11th annual ‘Blues on the Chippewa’ wraps up Sunday in Durand

Durand (WQOW) – Last year a Sunday rainfall kept a few locals indoors during the 3-day ‘Blues on the Chippewa’ in Durand. But, each year organizers said the event continues to grow.

With the rain holding off since Friday, crowds filled the park for some boot tapping blues, estimating that numbers are similar if not up from last year’s 6,000 attendees. However, for Cullen Wargowsky, president of Blues on the Chippewa, said it’s not so much about the numbers as it is about the people those numbers represent.

"The reaction you get from the crowd, and the love that’s just spread around here," said Wargowsky. "It’s a small, free festival. So, everybody’s so happy to be here and to donate. It just makes you feel good that you can raise money for things and have a good time while you’re doing it."

The festival raises several thousand dollars each year to donate to the Pepin County Food Pantry, their ‘Music for Children’ program, and other organizations in need of a helping hand. The fest not only brings in the crowds, but it also brings in musical acts from all over the country. News 18 asked one musician why she traveled from Portland, Oregon, for this small-town event. She said it’s for the crowds.

"Music is medicine," said musician Ellen Whyte. "It really feeds the soul and the heart. And I see the smiles on people’s feet. I see them grooving in their seat. Dancing, you know? Hey, bring it."

Whyte said she has performed at Blues on the Chippewa a few times, ad that no matter how large the crowd gets each year, there is still a close relationship with them every time she gets on stage.

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