HOUSTON AREA ATTRACTIONS

ROOT RIVER TRAIL SYSTEM, TRAILHEAD PARK, & HOUSTON NATURE CENTER

Houston's Trailhead Park is the eastern terminus of the Root River Trail System. The Park is home to the Houston Nature Center, natural playground, band shell, community garden, and sites for primitive camping. The Nature Center features a mini museum, gift shop, and free educational programming.
 
The Park also offers ample parking for you to start or end your outdoor adventure from. Whether you like to bike, run/walk, bird or nature watch, or cross country ski, the Root River Trail offers opportunity for all kinds of outdoor recreation. 
 
With Houston at the east end, the 60-mile paved trail network winds through the bluffs and along the Root River as you follow it through the other "Trail Towns": Rushford, Rushford Valley, Peterson, Whalan, Lanesboro, Preston, Harmony, and Fountain.

INTERNATIONAL OWL CENTER

Houston is home to the one and only International Owl Center. The Center's temporary home is at 126 E. Cedar St. The International Owl Center features owl-based education and programming. There, you'll find live owls, including an Eastern Screech-Owl, American Barn Owl, Great Horned Owl, and Eurasian Owl. 
 
The Center is open from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. and offers live owl programs at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. Friday-Monday from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. It also offers displays and a gift shop stocked with owl merchandise. The Center is responsible for the internationally-known Festival of Owls each year.

ADDITIONAL OUTDOOR RECREATION OPPORTUNITIES

In addition to Trailhead Park, Houston is home to several more community parks. Multipurpose Bluffview Community Park, at the east end of town, currently has two ball fields, and plans are in place for much more. 
 
Houston's South Park features a newly completed public archery range, hiking trails, and area for primitive camping. At the City Park, you'll find a playground, shelters, and a World War II tank and veteran's memorial. Found nearby are the recently completed Onsgard Courts ready for all kinds of sporting activities.
 
Just outside of town, you'll find the Oak Ridge/Wetbark Recreation Area, which features trails for hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, skiing, and snowmobiling. Also close by is the DNR's Mound Prairie Scientific and Natural Area.

HOUSTON'S ANNUAL EVENTS & FESTIVALS

International Festival of Owls
March 2-4, 2018

The International Festival of Owls, held annually the first full weekend in March, is fun for all, featuring both activities for kids and attractions for serious owl aficionados. 
 
The event began in 2003 as a "hatch-day" party for Alice the Great Horned Owl. Since then, it's grown to attract visitors internationally. Now, you'll find an abundance of owl-themed food, live owl programs, merchandise and vendors, bus trips, contests, a banquet, and more.

Root River Triathlon
July-August 2018 - Every Wednesday at 7pm

The Houston Lions Club hosts the Root River Triathlon each year. Known as the "doable" triathlon, the event, which starts at 8:30 a.m., includes a 6.5-mile canoe/kayak, 8-mile bike, and 3-mile run. Awards are presented in Trailhead Park afterward. The event itself runs on
volunteer power.

Lawn Chair Concert Series 
July-August 2018 - Every Wednesday at 7pm

This weekly outdoor music event is a staple of the Houston community. Each summer, July-August, the Trailhead Park Band Shell fills with lawn chairs as folks come out to enjoy a variety of live music performances. These concerts provided amateur and professional musicians the opportunity to perform in the beautiful surroundings of Minnesota’s Root River Valley and preserve the legacy of evening band shell performances - an integral part of rural community social life. 

Houston Hoedown 
July 27-29, 2018

Houston Hoedown, celebrated annually the last full weekend of July, attracts thousands of visitors. The three-day celebration is jam-packed with fun and games for the whole family.
 
Included are ball tournaments, live music and dances, tractor and horse pulls, fireworks, a flea market, and model train show. Don't forget the water fights, children's games, 2.5-mile hat race, Sunday Grand Parade, and plentiful food and drink! Y'all come!

Taste of the Trail
September 22, 2018

Taste of the Trail is an annual event that features each of the "Trail Towns": Houston, Rushford, Rushford Village, Peterson, Whalan, Lanesboro, Preston, Harmony, and Fountain.
 
In September, each weekend after labor day, several Trail Towns showcase local "flavors" including food, music, crafts, activities, and more! Houston's event features music in Trailhead Park and the participation of a variety of local businesses.

Houston Arts Festival
November 24, 2018

The Houston Arts Resource Council (HARC) hosts the Houston Arts Festival the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Held at the community center, you'll find local artwork including photography, stained glass, stoneware pottery, soaps and lotions, garden art, and much more!
 
The event has free admission, and refreshments are provided. There's even activities for kids. In 2015, they painted ceramic Christmas ornaments. This year will be the 18th annual Festival.

HOUSTON AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
215 W. Plum Street
PO Box 3
Houston, MN 55493
507-896-4033

houstonmnchamber@gmail.com

Root River Trail

biking just outside of town