Diggin' Mandi

Baudette, MN – How it turned a city chic into a small town girl


Willie the Walleye

  Baudette, MN 4th of July celebration!

I grew up in the northern suburbs of the Twin Cities in Minnesota. The town was Blaine and it will forever have a place in my heart. Every year my family and I would attend the 4th of July celebration in Blaine known as the ‘Blaine’s Blazin’ 4th’. It had carnival rides and food vendors and of course a great fireworks display celebration. It was all impressive to me – until I got older.

When I hit my 20s I realized that the 4th of July celebration was mostly made up of crabby parents and young people with attitudes. It was nothing like I had remembered as a child. So Blaine’s Blazin’ lost its charm and so did the whole institution of the 4th of July (which, ironically, is my birthday). So for many years I attempted to avoid doing anything past the end of my driveway when the 4th of July rolled around. I would just watch the fireworks from my backyard.

DSC_0308Now we can flash forward to 2015. For some crazy reason, courtesy of the universe and its sense of humor, I have been living in Baudette, MN for a few years now. The farthest from the big city/suburban life a person could possibly get.

Baudette, MN is not the largest of towns. It is not the smallest of small towns, either. The town can be said to be the perfect size. It houses about 1200 people and is home to several churches and just as many bars! It rests on a bay and river that will take you to the Lake of the Woods where many say the best fishing resides. It is home to Willie the Walleye and neighbor to Canada. Baudette, although a humble size when compared to its big city brothers and sisters, seems to always have something going on. Whether it as a seasonal celebration or a school production, the town always seems to make every event, small or big, feel and appear equally important. Needless to say, this is a very active town!

DSC_0290The community is a melting pot of both younger and older generations. I feel this is the ingredient to why the community is so solid. The respect and patience the younger generation have for the older generation is something you do not find everywhere. The older generation is influenced by the modern and liberal nature of the younger generation living here, thus creating a more flexible ideals scale from what many would call the unwavering ‘set-in-their-ways’ age. What is most magical about this place is the support every single person gets, and gives, from one another.

Small town life sounds horrible, huh?  Well, I am in love with Baudette, MN!

DSC_0319This weekend is the 4th of July celebration and, like the last few years since moving up here, I am actually excited for it! The events planned for this small community are quite impressive. They range from activities for children to adult events such as a 5K run/walk. The center of town where the two main road arteries intersect are blocked off and become a town gathering spot with live music and vendors. Individuals can enjoy music that range from a good-ol’-polka to some modern music genres. Also, all the bars in town (all are within a one block radius) offer some kind of event such as bingo or a BBQ. Did I mention the parade that goes through the neighborhood? A person can easily stay busy.

With all the above sounding amazing, I have saved the best for last. The firework show here in Baudette is easily one of the best a person could ever experience! Being originally from the Twin Cities I have seen several growing up, from my back yard and random cities, and I can tell you there is no room for disappointment when it involves the fireworks show here in Baudette. I had the pleasure to help last year with the prepping of the fireworks! I must say it is quite the operation to getting the firework show together. The final result: Spectacular!

Photo by: Erlyce

Photo by: Erlyce

So if you are ever wanting to get a taste of the small town life or just wondering where to go to for the holiday, I can easily say that Baudette should be at the top of your list. Additionally, if you are looking for a place to celebrate the year America got its Independence, then you will have come to the right place!

What is your favorite small town?

17 thoughts on “Baudette, MN – How it turned a city chic into a small town girl

  1. Shelley Phillippe

    Baudette is of course my favorite small town. Born and raised here and then returned in 1989 after living in Florida for 10 years. I have also lived in the Minneapolis area from St. Anthony Village to Richfield and also lived in Indiana!. Mandy has really put things better than I could have. People ask me a lot why would I move here from Daytona Beach, FL and I always answer that my small hometown has more to offer and much friendlier people than anywhere else I have lived. The 4th of July is a great time to visit but our busiest Tourism season is in the winter for Ice Fishing and Snowmobiling. We have a celebration right before Thanksgiving called Frost Fest that has a lighted Ice Parade which has decorated and lighted fish houses and other great floats. There is a community dinner, outdoor tree lighting with Christmas Carols and the night winds up with Fireworks over the bay. In the crisp cold weather and the snow on the bay makes a perfect setting for the Fireworks. They echo all over and the light sparkles on the snow!
    We also have many other festivals and lots of fishing tournaments. I feel very blessed to have returned to the city of my birth and to live in such an amazing place! Also I am so happy to call Mandy a friend of mine!

