WEST NEWTON TOWNSHIP - As the swollen Minnesota River rolled by down the hill, a Mankato-based singing cowboy closed out the Harkin Store's 2010 season Sunday afternoon.
Lonesome Ron Affolter has shared the stage with some of the country's best musicians - Jan & Dean, Marie Osmund, "Boxcar" Willie, Jean Shepherd and Donna Douglas.
On Sunday, he sang about cowboys, history and the Minnesota River on the front porch of the historic general store.
Staff photo by Fritz Busch
Lonesome Ron Affolter of Mankato sings cowboy, folk and bluegrass songs Sunday at the Harkin Store. The program was the store’s final 2010 event.
Available under the Canteen of Water record label and performing on the Fairmont-based cable TV and online soap opera "As The Corn Grows," Affolter sings the music of Gene Autry, The Sons of the Pioneers, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams and others.
Ron's brother Allen of New Ulm said there are Affolters on the historic store's ledger that dates back to the 1800s.
"I'm not sure if they're related to us or not, but they may be," Ron Affolter said.
Harkin Store Site Manager Ruth Grewe said about 400 fewer people visited the site this year than last year.
The store's gift shop features many flavors of hard and soft candy and lots of historical publications.
Programs with costumed guides that center around riverboats, railroads and grasshopper plagues, are held Sundays from Memorial Day weekend through the third weekend in October.
The store and its programs will be back next summer and fall.