Starting this Thursday, visitors are going to have the chance to see the familiar farm site up close in a new event known as Thursday Nights at Gilfillan.

The Gilfillan estate has hosted many events over the past two decades, as people utilize the historic site for everything from weddings to reunions.
While many people know of Gilfillan and have driven past it, many have not set foot on the site.
Starting this Thursday, visitors are going to have the chance to see the site up close as they participate in a new event known as Thursday Nights at Gilfillan.
“We want people to come out and enjoy the site,” said Bill Schwandt, president of the Redwood County Historical Society which operates the historic site in conjunction with the Friends of Gilfillan. “Bring your hot dogs and marshmallows, and come out to have a good time with us.”
The Thursday Nights events are scheduled for every Thursday from June through August, and Schwandt said what happens during each night is up to those who come.
Granted, Schwandt does have some ideas of things he might want to offer, but in the end what he is hoping is the public takes ownership of the event.
That way, he added, people want to come.
Schwandt said he has talked with local FFA chapters and 4-H Clubs who are going to be planning some special events, and he said there is the chance to open some of the historic buildings on the site for the public to explore and enjoy.
“The site is usually just open by appointment, but so many people don’t have the chance to come out,” said Schwandt, adding this is their chance.
Everyone is invited to attend regardless of age, and those who have an idea of what they would like to do are encouraged to contact Schwandt about it.
The nights are scheduled to run from 6-10 p.m., added Schwandt.

Schwandt called the event a different idea, adding the hope is to bring more exposure to Gilfillan and to bring people from the area together in a different kind of setting.
There is going to be a bonfire at the event, and Schwandt encouraged people who are planning to attend to bring their own snacks.
“We are hoping this gives people, especially kids, something to do rather than just spend the night sitting in a parking lot or driving around town,” said Schwandt.
He also said in the midst of recent tragedies this could become a venue where kids can talk about things they are thinking about and feeling in a safe environment.
“Gilfillan is a public place, and we need to use it as such,” said Schwandt, adding the event is free.
However, there are a few expenses associated with the nights, which means every once in a while a hat might be passed to accept free will donations from attendees.
Future events could range from local storytellers and historians to more active events, such as an obstacle course. The options are truly wide open.
“We’ll make our own fun,” he said.
For more about Thursday Nights at Gilfillan, contact Schwandt at (507) 430-6840 or send him an e-mail at