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Diamond Bluff will mark its 150th with river cruise

DIAMOND BLUFF -- In honor of Diamond Bluff's 150th anniversary, a dinner cruise on the Mississippi Riverboat Jonathan Padelford is being arranged for Friday, June 29.

Organizers hope to sign up at least 25 people for the outing, as special rates are available for groups of 25 or more, according to Fred Ottem of Diamond Bluff's park committee, who has previous experience helping arrange the community‚s participation in the 2004 Grand Excursion.

The Padelford will operate from Hastings, Minn., for a series of special public cruises the weekend of June 29-July 1. Ottem said June 29 dinner cruise participants from Diamond Bluff will go there to get on board the riverboat.

The dinner cruise will be offered from 7 to 9 p.m., with advance reservations required. Ottem said celebrants wishing to join the Diamond Bluff group should make reservations no later than a week before that by calling him at (612) 987-8557 or John Norquist at 792-2183.

"Our objective is to call attention to Diamond Bluff‚s 150th year celebration," Ottem said.

He said this is a good opportunity for residents because the Padelford rarely comes to the local section of the Mississippi River, plus the rates will be reasonable. The Diamond Bluff group will have a designated place on board the riverboat.

The excursion is meant to be an "eye-catcher" for the 150th, he said.

To further celebrate, a chicken feed is planned at the local town hall for Saturday, Aug. 25. That feed will be held in conjunction with a nearby bar under new management and getting a new name, but recently known as The Gem.

There will be a celebration event at Sea Wing Park Aug. 25.

Anyone wishing to volunteer to help may contact Norquist or Linda Kinneman at 792-2290.

The Padelford's presence late this month is in conjunction with the Hastings and Prescott Sesquicentennial observances. Historically narrated public excursions will depart the Hastings landing at noon, 2 and 4 p.m. June 30 and July 1. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children ages 3-12 (two and under are free with a paid adult). Reservations are not required; however, a $2 per ticket discount is available online for advance purchase at

Founded in 1969, the Padelford Packet Boat Co. has provided entertainment and education experiences on the Mississippi River for more than 4 million passengers, including 700,000 on school field trips. The company operates three riverboats from Harriet Island Regional Park in St. Paul, including the Jonathan Padelford, Anson Northrup and Betsey Northrup. Complete catering service is provided by D'Amico Catering and full bar is open on all cruises.