History: Lac Qui Parle Mission Church || Historic Chippewa City || Camp Release
Lac Qui Parle Mission Church
The historic and beautiful Lac Qui Parle Mission Church is located just north of Montevideo on Highway 59. The first church bell rang in Minnesota from the Lac Qui Parle Mission church, which was built in 1835, near the village already established by the Wahpeton band of the Santee Dakota tribe. This church is also where the Bible was first translated into the Dakota language. The Lac Qui Parle Mission church is a site full of interesting and important history. Learn more here, or by visiting the mission itself!
Historic Chippewa City
The Historic Chippewa City is a delightful and informative stop at the intersection of highways 7 and 59 in Montevideo. It started in 1965 with the preservation of the one-room schoolhouse, and now takes up 20 acres and has 24 buildings which replicate a village from the late nineteenth century. This is a great stop for children and adults alike, and is worth visiting over and over again! Historic Chippewa City is open from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, but hosts events throughout the year, and has free parking, and low admission prices.
Lac Qui Parle State Park
Lac Qui Parle State Park is named for the nearby lake, which the Dakota Native American people named "Lake that Speaks," which was then translated into French. Now, it's no wonder that the lake is called that, since over 100,000 geese (not including the other birds and wildlife) gather there in the spring and winter. There are 7 miles of hiking trails, 5 miles of horse trails, and snowshoeing is possible all over the park. There are also many camping and lodging options, so make your reservation and spend some time in the beautiful Lac Qui Parle State Park.
There are now two camper cabins at the new Wegdhal Park which can be used year round for only 50 dollars a night. Wegdhal is located six miles south of Montevideo on U.S. Highway 212 (or you can take Chippewa County Road 15 straight to the cabin doors). It's also accessible by bike trail from Montevideo, or along the Minnesota River. Call 320-269-6231 to reserve the cabins.
Watson Hunting Camp
Watson Hunting Camp is located in the middle of the Lac Qui Parle Wildlife Refuge and offers a wide range of hunting opportunities. The hunting camp offers guided Canada goose, duck, and dove hunting, as well as a pheasant hunt. Watson Hunting Camp also has great fishing opportunities; you can even rent a fish house over the winter. There are large sleeper houses, but smaller houses can also be rented by the day.
If visitors aren't spending the night on the ice, there is a beautiful new lodge which can accommodate 14 hunters. There are also RV hookups.
Milan Village Arts School
The Milan Village Arts School is a non-profit, member-supported organization which works to engage people in both traditional and contemporary art, as well as folk arts, in order to foster community and culture. The school does this by hosting lots of classes throughout the year, which are open to anyone, as well as participating in the annual Arts Meander.
The Meander Art Crawl is a free, self-guided tour of artist studios featuring 45 local artists from the Upper Minnesota River Valley. It is a great way to experience the area and connect to the local history, culture, and landscape.
Chippewa County Fair
There is nothing quite like a county fair, and the Chippewa County Fair is a great one! It is packed with great events all day and into the evening for families and people of all ages. There are always fireworks, a wonderful midway, lots of music, races, demo derbies, and wonderful 4-H exhibits. The fair takes place in the beautiful fairgrounds in Montevideo at the end of July, so plan on visiting Chippewa County in the middle of summer!
Clara City hosts Prairie Fest every year, and it's always a blast! Come square dance, eat pie, and participate in the beanbag toss tournament during the day, and enjoy music and wine later in the evening! There is fun for everyone, no matter how old.
Fiesta Days and Heritage Hill Threshing Show
Fiesta Days, when Montevideo celebrates its sister city with the same name in Uruguay, and the Heritage Hill Threshing Show are two more annual events in Montevideo that shouldn't be missed. Both are great opportunities to learn about the history and culture of the community.