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State A.G. shuts down W’bago event

Carlson Event Center advertised a special New Years Eve Bash

By Kevin Mertens - Staff Writer | Jan 10, 2021

Garth Carlson was photographed in front of the Carlson Event Center and Veterans Center a few weeks ago. The facility is located in the former Winnebago School building, which Carlson purchased earlier in 2020. Now the Minnesota Attorney General has shut down one of the center’s very first events.

A press release from the office of Minnesota State Attorney General Keith Ellison on Dec. 31, announced his office had obtained a temporary restraining order against the Carlson Event Center in Winnebago in regards to a New Year’s Eve “bash” which had been planned for that evening in the former Winnebago school building.

The restraining order was granted by Faribault County District Court Judge Troy Timmerman, who wrote, “There is good cause to believe the state will prevail on the merits of its claim.”

Executive Order 20-99 is a targeted dial-back of certain activities to halt the spread of COVID-19. Among the requirements of the executive order, as modified and extended by Executive Order 20-103, are that venues providing indoor events or entertainment must temporarily close to the public until Jan. 10, 2021, at 11:59 p.m.

The court ordered that Carlson Event Center is prevented, restrained, and enjoined from taking any action violating Executive Order 20-99, as extended and modified by Executive Order 20-103, including but not limited to opening for the public for indoor events and entertainment, including its advertised New Year’s Eve event scheduled to take place Dec. 31, 2020, at 8 p.m. through Jan. 1, 2021, at 2 a.m.

A statement to the Minneapolis Star Tribune by the center’s owner, Garth Carlson, claimed he was holding a religious gathering and the event’s advertisement was “misworded.”

Advertising for the event listed a live band, an admission fee and shows an image of a bucket of beer with the letters b.y.o.b.

“He (Carlson) did not apply for a Consumption and Display Permit,” Winnebago city administrator Jacob Skluzacek said in an interview on Jan. 6. “The city did not approve anything. The state would have had to grant the permit after it is applied for at the city level.”

Carlson was scheduled to have made his first court appearance on Friday, Jan. 8, in Faribault County District Court.