2024 Friendship Wagon Train coming to the area

Published 5:48 pm Tuesday, June 11, 2024

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The 2024 Friendship Wagon Train is marking its 36th year, and this group of all volunteers will be traveling for a week, June 22-29, through southern Minnesota collecting donations for the Special Olympics. One hundred percent of everything raised is donated to the Special Olympics.

Assembly day is June 21, at Gamehaven Scout Reservation (GSR) on the east side of Rochester and will leave on the morning of Saturday, June 22. Overnight camps will be the Donley property (northeast of Hayfield), Blooming Prairie (next to the nursing home), Hope (in a field on the north end of town), Waldorf (in town), Mapleton (in a lot near the baseball fields), and in Good Thunder (west end of town, near Anderson Trucking).

The Wagon Train will be camping in Hope the evening of June 24 and all day June 25. The evening of June 25, the group will hold an informal auction, where all items donated will be sold, with all proceeds going to the Special Olympics.

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Anyone who is interested in making a donation is welcome. We receive donations in many ways: individuals, businesses, Lions Clubs, American Legion Posts, 4H Clubs, civic organizations, and more.

Everyone along the route is encouraged to come out to see the wagon train as it travels through the countryside as well as visit camps in the evening. The group’s Peddler Wagon also has souvenirs. With the permission of the animal owners, may also be able to pet some of the horses and mules, as well.

Organizations along the route who will be working with the Wagon Train include Lions Clubs, 4-H Clubs, churches, and American Legions. These groups will be providing meals for the wagon train participants, whether it be serving breakfast, lunch, or evening meal.

On the morning of June 29, the wagon train will have a final ceremony in Good Thunder. Staff from the Special Olympics will greet the wagon trainers, and the 2024 Friendship Wagon Train group will deliver to them the donations collected during the week of the Wagon Train.

In past years they have raised $20,000 to $25,000 for Special Olympics; they are setting their goals at being just as successful (possibly reaching a higher amount) for their 2024 trek

For more information, you may contact John or Monica Davis (507-365-8064).