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OLD TRADITIONS, NEW EVENTS: Southern Minnesotans find safe ways to enjoy warm winter weekend

Ice carousel on Dodge County pond

(KTTC) -- The pandemic's impact is still being felt-- and it was no different for one Waseca winter tradition.

Many indoor events for the 71st annual Sleigh and Cutter Festival were cancelled this year. The milestone occasion, the parade, marched on. It was originally scheduled for two weeks ago, but frigid weather postponed the parade to this weekend.

Despite no sit-down lunch, the event organizer says the event turnout was higher than many frigid years.

"We had people on the entire route. This is the most I've seen downtown in years. It's because of the weather. It's a nice day," said Ken Borgmann, Sleigh and Cutter event organizer. "People have said that because of what we did to get this going this year, they will be back with their friends next year."

The festival featured ice sculpting as well. It wrapped up Saturday night on Clear Lake with a new addition to the yearly tradition, the Better Days Ahead Fireworks Display.

In Dodge County, Minnesotans enjoyed another unique way to have outdoor fun a little closer to home. A Dodge Center man decided to make an ice carousel on his pond.

So how does it work?

A piece of ice is made to spin inside a larger body of water using a motor.
It required a lot of cutting, but the man-made phenomenon came to life Saturday afternoon.

"We got sick of winter and had an outdoor thing that no one else does. We decided to make an ice carousel and have a few people out just because it's nice out and close to spring," said Dodge Center resident David Chicos. "We're tired of being inside all of the time."

"Small town community. That's what it's all about. Everybody knows everybody," said Jessie Maes, a resident who helped promote the event.

"With COVID, everybody's been locked down. You can be distanced, outside and people love it," Chicos said. "People are just having a good time.

A sinking truck was also placed on the pond. It was part of a raffle where residents guess when the hour the truck will sink. The funds raised will go to a Dodge County family or organization in need.

The ice carousel is a fairly new idea. Originally from Finland, the previous record for the largest was in Little Falls, Minnesota before an ice carousel in 2019 in Canada broke that record.

No records broken today, but people enjoyed some much needed safe, outdoor fun on a beautiful weekend.

Alex Tejada

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