Winona State University will again partner with the Winona County Historical Society to host History on the River aboard the university’s 49-passenger Cal Fremling Interpretive Center & Classroom (

The educational cruises will take place Thursday nights and run June 15 through September. Each 90-minute cruise will feature an educational program, sightseeing time and refreshments.

Cruises leave from the Cal Fremling dock on Johnson Street, and boarding will begin 15 minutes prior to departure time. Parking is available near the Levee off Johnson and Walnut streets as well as on Cal Fremling Drive.

Tickets are sold in advance at the History Center or by calling 507-454-2723. Tickets are $27 for non-members and $22 for WCHS members.

The following 2017 cruise dates take place on The Cal Fremling.

7 p.m. June 15 – Steamboating History of the Upper Mississippi with Robert Taunt. In Character as a 19th century steamboat captain, Taunt tells the tales of the countless steamers that travelled the Upper Mississippi, with a focus on Winona’s busy port. This cruise is in conjunction with Winona’s Steamboat Days.

7 p.m. June 22 – Fiddlin’ History on the River with Betsy Neil. Music teacher Neil will bring aboard some great fiddle music.

7 p.m. July 13 – John Latsch: The Man and His River with Mary Farrell. A unique chance to view the local documentary about the man we all must thank for the many recreational spaces he provided, including the River Refuge he frequented the most. A Q and A with award-winning filmmaker Mary Farrell will also take place.

7 p.m. July 20 – GRSF: A look into Shipwrecked! & the Iliad. Great River Shakespeare Festival folks will join the cruise on the river to share more about this season’s performances that feature water…and some interesting history.

7 p.m. Aug. 3 – Winona’s Lumber Industry with Mr. W.H. Laird (Ray Felton). Get to know a great Winona philanthropist and the business that gave him the means to give so much to Winona. Ray will portray local lumber baron, William Harris Laird.

7 p.m. Aug. 10 – A Look at the Levee: Past, Present, and Future with Keith Nelson. Winona’s Public Works Director will discuss Winona’s levee and the process of keeping the river out of Winona.

7 p.m. Aug. 17 – Jazz on the River with Les Fields and the Turkey River All-Stars. Jazz played a major role in the history of the river and its recreational pastimes. Les Fields and the Turkey River All-Stars will play tunes that go back to those raucous river days.

6:30 p.m. Aug. 24 – Winona Port Operations with Dan Nisbit. Join the President of CD Corp on a river view tour of Winona’s industrial port.

6 p.m. Sept. 7 – Mississippi Gold Star Paddle with Jim Crigler. This spring and summer, Vietnam veteran Crigler is taking a canoe down the length of the Mississippi to thank the Gold Star families along the way, and to raise awareness of those that made the ultimate sacrifice of giving up a loved family member to war. Learn about his adventure and the American Huey 369 project.

6 p.m. Sept. 14 – Mississippi River Archeology with Andy Bloedorn. WCHS curator Bloedorn explores how archeologists use what they find to piece together the lives of the very early peoples who lived in our region so long ago. This cruise is in celebration of Archeology Week.

5:30 p.m. Sept. 21 – The Will of Dilg and the Will of Latsch with Mike Kennedy. Learn about both of the men who loved the river and wanted to provide spaces for the youth of future generations to enjoy and learn about our connectedness to and protection of “the great outdoors.”

For more information, visit the Winona County Historical Society website at or call 507-454-2723.