Friendship Wagon Train will roll through Caledonia
By Diana Hammell
The Friendship Wagon Train will hit the dusty trail again, rolling 108 miles from June 23 to 30 on its way to Camp Winnebago near Caledonia. The Wagon Train has raised more than dust over the years; it’s raised thousands of dollars to benefit children and adults with developmental disabilities who attend Camp Winnebago.
This year, the wagon train will stop for lunch at Schech’s Mill in Sheldon on June 28 and the community is invited to come out. While there, visiters can check out Schech’s Mill.
For 24 years, this dedicated group of wagon-trainers has gathered and traveled through many parts of Minnesota. The group has grown to consist of people from across the country – Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi. Many of the volunteers of the 2012 Friendship Wagon Train will be traveling across the countryside in wagons pulled by horses or mules, while others will be riding in a saddle. The public is invited to come out to see and visit with them during the week of June 23 – June 30.
This year, the group will be assembling in Stewartville on Friday, June 22, and will leave on its journey at 8 a.m. on Saturday, June 23.
Through the week, the wagon train will travel as follows: June 23 – Day 1) Stewartville to Chatfield; June 24 – Day 2) Chatfield to Fountain to Preston; June 25 – Day 3) Preston to Harmony to Canton; June 26 – Day 4) Canton to Hesper to Mabel; June 27 – Day 5) Mabel to Blackhammer; June 28 – Day 6) Blackhammer to Schech’s Mill to Caledonia; June 29 Day 7) Caledonia to Camp Winnebago. On Saturday, June 30, the Wagon Train will have its final ceremony at Camp Winnebago, where the group will present all donations raised through the week to Barb Cage, director of Camp Winnebago.
Meals along the route will be prepared by several organizations in the communities the wagon train is passing through — Lions Clubs, churches, 4-H clubs, local individuals and businesses.
All funds raised by the Friendship Wagon Train will be donated to Camp Winnebago on June 30. Last year, the group raised over $30,000 during the week’s journey. Individual, business, and group donations are accepted all along the route.
Souvenir T-shirts, hats, bandanas and more will be available from the Wagon Train’s Peddler Wagon.