Wagon train rolls outThe Friendship Wagon Train will travel through southeastern Minnesota this coming week during its annual fundraising trip for Camp Winnebago, a nonprofit organization just outside Caledonia, Minn., which serves the recreational needs of children and adults with developmental disabilities.
By: Ruth Nerhaugen, The Republican Eagle
The Friendship Wagon Train will travel through southeastern Minnesota this coming week during its annual fundraising trip for Camp Winnebago, a nonprofit organization just outside Caledonia, Minn., which serves the recreational needs of children and adults with developmental disabilities.
The trip begins today in Austin, Minn., and ends 124 miles later in Goodhue on June 26. The wagon travels at a speed of about 3 mph.
"Usually 25 to 30" horse-drawn conveyances, including buggies and covered wagons, join the wagon train for at least part of the trip, said Sue von Knobelsdorff of Goodhue. Many outriders and horses join in the trip. Wagon master is John Davis.
She and her husband, Hermann, and some grandchildren will begin the journey today in their buckboard, but make a change when it reaches Goodhue County. Hermann von Knobelsdorff will be switching to a squad car and accompany the wagon train while on patrol, she explained. She and the children will then ride in another wagon.
The wagon train will spend tonight in Brownsdale, Sunday night north of Hayfield, Monday at West Concord, Tuesday at the Fuchs Farm in Nerstrand, and Wednesday at the rodeo grounds in Northfield.
On Thursday it will stop in Stanton for lunch, then proceed to the Cannon Valley Fairgrounds in Cannon Falls for the night. The final day on the road will include a lunch stop at Spring Garden Lutheran Church on County Road 1. They hope to reach Goodhue's Rosie Park by 3 p.m. Friday, von Knobelsdorff said.
Most of the travel will be on back roads to avoid traffic. Local organizations in the host communities provide meals and amenities.
Activities are held at each of the overnight camping stops, she said. People are invited to come to the locations, sit in the wagons, pet the horses and mules, visit with the travelers and learn about Camp Winnebago.
Along the route, the wagon train gathers donations for the program. The money is used to provide camperships for the nine week-long summer sessions at Camp Winnebago. Souvenirs are available from the "peddler wagon," including hats, bandannas and lapel pins.
Participants are up early every morning, von Knobelsdorff said - about 5 a.m. - so they can be on the road each day by 8 a.m. On June 26 they'll linger for breakfast at Rosie Park before disbanding.