By Starrla Cray
WINSTED, MN For years, the weekend of the Winsted Winter Festival has been a flurry of volunteer activity for Chip and Julie Guggemos.
“I’m at the library all day for the silent auction. It’s fun,” said Julie, who serves on the Winsted Public Library board.
Meanwhile, Chip is usually busy setting up the Winsted Area Chamber of Commerce’s activities at the Blue Note.
“When our kids were younger, we were always tag-teaming. We’d maybe get one hour together,” Julie said.
In fact, in all their years in Winsted, Chip and Julie can only remember being together during one parade.
“It was in 2009, when our oldest daughter, Lena, was an ambassador,” Chip recalled.
‘A town of volunteers’
This year, Chip and Julie will have a special spot in the parade on a float as the 2013 Winsted Winter Festival grand marshals. The parade starts at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7.
“It’s a nice surprise and honor,” Chip said, adding that other Winsted residents also deserve recognition. “Winsted is a town of volunteers. There are folks who do so much more.”
“Some people are more behind-the-scenes,” Julie agreed. “There are hundreds of volunteer hours that go unrecognized.”
Chip and Julie have been part of the Winsted community for many years. Chip is a 1982 Holy Trinity High School graduate, and Julie grew up on a farm in Austin.
They met through a mutual friend at Keg’s Bar in Winsted, and got married in 1990. Initially, the couple lived in Tacoma, WA, because Chip was stationed at the Fort Lewis military facility nearby.
In 1997, they moved back home to Winsted, and Chip took over Ameriprise Financial from his father, Don Guggemos, Sr.
In Winsted, Chip teaches religious education for Holy Trinity 10th graders, leads Cub Scouts, is chair of the Winsted Downtown Vibrancy Commission, and is a board member for the Linden Wood Apartments and the Winsted Area Chamber of Commerce.
He is also active in the American Legion, and is the Martin Krueger Post 407 adjutant. As a graduate of US Military Academy at West Point, Chip enjoys coaching young people who are interested in pursuing a military education.
Chip and Julie both enjoy volunteering at the Winstock Country Music Festival each June, and Julie also loves being part of the Winsted Arts Council.
“Winsted is a good place to raise a family,” Chip said.
Two of the Guggemos’ five children will be at the Winsted Winter Festival this year. Charlie, 9, plans to ride on the Cub Scouts parade float, and Annie, 5, will be “running loose.”
Ellen, 14, has a gymnastics tournament that weekend, and the two oldest girls will be at college. Lena, 22, is a student at the University of Minnesota, Duluth; and Claire, 18, is a freshman at the University of Mary in Bismarck, ND.
Anyone who needs a place to warm up during the Winsted Winter Festival is welcome to stop in the Winsted Arts Center, Julie said. The building (at 141 Main Ave.) will be open from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7, and chili samples will be available from 5 to 7:30 p.m.
Look for more details about the 25th annual Winsted Winter Festival in the Monday, Dec. 2 edition of the Herald Journal.