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Winsted Raggies brave the snow

WINSTED — If you’re from Winsted and you know what a raggy is, you probably wouldn’t like to be called one. But lo and behold, there is a group of Laurel City men that proudly calls itself the Winsted Raggies, and its members braved the snow on Saturday, Jan. 21, to observe this year’s Winter Raggy Bake.Still headed up by President John Kampartas, the Winsted Raggy Club consists of approximately 60 members who meet at Kampartas’s house four times a year for a seasonal cookout. Now in its 65th year, the organization consists of Winsted men old and young who share an affinity for grilled meat, card games, good humor and American beer.Kampartas started the party Saturday morning with a seasonal Raggy breakfast on his outdoor griddle, and members arrived throughout the morning for the day-long affair. With snow still falling from Friday night’s storm, attendance was slightly lower than at other recent bakes, but that just meant more burgers, hot dogs, London broil, roast pork, chili, kielbasa and chowder for the hard-core devotees.The word “raggy” or “raggie” has an assortment of connotations, depending on your home town. In Winsted, the term dates back to the 19th century when iron workers from Mount Riga were called raggies. The term has come to denote people who are impoverished and lacking culture, but many in Winsted have turned it into a term of endearment. That might explain the Winsted Raggy Club’s proud yet self-deprecating motto, “Without a shirt, without a song, Raggies are forever.”

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