribault benefits when a Historic Business like the Faribault Woolen Mill is open because so many people from around Minnesota and the world are familiar with the name and brand.  And it seems like most of them came to Faribault in 2012 to buy a piece of history they thought might be gone forever in 2010.

Paradise Center for the Arts – Come See a Show in Faribault!

One of the best (if not THE BEST!) theater to see plays, musicals, comedians or live music is the Paradise Center for the Arts in downtown Faribault.  First, a little history:

The Faribault Opera House was built in 1893, prior to that entertainment events were held in a variety of “halls” around the city. The name “opera” was used, although the shows were considerably more diverse, because the term “theater” was not considered refined enough.

From 1893 to 1899, the Opera House was the site of Shakespearean plays, lectures, Minneapolis Symphony concerts and an actual opera or two.

Like many other midwestern Opera Houses , it was converted to a moving picture venue (called the Grand Theater) in 1908 before succumbing to fire in 1929. (In 1884, this site, now home to the Paramount Theater building, housed a roller skating rink at the height of a national craze for this activity.)

View a video made the the Faribault Heritage Preservation Committee http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbFOMuP-PRw that details the beginnings of this beautiful theater.

After the fire in 1929, Paramount Pictures owned the theater and showed movies there.  Local businessmen purchased the theater and ran it as a movie theater until 1991.  In recent years the beauty and elegance of this once beautiful atmospheric theater has been restored though strong fundraising efforts and the work of the Faribault Art Center and Faribault Community Theater groups.  The new Paradise Center for the Arts is now a community cultural center with an elegant art gallery, pottery studio, rehearsal rooms, art classrooms and a state of the art theater with stage.















Don’t miss out on these great upcoming shows!







December 7, 8, 13, 14, 15 at 7:30pm
December 9, 16 at 2:00pm

Tickets – (507) 332-7372







Taste of Faribault – Friday, September 14

Sponsored by:
1st United Bank, Valley Staffing, KORN-Radio
Friday, September 14
5-8 pm
American Legion

Delicious food samples, beer, wine and beverages from over 25 vendors.
Savor fabulous food and a variety of beverages while listening to music, connecting with friends and
watching live food demonstrations.

Tickets on sale now: $18 in advance (or buy 5 get 1 free).
Tickets are $20 at the door.

Get tickets or for more information contact:
Faribault Chamber of Commerce & Tourism
530 Wilson Avenue – Faribault