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Finding Minnesota: Bean Hole Days

PEQUOT LAKES, Minn. (WCCO) -- There's more than one way to welcome folks to town: friendly signs, smiles on the street -- and steaming bowls of beans?

Bean Hole Days is a tradition that's been drawing big crowds for decades to Pequot Lakes.

It's a once-a-year event, where volunteers bury five giant kettles of beans in the ground on top of hot coals.

The beans then slow-cook overnight until the "raising of the beans" ceremony the next day.

Bernice Rohde is the events' co-chair, and an unabashed bean lover.

"And we come together in this park, and we just have a blast eating beans!" said Rohde.

Starting in 1938, Bean Hole Days has been a way to thank farmers in the area, and welcome tourists.

Jim Oraskovich can attest that all those beans can create some awkward moments.

"I know one case where it's the only time one lady in town passed gas," said Oraskovich, without naming names.

Organizers have joked about having Beano as an event sponsor, but no deal yet.

Jeff Walden is just ending his reign as King Bean, a title that gave him a burlap cape and a metal crown.

"One of the major responsibilities is tasting the beans to make sure they're adequate and they taste good for our royal subjects," said King Jeff.

With their recipe of molasses, brown sugar and other secret ingredients, taste never seems to be an issue.

John Marchwick says he has never missed Bean Hole Days in all his 72 years.

"If Campbells could only taste ours, they'd be up trying to get the recipe," he said.

The beans go into the ground next Tuesday, July 10. Then it'll be free beans, buns and beverages for all on Wednesday, July 11.

The "Bean Holers," as they call themselves, plan to feed more than 2,500 people.

Bean Hole Days also features arts and craft displays.

Click here for more information.

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