Got chills down your tongue?

Take that lickin' and keep on tickin'.

It is, after all, only 15 degrees below zero. No sweat, but no whining, either. Minnesotans can survive this thing called "winter" by commiserating by the glow of a coffee pot's orange rocker switch, but also by having a good time at the 12th annual Chatfield Chill Fest, staid and stoic or secretly suffering cabin fever.

The celebration is set to be held this Saturday, Jan. 25, courtesy of the Chosen Valley Community Foundation and allows Minnesotans to celebrate mid-winter as they have a brush with kindness through soup, toss their beans past the bus, become Bunco babes, shush on snowshoes, blot cold cash on scorecards, plunge into polar paradigms, practice their salsas and chilis, bowling with birds and feeling folksy with a porter.

Rummage sale

Rummage around at Chatfield United Methodist Church, 124 Winona St. SE, once the thermometer's thawed and the ice has integrated with the Internet weather forecast. There's a rummage, antique and bake sale and a soup lunch there to bring in the bucks for Habitat for Humanity's "A Brush with Kindness" home repair program from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Soup slurping happens by free-will donation, and proceeds will be used to start the local Habitat "Brush" efforts. Julie Young's in charge and can be reached at (507) 867-3170 or

Across town, shovel into St. Mary's Catholic Church's Maddock Hall for the second annual Help Our Neighbors (HON) and Olmsted Medical Center (OMC) Community Health Fair, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. HON's director, Sue Awes, has more information at (507) 251-0520 or at

Next, for some extra winter fun to which one may not want to admit having, toss some beans at the Bernard Bus garage at 11 a.m. with the Chatfield Firefighters' Activities Association's first-ever beanbag toss. There's room for 48 teams of beanbaggers at $40 per team and Mike Stock hopes they all appear for registration at 10 a.m. so the flinging can begin right on time. He has more details at (507) 696-0643 or at

Choose now to go turkey bowling with the Chatfield Cub Scouts or to take the Polar Plunge, or do both. It's just not stiff-lipped enough to dither between the two, especially when there's obvious entertainment involved in toppling pins with frozen poultry or running half-dressed into a frigid river. Pluck off a few bowling pins with the Scouts at Mill Creek Park before and after modestly mucking into Mill Creek itself at 2 p.m. Holly Martinka knows more about bird bowling at or at (507) 867-3530.

Swim trunks? Check. Tennis shoes? Got 'em. Pledges? Perfect. Waiver form and false anti-bravado? Got it. The choice to participate in the Chatfield Firefighters Activities Association Polar Plunge to benefit St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital is easy. Just ditch that pretentious parka and forge foolishly (yet faithfully, Minnesotan-style) into Mill Creek, slogging out with a shimmy, a little shake and a small scream. Members of the Chatfield Fire Department stand on the banks and even venture a little smirk as the sage plungers salute their pledging support crews on the Mill Creek bridge overhead. Registration forms are available on the city website at or at Dave's Barbershop on the corner of Main and Third, or firefighter Dean Irish can enlighten frigid-air ambassadors at (507) 993-1523.

Barbaric, but there are Minnesotans out there who smile enough to call themselves "Bunco babes and Bobs." Isy French is in charge of the Women's Community Club social soiree at the Thurber Building. Just a shake of the dice at 3 p.m. and the whole shuffle starts. Just call French at (507) 867-4586 or e-mail

Practice the salsas and pass by preconceived notions of how "chili" it can get indoors. Pam Bluhm and the Pioneer Presbyterian Church congregation are once again hosting a salsa and chili contest and chili supper, as well as a craft sale in the church basement. Contest rules require that entries be delivered to the church with identifying labels on the bottom of each jar by 2:30 p.m. for tasting approximately an hour later. The chili supper stirs up at 4:30 p.m. and lasts until the pot's empty - Bluhm and the Pioneer Kids Youth Group are raising funds for their annual mission trip. For more information, e-mail, or call Bluhm at (507) 867-3870.

The Bluff Country Hiking Club will be hosting a candlelight snowshoe hike from the Groen Park shelter out to the Lost Creek Hiking Trail and back, beginning at 5:30 p.m. For more information, call Tim Gossman at (507) 867-3129 or email him at

The St. Mary's St. Francis and Catherine Divisions are proving that "BINGO" is more than a dog's name-o at 6 p.m. in Maddock Hall as they challenge Chill Fest-ers to keep up with the "I-5, B-3" scorecard action at the Cold Cash Bingo. Don't get too worked up...or one might have a blackout. Karen Huckstadt's hearing inquiries at (507) 867-3472.

Finally, better than a tongue frozen to a signpost or seeing a mean little neighbor kid eating yellow snow, it's an opportunity to feel folksy with singer Willy Porter at the Chatfield Center for the Arts' Legion Room at 7:30 p.m. for just $20 per person. He'll sing about "How to Rob a Bank" and the "Iowa Sky." For more news on his appearance, log onto

And ya, you bet, the excitement of Chill Fest 2014 will be so great that by bedtime, takin' that chilly-tongue lickin' will keep everyone tickin' until next January.