NEWVILLE—It started more than 40 years ago as a simple barroom wager. It was the first day of spring, but the Rock River remained frigid. The owner of the then-Anchor Inn tempted several customers with free drinks if they went into the water. Riding a wave of alcohol-induced confidence and the promise of alcohol-induced warmth, the customers waded out into the icecold waters—and the annual Break in the Weather party was born.
John Kinnett, The Anchor’s current owner, estimates it was 1972 when that story took place, but he can’t be certain. Since then, Break in the Weather has become more structured and more expansive, adding live music and attracting visitors from across the country.