The Sandbar Storytelling Festival, in partnership with the Winona County History Center, is sharing stories that have shaped Winona in a three-part series of “Business and Immigrant Stories of Winona.” Each storytelling event — free and open to the public — will begin at 7 p.m. at the Winona County History Center, 160 Johnson St.

June 21 — The founding of Hal Leonard, LLC by Steve and Nancy Bachler and Nick Edstrom. Hal Leonard LLC (formerly Hal Leonard Corporation) is an American music publishing and distribution company founded in Winona in 1947 by dance band musicians Harold “Hal” Edstrom, his brother, Everett “Leonard” Edstrom, and fellow musician Roger Busdicker. It is the largest sheet music publisher in the world.

July 14 — The founding of Willet Hauser Architectural Glass by Garrick Holey. In 1989, William and Ann Willet incorporated the Willet Stained Glass in Pittsburgh, Penn. In 1977, Willet Hauser Architectural Glass was formed through a merger with Willet Stained Glass and Hauser Art Glass Company in Winona. When the two businesses united, they formed one of the largest stained glass studios in the world.

September 12 — Project FINE immigration stories. Project FINE (Focus on Integrating Newcomers through Education) has been serving refugees and immigrants in Winona County and the surrounding area since 1990. Hear the personal and inspirational stories of immigrants who have chosen to call Winona home.

Winona storyteller and columnist Jerome Christenson will lead the business history discussions.

As admission is limited, please call the history center at 507-454-2723 to reserve a spot. The Sandbar Storytelling Festival Board looks forward to showcasing additional business stories in future years.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts & cultural heritage fund.

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