Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, March 19, 2001

Planning for Winsted festival moves forward

By Patrice Waldron

Moving forward was the recurring theme at Wednesday's Winsted Festival Committee meeting.

One hurdle overcome at the meeting was what to call the new festival.

The members of the Martin Krueger American Legion Post 407 of Winsted have been running the Legion Days Festival since they founded the event in 1974.

It was desired to keep the American Legion input and participation as much a part of the event as possible.

The festival will be basically the same, held the same weekend, but with a new name. It was felt that the festival will probably always be known as 'Legion Days' because that's what people know the event as.

Gene Hausladen, representing the Winsted Lake Watershed Association (and a Legion member), suggested that the festival be called: the 28th Annual Winsted Festival. The motion was unanimously carried.

The Legion has depended on the funds to survive, and there was concern that in turning the reigns over to the committee, the Legion will not make enough money to stay in business.

"Nobody is trying to shut the Legion down, but we have to get this 100 percent converted (to the new committee)," we must keep moving forward," said Bebo, representing the Winsted Civic and Commerce Association.

"I feel like we've turned the corner tonight, we're going to get this done," said Podrahsky.

Security will be handled by the Winsted Police Department, with the cost absorbed by the city.

Advertising will be handled by Chris Schultz at Winsted Publishing. A budget and schedule were provided.

Free advertising will be sought from various papers' calendar of events columns.

The coronation of the queens is set for Sunday, with it being noted that the queens are in high demand as out-of-town royalty. This year is the queens' 10th anniversary.

Festival location

Discussion of the location of the festival activities yielded ideas about moving some of the events toward Mill Reserve park, to utilize that area.

Moving things around will depend on existing electrical connections, keeping the hard surface for the street dance, and the money involved in making a different area suitable for use.

Instead of thinking of moving the events, it was suggested by Bebo that it be thought of as expansion. Keep the general outline of previous years, but look at ways to move forward.


The question was raised, as a way of saving money, if the festival could be covered under the American Legion's insurance policy. It was explained by City Administrator Matt Podhradsky, that if the event was to revert back to being under the Legion policy, then all city involvement would have to cease.

The Winsted Festival Committee, which was designated by the City Council, could not be in place, guiding the activities. The committee would have to disband.

The alcohol liability portion of the city's insurance policy costs $250 per day, no matter how many sites are used. Another cost is a one-time charge of $150 for the training course required for anyone who would sell beer.


Different bands are being considered for both Saturday and Sunday nights of the festival.

Selection, depending on price, type of music (rock, county, mixture), what age group the band caters to, and the band's potential 'draw' are all factors being considered.

Brad Millerbernd, festival committee chairman, has received several calls concerning how late the music will play Sunday night.

It is estimated that the Saturday music will go from 8 to midnight, and Sunday from 7 to 11 p.m.


When the parade committee of Dale Maus, Tony Radtke, and Millerbernd met, ideas were shared of how previous parades were run.

"Tony was very forthcoming with information when Dale and I met with him a week ago, different things that we need to get ready, to get the parade organized and on track," said Millerbernd.

Invitations will be extended to past parade participants.

Beer garden

Running the beer garden was a topic of much discussion. At the last committee meeting, it was decided that profits would be divided among participating organizations, based on the number of hours worked.

"We think the Legion should be entitled, after 27 years with the organization, to 50 percent of the profits of the beer tent, and the Winsted Lake Watershed Association get 50 percent," said Dick Genty, American Legion First Vice Commander.

"After the expenses are paid, and after the kitty is satisfied for the seed money for next year, the profits would be distributed per hours worked, for each organization," said Millerbernd.

As a committee body, that method was looked on favorably, due to the equitable distribution of the funds, he continued.

The organizations who have established events during the festival weekend will be approached, and asked, what the committee can do to make it worthwhile for these groups.

The Winsted Volunteer Fire Department pancake breakfast, softball tourney, volleyball tourney, and Legion Auxiliary pork chop dinner to donate a percentage of their gross receipts back to the festival.

Any new organizations or vendors which participate in the festival will be asked to pay a set percentage of profits, and will have to be voted in by the committee.

The difficult part remains what to do with the groups which are already participants, such as the Ladies Auxiliary and the fire department.

Existing participants will not be required to make a donation, but they will not be included in the advertising.

It will be the job of the committee to convince the other organizations that being a part of the overall festival plan will be worth, for example, 10 percent of their gross profits.

Hours worked on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, which include setting up and tearing down will be counted toward the total hours worked in each organization.

"I know that this is a hard transition for the Legion and I appreciate your realizing that you had a valuable festival, and being able to work within this structure to continue with the help from other organizations in the cit, Millerbernd said.

The more we can reiterate this... we're here representing the town, and the citizens of this town rather than specific organization, and everybody around this table is a volunteer for the town, for the good of the community," said Millerbernd.

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