Gary the Green Lake Grinder

October 8, 2014 5:36am

FullSizeRender-1You’ve probably heard him. He’s been coming to the lake for years and sharing his music from an unusual looking cart.

What is this called?

“It’s a crank organ,” said Gary Harding, aka the Green Lake Grinder. “Just don’t call it a hurdy gurdy machine. Those hurdy gurdy guys get fussy about that.”

Gary can often be found outside the Green Lake Small Craft Center throughout the year. A Greenwood resident, Harding is a former music and ethnomusicology teacher who has taught in several schools including Green Lake Elementary.


While you can tell he enjoys to play his organ for all, he may often break into song, which is exactly what he did when we spotted him. He plays for free, but accepts tips where the proceeds goes to World Vision to help several families – learn more here.

So next time you hear the hand crank organ, stop by to say “hi” to Gary. He may even serenade you with his enchanting voice.

Charming side note: I also stumbled upon this great sketch someone posted of him last year on Flickr. You can tell Green Lakers love the Green Lake Grinder.

And you can hear Gary in action via his recent segment on Evening Magazine.