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Get your grumpy on and head to Wabasha

Have cabin fever yet? If so, you just may find the cure in Wabasha.

The Grumpy Old Men Festival is set for Saturday Feb. 22 and is the buzz around town, said Cheri Wright, executive director at Wabasha-Kellogg Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The event originally began to honor the 1993 comedic drama “Grumpy Old Men,” whose on screen set was based in the small river town — although no scenes were actually filmed in Wabasha.

However, the majority of the film and its sequel “Grumpier Old Men” were shot in Minneosta towns and cities, including a scenic view filmed in Red Wing.

Nevertheless, Wabasha has held an annual Grumpy Old Men Festival for 20 years.

Composed of everything from a hot dish luncheon to a polar plunge, the one-day community celebration has evolved.

Wright added that last year’s introduction of the chili feed was a surprise success; more than 70 people tasted 15 recipes. The chili feed is back again this year, hosted by Wabasha Ambulance. Cost is $7 to judge and taste every kind of chili. Proceeds go to the department and will help purchase medical supplies, Wright said.

A major festival highlight is the sixth annual Grumpy Plunge.

One hundred jumpers took the plunge into the Mississippi River last year with a crowd of about 300 watching. Wright says hopes are high for larger attendance this year, as the weather looks to be much warmer.

“It is a lot of fun to watch,” she added, “and all the money raised stays in the community, which is such a plus for people to know where it is going.”

New this year is the Pioneer Club’s ice bar on the frozen water. Buses will shuttle people from Main Street.

“The whole festival is very relaxed, everyone is here and for all the people that are stir crazy at home and want to get outside, this is a great way to get out,” Wright said.

Live music at each local bar rounds out the night.

Activities for Grumpy Old Men Festival kick off at 8 a.m. and wrap up at midnight.


Stacy Bengs-Silverberg

Stacy Bengs has been a photojournalist at the Red Wing Republican Eagle since 2010. She holds a bachelors degree in journalism and art from the University of Minnesota.

(651) 301-7880