CANNON FALLS, Minn. — Bankers, elected officials and just about anyone who helps develop the local economies in southeastern Minnesota were on hand Thursday night to celebrate CEDA, Community and Economic Development Associates, at the Cannon River Winery.

"We, as Minnesotans, what with 'Minnesota nice,' we don't like to brag," said Ron Zeigler, president and CEO of CEDA. "But this is the night to do that."

Those who work with or for CEDA gathered for the CEDA Partnership Celebration.

Zeigler said CEDA now has 50 contracts to work with various government and community organizations to help spur growth and economic development in Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and even northern Illinois. Many small cities across southeastern Minnesota use CEDA as their economic development agency, helping those communities with grant writing, project development and community planning.

"We have 27 team members, up from six," when the nonprofit was founded in 1986, he said. "These are the people who are boots on the ground."

Zeigler said CEDA's efforts are supported by 45 partner organizations that donate a combined $200,000, about 10 percent of CEDA's operating budget. More than 30 Minnesota communities are served by CEDA.