People encouraged to decorate their home, business with pink for February

Two major events are happening this weekend ahead of Austin’s official “Paint the Town Pink” festival, with the 12th annual “Fishing for a Cure” contest at East Side Lake and a flurry of events in Brownsdale.

Austin’s annual “Fishing for a Cure” ice-fishing contest will run from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at East Side Lake, with registration located on the lake’s east shoreline along Oakland Place Northeast. Organizers decided to end the event an hour earlier than initially planned due to cold temperatures. Portable fishing houses are allowed, and Minnesota fishing regulations apply for the contest.

Registration is on site the day of the event, with a $10 entry fee that includes drilled holes, prize drawings and a meal afterward at the Eagles Club. Cash prizes for biggest fish will be awarded to first ($300), second ($200) and third place ($100). Door prizes and auction items will be given at the Eagles.

Jim Nelson and Duane Smith, who created the ice fishing fundraiser over a decade ago, are organizing the event this year with help for the first time from the Austin Jaycees service organization. Last year, “Fishing for a Cure” raised nearly $14,000 as part of “Paint the Town Pink.”

In Brownsdale – where the community already is decorated in pink – organizers are gearing up for their first Brownsdale PTTP weekend, with events scheduled for Friday through Sunday. Located northeast of Austin along Minnesota Highway 56, Brownsdale hosted its first 5K run/walk in August to support The Hormel Institute’s breast cancer research and has been doing pink fundraising for PTTP since October for the same cause.

On Friday, First Farmers and Merchants Bank in Brownsdale will offer coffee and cookies from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. A family movie night showing of “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2” will be offered at 6 p.m. at the Brownsdale Elementary School, with a free-will donation for admission. Popcorn and drinks will be provided, and families are encouraged to attend the movie in their pajamas as well as bring chairs and blankets.

Also on Friday, Brownsdale’s Rohler Rink – the largest roller rink in the Midwest – will host its own version of “Paint the Rink Pink” from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., with the Brownsdale Roller Derby girls.

On Saturday, a snowmobile run will start at 11 a.m. at the Frontier Lounge in Brownsdale and then travel to Waltham, Hayfield, Dexter and Grand Meadow, where it will end. Signup is at 10 a.m. Cost is $5 per person. Frontier Lounge also will host a silent auction from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. A DJ will play music from 8:30 p.m. until after midnight. The Ibling Family Farm, next to IBI Data, also will give sled rides from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, with hot apple cider and treats.

The first Brownsdale PTTP will conclude Sunday with a painted bowl soup supper at the Brownsdale Elementary School from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Soup, bars and drinks will be served, and there will be a bake sale and root beer float sale. Cost is $10 for adults and $5 for kids. The “Paint the Town Pink” button drawing will be held between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., and the Mower County Fair Board’s demolition car raffle winner will be drawn at 6 p.m. The winner will drive a pink car in the fairgrounds’ first winter demo derby Sunday, Feb. 16.

On Tuesday, the Austin High School girls basketball team will host its 3rd annual “Paint the Gym Pink” night, starting at 6 p.m. with the varsity team taking on Rochester Mayo at 7:30 p.m. The evening will feature the Austin Bruins’ mascot Bruiser, raffle drawings for prizes and T-shirts for sale. In the past two years, the event has raised nearly $2,300 for breast cancer research at The Hormel Institute.

Residents throughout the Austin area also are encouraged to start decorating their homes and businesses with pink for the month of February. Austin’s 4th annual “Paint the Town Pink” officially runs from Feb. 14-23 but some pink fundraisers have occurred earlier. Participants can take a picture of their pink home or business and send it to the Austin Bruins at to have it featured on the Bruins’ big screen at the team’s 4th annual “Paint the Rink Pink” hockey game on Saturday, Feb. 22, at Riverside Arena.

Those who would like to honor a cancer survivor or the memory of a loved one who passed away from cancer also invited to send a picture and the name of the person to the Bruins at Names and photos will be shown on the big screen at “Paint the Rink Pink” after the game’s first period at the start of the first intermission.

Tickets remain available for “Paint the Rink Pink,” which started in 2011 and led to the creation of many other pink events and fundraisers in the Austin area to support The Hormel Institute’s breast cancer research. The game has been a sellout crowd of nearly 2,000 every year and has raised about $100,000 overall for the Institute’s research. Tickets are available for $11 per adult and $7.50 per student at the Bruins box office, Games People Play, Hy-Vee and Walgreens.

Austin’s “Paint the Town Pink” officially will start on Valentine’s Day – Friday, Feb. 14 – with a kickoff ceremony about 5:45 p.m. at the Valentine’s Dinner at the Hormel Historic Home. The evening will feature the River Rats Dueling Pianos, with $10 from every ticket donated to the PTTP initiative. PTTP week will offer many new and returning events.

Last year’s second-biggest fundraising event for PTTP is continuing to grow in the number of participants. The 2nd annual “Plunging for Pink” polar plunge set for Saturday, Feb. 15, at Austin’s East Side Lake already has more than 130 people signed up to jump. The inaugural event a year ago drew about 100 plungers and raised nearly $16,500. Registration is available online at

Donations from the “pink” fundraising in 2011 and 2012 helped support the acquisition of cutting-edge technology for The Hormel Institute’s researchers to use in accelerating discoveries for breast cancer research. Funds from the 2013 PTTP were distributed last year in the form of seven grants to seven scientists at The Hormel Institute for breast cancer research. Known as “seed grants,” these funds are helping Institute researchers conduct work that will enable them to better seek significantly larger grants for breast cancer research.

For a comprehensive list of 2014 PTTP event details, go to The Hormel Institute website – – and “Click for Pink” at the top of the homepage. You also can go to the PTTP Facebook page at

Anyone who has ideas or is interested in participating in the 2014 PTTP is encouraged to contact PTTP director Kathi Finley at 507-460-0259 or by email at