My family loves to fish (I went on my first fishing trip to Canada when I was 6 months old!) So it was a huge honor for me to be invited by Explore Minnesota Tourism and Visit St Cloud to the 70th Annual Governor's Fishing Opener!
Every year a new city is chosen to host the opener. This year it was St Cloud's turn to shine. Outdoorsmen (and outdoorswomen!), politicians, reporters, national news channels, professional fishermen & fisherwomen and outdoor sporting goods brands all swarmed into St Cloud for the weekend!
It was an absolutely perfect weekend weather-wise. And since fishing didn't officially start until Saturday, the first few days were all about enjoying the area. Visitors played golf, went on kayak tours, quarry tours, campus tours, biking, picnics and more!
I started my day by accompanying a small group of media folks out for a tour of St John's University.
There was so much to see, to learn and photograph there! I could've spent the entire day wandering the lovely Abbey!
However, soon we were led on a short walk through the beautiful campus.
Our next stop was to the pottery studio on campus. This is not just where students come to blow off steam and throw a pot.. It is the very zenlike home-base of many nationally renown potters!
This is where you go AFTER you graduate college. Advanced studies. It is very disciplined and has a wonderful artist-in-residence.
Finally, we stopped at the library (which is also architecturally stunning) and viewed the St John's Bible. A completely hand-written bible that took years and many people to create.
The library is home to many many precious and rare manuscripts. It was so interesting to learn about! They are opening a new gallery soon and I hope to make it up there for the opening!
We took a mid-day break and had lunch at the most charming restaurant! Anton's decor is truly frozen in time from the days of prohibition. Food was great too! Every meal came with a mouth-watering giant popover!
After a lovely tour at St John's and a quiet lunch - it was time to rev it up a bit with a jet-boat tour of the Mississippi! This event was hosted by the Minnesota DNR.
My friend Jessica (from MNBucketList.com) and I took the side seats (better for photos!) and stuck a journalist in the middle! Poor guy had to listen to us laugh and laugh as we zoomed up and down the gorgeous river.
We ended our day at the community picnic. This is where the folks from out of town got to meet and mingle with the residents of St Cloud. I met a lot of really lovely people. You can tell there is a lot of pride in this town! The party had great food and a live band.
As we walked home from the picnic, we had fun recapping our day! St Cloud really did "shine" for its visitors! What a great way to kick off the Fishing Opener weekend!
Thank you to Explore Minnesota for the invite and to Visit St Cloud for the hospitality!