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Wind blows Rosemount man to the St. Paul Winter Carnival

The St. Paul Winter Carnival’s four Wind Brothers are Joe Gallagher, Titan, Prince of the North Wind; Duane “Dewey” Tessmer, Euros, Prince of the East Wind; Scott Oien, Zephyrus, Prince of the West Wind; and Joe Bennett, Notos, Prince of the South Wind. Gallagher, Tessmer, and Oien are Woodbury residents. Bennett is a resident of Rosemount, and a former Woodbury resident.

Rosemount resident Joe Bennett is serving as Notos, one of four Wind Brothers at this year’s St. Paul Winter Carnival. The other three, Woodbury residents Joe Gallagher, Duane tessmer and Scott Oien, are portraying Titan, Euros and Zephyrus.

To understand who the Wind Brothers are, one should have the basic St. Paul Winter Carnival family tree down first.

St. Paul Winter Carnival legend has it that, “A long, long time ago, Astraios, the god of Starlight, and Eos, the goddess of the Rosy Fingered moon, were wed. The union was blessed with five sons: Boreas, Titan, Euros, Zephyrus and Notos. As the eldest, Boreas was granted the title of King of the Winds.”

The legend goes on to explain that Boreas gave each of his brothers “a grant of great force and power.” Boreas gave Titan “the blustery North Wind.” Euros was given “the irresponsible East Wind,” and Zephyrus received “the bountiful West Wind.” Notos was given “the balmy but unstable South Wind.”

Coming to the carnival

All four of this year’s Wind Brothers have been active in the Winter Carnival in the past, but at different times in their lives. South Wind’s Bennett was a Vulcan named Grand Duke Fertilious in 2010.

Tessmer is an avid collector of Winter Carnival memorabilia. He’d collected for nearly two decades before a friend, also a collector, invited him to be part of the East Wind Guard.

“It was so much fun, I decided to get in again this year,” he said.

It’s been 35 years since Gallagher first rode in a Winter Carnival parade. He’d traveled for his job for 30 of those years, then started his own company. But he always knew he would get back into the St. Paul Winter Carnival.

The Wind Brothers

Technically, the four officially became the Wind Brothers at a coronation ceremony Jan. 29.

The four have spent quite a bit of time together over the past couple of months preparing for their roles. They will continue to spend time together for the better part of the coming year.

They met in November, once they were all announced as Wind Brothers. In the time since, they have gone through trainings, character development sessions, dinners and other social events.

At the same time, they have each been working on their own costumes. Each character has a persona to play, and their costumes are reflective of the personalities of each brother. A specific color is assigned to each Wind.

Zotos is represented by the color red, Bennett said, because he is the unpredictable South Wind. The southern winds sometimes blow warm, so Bennett’s outfit is red and black, and looks like it belongs to a matador.

They’ll spend the 10 days of the festival together, but the fun won’t stop there. The Wind Brothers and the rest of the Winter Carnival family will make public appearances around the state and nation in the coming year. They’ll appear at the Winnipeg Festival du Voyageur.

The four Wind Brothers are looking forward to the coming year, to spending time together, and getting to know the rest of the Winter Carnival family. They all agree — they’re going to have a lot of fun together.

“Look at the brothers I have here,” Oien said. “It’s going to be a fun year. They’re a fun group of people who are good to be around.”

The rest of the St. Paul Winter Carnival legend plays out on the final day of the carnival, when Vulcanus Rex and his Krewe do battle with the King’s Guard. Reluctantly, Bennett explained, the winter-loving Boreas and his court retreat, allowing Vulcanus Rex and the warmth of summer to arrive in St. Paul.

It’s a battle that has always ended the same way, Bennett said. Every year, the battle has been fought on the final day of the carnival, bringing an end to the festivities, and hailing the coming of warmer temperatures.

“The Vulcans are 130, and they’ve never lost,” he said.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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