Granite Falls Kiwanis Popcorn Stand: MN
MN made 1919 root beer on tap.
Downtwon Tradition Serves Popcorn and Community Spirit: Summer hasn’t arrived in Granite Falls, MN, until the night the Kiwanis Club Popcorn Stand opens.
The candy-stripped stand – offering freshly-popped popcorn and glasses of 1919 root beer nightly during the summer months – has been a part of downtown Granite Falls for longer than anyone in town can remember.
“It’s been a part of the community since at least the 1950s, and possibly even longer,” said Michael Betker, Kiwanis member and popcorn stand volunteer. “No one can remember the exact date the stand was started.”
Originally owned by the Ernston family, it has changed hands several times over the years before it was donated to the Granite Falls Kiwanis Club in 2002 as a means to ensure the tradition stayed in town. The stand’s proceeds now support club activities.
Though the original popcorn stand was replaced long ago, the stand today is still true to the size and style Granite Fall’s longest residents remember.
Minutes before it opens, visitors begin to loiter on the streets waiting for the shades to rise. Each night the stand is operated by a Kiwanis volunteer.
“We each volunteer for several nights a season, although some of us enjoy it so much we sign up for more dates,” said Betker. “I love the social aspect of working here. We have a lot of regulars.”
One of those regulars is a man who walks down from the nearby assisted living apartments each night to have popcorn and a root beer – something he’s been doing since he was a child.
“So many Granite Falls residents grew up with this stand. It’s a part of our childhood, and we can now share this with our families,” said Betker.
Today, the stand’s operation is helping benefit those future generations of Granite Falls residents. The approximately $10,000 raised through sales each season have funded upkeep at local playgrounds, and supported the community center and other activities benefitting local children.
“It’s great that we’re able to carry on a tradition that has been a unique and fun part of the city for decades,” said Betker.
If you go:
The popcorn stand is open daily – rain or shine – from 7 to 9:30 p.m., May through August.
The stand continues to occupy the same spot it’s held for nearly a century at Prentice St. and Eighth Avenue in downtown Granite Falls.
While you’re there:
Plan a Weekend Away in the Minnesota Prairie Waters region. Spend the night in a tipi or stay in a local farm stay, enjoy local history, one of MN’s great state parks or a wine tasting.
Find something new℠.