Our first official event took place on February 28, 2017 for the Bird Island C&C quarterly ‘Business After Hours’ evening out.
The Bird Island Civic and Commerce puts on a quarterly event to bring together Bird Island business folks for an evening of food and activities. Typically, the event host rotates amongst various businesses or business sponsors throughout town. This event took place on “Fat Tuesday”, which is done in honor of the mythical ‘last-night-to-binge’ before what is traditionally the start of Lenten season, for those that celebrate it. C&C members were notified by mail, email, and the local newspaper (Bird Island Union) in the weeks leading up to the soft opening. Our signs were put up the day before this event by local graphic designer Jesse Hopkins with Rehab Wraps.
The event began with plenty of dinner food and desserts, shared with us by various local folks and businesses such as: Athmann’s Inn, The Broaster Cafe, and Paul Heyl with his specialty cheesecake, among a few others. Folks began to arrive around 5:00 pm and were quite excited to see the array of food and desserts that were laid out for them. It was, after all, ‘Fat Tuesday‘ so people were prepared to enjoy themselves. Folks gathered together at a few of the tables and sat around eating and enjoying their food for about a half hour. Some had time to peruse the art and historic artifacts the Centre had on display. Along many of the walls, we featured local New Ulm artist Deborah Petron. The displayed pieces are part of a wide varying collection of beautiful colored pencil pieces that will be rotated throughout the year at the Centre. All of her works of art are up for sale as part of our Deborah Petron Art Initiative to support the New Ulm and BOLD school system’s art programs and encourage art students to continue their passions. We also had on display various historic artifacts: wrought iron arrows and a prosthetic leg from the American Legion (donated by Gathering Friends Quilt Shop in Bird Island), a few of the old Bird Island Union bound collections that are available on microfilm at many of the historical society’s in the area, and a mysterious photo dating to the early-1900s that claims Bird Island was once home to a meat market.
Mid-way through the evening our Executive Director, Mariah Martinez, introduced herself to everyone and described just a few of the many programs we plan to implement at the Cultural Centre. Among them are: poetry competitions, violin lessons, CPR/First Aid classes, memoir writing workshops, language classes, mindfulness seminars, non-cell phone communication workshops, and live music from local musicians on a regular basis. These programs are only a small collection of what is possible to host at the Centre. Our Executive Director emphasized with folks in attendance that we want to hear from Bird Islanders and surrounding are residents about what they want to do at the Centre. Mariah invited the community to be teachers, students, and sharers of experience and love. She also gave them a few basic yoga techniques to take home with them, specifically geared towards people who sit at desks all day and/or are on their feet most of the day. Most folks joined in on the yoga routine. Our Board’s Vice President, Paul Heyl presented a few poems, two of his own, and shared a bit of information about our upcoming poetry competition via Submittable under the name of “Prairie Poetry Pound Down”. Folks wanting to enter the online competition and/or take part in the live competition, on June 17th, 2017 as part of Bird Island Days annual celebration can do so via our Submittable site. More on this event will be made available as it all comes together.
The evening ended with piano duels, congratulations and plenty of wonderful suggestions for possible activities, events, and programs to be hosted at/by the Cultural Centre. If you want more regular updates please follow our Facebook page and let us know if you have any questions, concerns, and/or suggestions for programming! We look forward to serving Bird Islanders as a community space for whatever the folks/town should need. Our prices for rental and our various classes can also be found on our Facebook page as well as on our respective pages here on our site!