Contributed photo
Lefse the duck watched the Carlisle Band belt out a tune during the annual Watermelon Day parade on Saturday, Aug. 20 in Vining. 

By Chad Koenen


As the old saying goes, give a duck some watermelon and it will devour everything but the rind—show a duck where to get a free slice of fresh watermelon and it will never want to leave the town of Vining.

That was the case on August 20 during the annual Watermelon Day celebration when Lefse the duck left quite the impression on guests in the tiny town of Vining. Lefse, along with her owners Craig and Dana Heinen, stopped by Watermelon Day to take in the day’s festivities. The group attended the craft fair, parade and of course had some free watermelon in the process.

“It did seem like she got pretty full of it at one point, which is pretty rare for her to get full,” said Craig Heinen of Lefse eating watermelon at Watermelon Day. 

The daughter of Jeff and Laurie Smith, Dana and Craig Heinen live in Richfield, Minn., but were in the area visiting family when they decided to take in the festivities in Vining. Over the years, Lefse has developed quite the sweet tooth for watermelon and a variety of other unique food items for a duck. In addition to getting her fill of watermelon, Lefse enjoys things like tomatoes as well. 

“We got her a couple of years ago and we just find different things they like (to eat),” said Heinen. 

Heinen said they gave Lefse and her sister a piece of watermelon in 2020 for the first time “and they just went to town on the thing.”

Since Lefse was recovering from a foot injury, Heinen said they brought a carrier to Vining to make navigating the crowds at Watermelon Day a little easier. The carrier had a small window on the bottom of it that allowed Lefse to look at the ground. Any time the group came across a piece of watermelon on the ground, the duck wanted to get out and do its part to clean up the mess and fill its belly. 

“There was a little window she could look out and every time she saw a piece of watermelon on the ground she would want to get out and get it,” said Heinen.

Throughout Watermelon Day, Heinen said a number of people stopped them along the way to visit the duck with a very Norwegian name and learn more about the feathery friends.

“It was fun interacting with people and answering different questions,” said Heinen.