  2. Heather

    My husband and I lived in Baudette for almost two years (we only moved back impending the birth of our first kiddo so we’d be close to our parents). We loved it. And we totally agree, Baudette has THE BEST fireworks. We’ve camped up there a few years over the 4th just so we could be there for them. We haven’t been able to the last 2 years and have missed it!

  3. Jamie

    Baudette has a way of getting under your skin. We only lived there for a year, but you can bet that we try our best to make every 4th that we can! I miss the friends I made there, every day. My husband and I continually dream of trying to figure out a way back there once he retires. I love that my kids are getting to experience what a real Fourth of July celebration should look like, and how a real community feels. We’ve lived in a lot of places, and you just don’t get that everywhere.
    We definitely left a piece of ourselves behind when we left Baudette.

  4. Steph

    I grew up in Baudette; I actually just celebrated my 15th high school reunion over the 4th of July holiday! I moved to Minneapolis in 2000 but have never, ever missed a 4th of July. We always “go home” for the Fourth. Now I bring with me my “city boy” husband (who learned to hunt and fish and camp from my dad) and our three kids, and I hope I never miss it, ever.

  5. Kristi

    I too moved here from Blaine, but back in 94′ Blaine has a special place in my heart as well (Go Bengals!!) I’ve chosen to raise my family here because of the wonderful and loving community we live in. I still have some city girl in me and that may never change, but Baudette truly is an amazing place to be and moving here is the greatest decision one can make!!!

  6. John

    I had never heard of Baudette until the US Air Force put me there in late 1964. I look back at the time I spent there and I also agree that this is really a great town. I remember sitting in Tom’s Cafe and see how many cups of coffee I could get for a dime. The people always treated the “base” guys really well. I guess that is why the Air Force Reunions held in Baudette are so well attended. I have been back for every reunion since they started in 1985. And I also made a special trip for the centenial. The reunions are held the week of the 4th of July and I too can say that the fireworks is probably the best I’ve seen. I still have many friends there and look forward to then next reunion in 2017.

  7. Jenn Hammons

    I was born up in Baudette and lived for a little while after my parents divorce. My mom grew up there and lives there now. When we visit it is almost always around the 4th and the town is always booming and alive. You wrote a great story on this little town in the middle of nowhere. I hope to come up next 4th of July and enjoy all of the festivities again. A great place to live and visit for sure!!!!

  8. Rick

    While I was born and raised in Baudette, graduated from Lake of the Woods High, Go Bears, I too moved away from “home”. I have done some traveling during the 30+ years since I moved away. But, my heart has always been back in Baudette. I come back whenever I can, usually in November, for some reason or should I say Season. Hmmmm. I am currently counting the years to retirement and am looking to return to Baudette. A great town with great people. Baudette – you are #1 in my book.

  9. Ron

    I lived in Baudette as a teenager before I moved to Florida. After being gone for about 16 years I moved back to St Cloud Minnesota. Somewhere around 1994, I decided to go to back to Baudette to watch the fireworks being as I knew the guys that set it up. I was asked to volunteer that year to help set up and have been helping with the fireworks almost every year since then.

  10. Betti Huerd

    Mandy, I also grew up in the cities, I grew up with Bloomington, when we moved there I was in 2nd grade, The Mall of America was a cornfield. I moved to Williams in 1988, I love the people & I have a very busy life. I worked in Baudette for 8 yrs. before I bought my beauty shop in Williams.I’m glad that you are happy here, its a great place to live!!

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