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– Two of Sleepy Eye’s main employers are the two school systems: public and Catholic. Sleepy Eye Public Schools call themselves the Indians and Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s is the Knights.
– Sleepy Eye is home to several large employers. These include: Del Monte, a large vegetable-canning facility; BIC/APP, formerly Norwood Promotional Products – makers of calendars and bulletins; Stimpert Enterprises, makers of manufactured homes; Anderson Custom Processing, makers of dry food products; Mathiowetz Construction; River Region Farmer’s Co-Op; Christensen Family Farms; Haala Industries; and Miller Sellner Implement. There is also the Divine Providence and Sleepy Eye Care Center nursing homes.
– The Eagles Orchid Inn in Sleepy Eye is an entertainment hub for the city. Along with being a place to have a fine meal or cold drink, there are also numerous social events held here during the year.
– The Sleepy Eye Economic Development Authority received an E-Commerce Readiness Certification from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. The award recognizes the city for implementing a new technology infrastructure.
Festivals & Events
– Sleepy Eye’s annual Corn Days celebration takes place every August. The 2-day celebration is packed with numerous events, with the main attraction being the free all-you-can-eat buttered sweet corn at Allison Park. Rides for the kids and live music also take place throughout the day. The following day consists of a 5K run for all ages and the celebration concludes with an evening parade.
– On the last Sunday in September, the Sleepy Eye Area Historical Society celebrates their pioneer heritage by hosting the Great Grassroots Gathering. The day includes various flea markets, arts & crafts, music, and food.
– People from around the area come to Sleepy Eye on the evening of July 3rd to enjoy the annual Street Dance with live music. On the 4th of July, the celebration at Allison Park includes music and buffalo burgers, followed by fireworks over the lake.
– Stores in Sleepy Eye go crazy during the middle of summer. Crazy Days sees prices slashed and great bargains both in stores and on sidewalks.
– Every March the Sleepy Eye Jaycees sponsor the Miss Sleepy Eye Pageant. Numerous young women vie for the coveted title. During the following summer, Miss Sleepy Eye competes for the Queen of the Lakes title during the Minneapolis Aquatennial. She also appears in numerous parades and town celebrations throughout the year.
– A big, delicious breakfast is served at the Sleepy Eye Airport during the middle of July. The Jaycees Fly-In Breakfast is open to pilots, people who enjoy airplanes, and people who love breakfast. Airplane rides are available as well.
– The population for the City of Sleepy Eye is approximately 3,500 people. The Mayor is Jim Broich.
– The Seifert Quards of Sleepy Eye celebrated their 60th birthday in 2010. Monica Clayton, now of Colorado Springs, Colorado; Marie Hoffman of Worthington; Michael Seifert of Brown County’s Stark Township; and Martha Anderson of Albert Lea made worldwide headlines when they were born on May 3rd, 1950, at the Sleepy Eye Hospital. The 4 healthy babies ranged in weight from 2 to 4-and-a-half pounds. They were believed to be the first set of quads to survive into adulthood in Minnesota.
– The Berg Hotel in Sleepy Eye was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2012.
– A Sleepy Eye High School graduate was named the new Brown County 4H Coordinator in 2012. Alisa (Marti) Mangen was a Brown County 4H’er for 14 years. She also worked as a KNUJ intern!
– A Sleepy Eye girl was among the finalists for “Princess Kay of the Milky Way” in 2012. Brown County Dairy Princess Laura Rosenhammer had her likeness carved in a 90-pound block of AMPI butter as a finalist, and was the annual scholarship winner during the Princess Kay competition.
– Leon Treml of rural Sleepy Eye was named the Brown County Soil and Water Conservation District Outstanding Conservationist for 2012.
– The Minnesota State High School League Triple-A nominees for 2013 from Sleepy Eye were Brandon Roiger and Tia Cselovszki for Sleepy Eye High School and Jordan Anderson and Maddy Helget for Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s. The award recognizes high school seniors who have excelled in the classroom, on the athletic field and in the fine arts.
– The Sleepy Eye Area Chamber of Commerce annual awards presented in January of 2013 included: the Shining Star Award went Patricia Ericksen. The Extraordinary Volunteer of the Year Award went to Bev Bartz, and the Big Chief Award to Mayor Jim Broich. Business Gives recognitions went to: Chuck Spaeth Ford, Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch, Mathiowetz Construction, Schutz Family Foods, First Security Bank, KNUJ AM/SAM 107.3 and McCabe’s Ace Hardware.
– The 2013 Brown County Dairy Princesses were Sleepy Eye residents Katelyn Johnson, the daughter of Lee and Judy Johnson, and Molly Lax, the daughter of Rick and Monica Lax. Brown County’s Dairy Ambassadors for 2013 were Sleepy Eye’s Sabrina Portner, Rebecca and Mary Rosenhammer, Bethany Seifert, and Maggie Sellner.
– The late Bob Christensen of Sleepy Eye was inducted into the Minnesota FFA Hall of Fame in 2013.
– The convent just north of the Church of St. Mary in Sleepy Eye was demolished in February of 2013. It was built in 1920.
– A new Miss Sleepy Eye was crowned in March of 2013. Miss Sleepy Eye 2013 was Maddy Helget. Her Attendants were Molly Schwartz and Jessica Schmitz. Relinquishing her crown was Miss Sleepy Eye 2012 Courtney Schneider.
