WASECA, Minn. (WCCO) – This year’s winter lake trip – which took Frank Vascellaro and Chris Shaffer all over Minnesota and western Wisconsin – will wrap up in the southern Minnesota town of Waseca this week.
On Thursday,the guys arrived in the city, which is about an hour-and-a-half drive southwest of the Twin Cities.
There, they saw that Waseca is gearing up for a month-long celebration of all things winter.
Frank & Chris Arrive In Waseca
The Sleigh and Cutter Festival runs most of February, and this weekend there’s a big parade. All are welcome to come and enjoy the festival that celebrates Waseca’s past.
History, after all, is important to this town.
Since 1951, the Sleigh and Cutter Festival has offered citizens a way to beat the boredom of cold weather.
“Sixty-three years ago, four gentlemen in a barbershop on a Saturday morning decided that they would like to have something to do in the wintertime,” said Ken Borgmann, the festival’s president.
The gentlemen eventually came up with a parade – one with an important rule.
“We don’t allow tractors or trucks or cars,” Borgmann said. “If you want to ride in the parade, you ride a horse, or you ride a sleigh or a cutter or a buggy.”
The festival has grown to a multi-weekend event that spans the month of February. The growth is largely thanks to Borgmann. He’s run the show for nearly two decades, and, in the meantime, he’s raised a family in town.
“There’s my daughter and her three children,” he pointed out to Chris and Frank.
He says family is what the festival is all about.
The parade starts at noon on Saturday, and (again) everyone is invited.
The History Of The Sleigh and Cutter Festival
The guys also took a look at Waseca’s food options Thursday. One of them, El Molino, is right across the street from a festival ice sculpture. There, you can stop in for great Mexican food and a huge margarita.
If you’re thinking Irish sounds like a better option, try Katie O’Leary’s just down the street.
There’s only one restaurant that’s actually on Clear Lake in Waseca — the Boat House.
And if you’re just looking for a good bar with good drinks and nice people, check out Barden’s here on Main Street. It’s been here since 1937.
Frank & Chris Get A Taste Of Waseca
One of the premier stores for gun enthusiasts in the Upper Midwest is about 20 miles east of here in Morristown.
“It’s really a unique destination, I tell people all the time, for us to kind of be out in the middle of a cornfield the way we are,” said Bruce Velzke of Ahlman’s Guns, Parts and Service. But there’s really in the upper Midwest there’s really nothing similar to this.”
Ahlman’s is celebrating its 70th year. They call themselves a shooters heaven and rightfully so.
“Our big draw down here is a huge, huge supply of used firearms,” Velzke said.
Some 5,000 guns line the aisles. About 5 million parts fill the repair shop. And a couple dozen employees help people of any age get what they need.
“I tell people it’s like any other sport that you want to get involved with,” Velzke said. “If you want to get involved with bowling or playing football or playing tennis, shooting is another item like that. People can come together, you know, young, old, you know, moms, dads, kids can get together and have fun and have a great family pastime.”
He says Ahlman’s has some huge events each spring and summer for gun enthusiasts or people interested in learning about guns. The biggest one is the fourth weekend of August. It’s called the Shooters Roundup.
Frank & Chris Visit ‘Shooter’s Heaven’
This winter, the guys have done ice fishing, archery, snowmobiling and snowboarding. But in Waseca, Frank and Chris tried something that neither of them had before: darkhouse spearfishing.
Don’t know what that is? Watch the video below.
Frank & Chris Throw Down In Darkhouse Spearfishing
Here are links for all the places Frank & Chris visited — and will visit — in Waseca:
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