Wanamingo is located in Goodhue County in southeastern Minnesota along the north fork of the Zumbro River. The river flows west to east through the community and provided waterpower for a mill until the early 1900s.
The early ecosystem of the area provided habitat to bison, elk, deer, bear and prehistoric hunter/gatherer peoples, evidenced by their stone tools and projectile points that have been found on nearby farm fields. Sioux and Dakota Indian tribes populated this area when the first of many Norwegian immigrants began arriving in 1854, four years before Minnesota became a state. The original village of Wanamingo dates back to 1857, and was located one mile west of the present-day Wanamingo. That original site is now a ghost town and is referred to locally as “Old Wanamingo.”
With a population of about 1,000, this lovely little town about an hour’s drive south of Minneapolis is well known for its annual Syttende Mai (May 17) festival that celebrates Norway’s Constitution Day. Included in the festivities are an “Uff Da” parade, a coronation of King Ole and Queen Lena, pancake and waffle breakfasts, live music, dancing, cultural exhibits, a log-house tour and other events.