– The Sleepy Eye FFA Dairy Cattle Judging team of Emily Kjelshus, Sabrina Portner, and Mary Rosenhammer took first place out of 44 teams at the 90th Little International Judging Contest in South Dakota in March of 2013.
– The Sleepy Eye Area Chamber of Commerce got a new Executive Director in 2013. Trista Barka started at the Chamber in March. Barka had been selling insurance in New Ulm before being hired as the Sleepy Eye Chamber Director. She enjoys playing golf and running in her spare time.
– The 52nd Annual Buttered Corn Days Celebration took place in August of 2013, and included the 10th annual Buttered Corn Days Corn Eating Contest. The winners of the contest, and new champions, were the Del Monte team of Amy Kral and Jason Fischer. Del Monte defeated returning champions Rosie Finstad and Matt Schmid of the Sleepy Eye Off-Sale team by a score of 17-to-13.
– Students in Sleepy Eye crowned their Homecoming Royalty in September of 2013. Sleepy Eye High School’s Homecoming Queen was Jamie Fischer and the King Brandon Polesky, and Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s Queen was Larissa Helget and the Homecoming King was Mike Hirsch.
– Sleepy Eye Elementary School was among the local area schools that received high rankings on the state’s “Multiple Measurement Ratings” in October of 2013.
– Santa Claus arrived in the City of Sleepy Eye in late November of 2013 as part of the community’s annual Holiday Kick-Off event. Santa was escorted into town on a Sleepy Eye Fire truck for the holiday kick-off, and new Little Miss and Little Mister Holiday representatives were crowned. Presley Dockter and Gunny Coulson will represent Sleepy Eye in 2014 as the Little Miss and Mister Holiday after being chosen in a random drawing.
– The first baby of the New Year for the Sleepy Eye Medical Center for 2014 was Brody Helget, the son of Keith Helget & Melinda Braulick of Comfrey.
– Sleepy Eye High School Ag Teacher Mary Hoffmann was presented the Region 6 Outstanding Agricultural Education Teacher Award by the Minnesota Association of Agricultural Educators during a conference in St. Cloud in January of 2014. The award recognizes leadership in civic, community, agriculture-agribusiness, and professional activities. Hoffmann was also named the State Winner for the Ideas Unlimited Contest. She will be representing the Ag Teachers of Minnesota at a national convention in Indianapolis at the end of January, and in July Hoffmann will be installed as the President of the Minnesota Association of Agricultural Educators.
– The City of Sleepy Eye was founded in the year 1872 by the railroad company.
– Sleepy Eye is in Brown County at the crossroads of Highways 4 and 14, on the shores of Sleepy Eye Lake.
– Like many frontier communities, Sleepy Eye’s founding centered around the development of the railroad. Rochester railroad lawyer Walter Brackenridge is credited with platting the original streets of Sleepy Eye on September 18th, 1872. The plats were officially registered at the Brown County Courthouse the next day.
– One of the early settlers of the area is also credited with the formation of Sleepy Eye. Thomas Allison wanted the railroad to come to “his” lake, so he visited railroad lawyer Walter Brackenridge and got the railroad to come to Sleepy Eye.
– The City of Sleepy Eye was named after the lake which borders its northwest side. The lake was named after a Chief of the Sisseton Sioux Indians, Ish-Tak-Ha-Ba, which translates to Sleepy Eyes. Chief Sleepy Eyes was born in 1780 near Swan Lake in Nicollet County. His jurisdiction covered the Sisseton from Carver to Lac-Qui-Parle. He signed the treaties of Prairie Du Chien, Mendota, and Traverse Des Sioux, and visited with President James Monroe in 1824.
– Chief Sleepy Eyes died in 1860 in South Dakota. In 1964, the City of Sleepy Eye recovered his remains and buried him in a small park dedicated to his memory. A tall, narrow monument marks his grave. The City also erected an 8-foot-tall bronze statue, created by Native American artist Joanne Bird, as a salute to the Indian leader.
– During the Sioux Uprising of 1862, the area that would become Sleepy Eye was overrun by Indians. Fort Ridgely, located about 10 miles north of Sleepy Eye, was the center of the attack.
– Sleepy Eye had its first store in 1872, the same year the town was created. Christian Emmerich built the city’s 1st hotel, and Carl Berg built the 2nd one in 1873. The 1st school records date back to 1874.
– The Sleepy Eye Fire Department was organized on March 11th, 1887 by MH Anstett. The City’s Library was built by FH Dyckman in 1900.
– The Sleepy Eye Flour Milking Company began operations in 1883, and closed in 1923. During it’s time it was the biggest rural flour mill in the country.
– A Sleepy Eye celebrity whose name is well-known around the world is Linus Mauer. Linus was a life-long friend of “Peanuts” creator Charles Schultz, who based one of the comic strip’s characters on his friend. The City of Sleepy Eye has a Linus statue to commemorate that friendship.
– A famous Sleepy Eye native is former WCCO-TV Sports Anchor Ralph Jon Fritz, who was on the air for 37 years. Fritz grew up in Sleepy Eye and attended St. Mary’s School. He appears with his dog Louie on the tv show “Out and About,” which mainly centers on hunting and fishing.