The Sundowners club for southwestern Minnesota had a problem.
They wanted to schedule one of their weekend gatherings for owners of Winnebagos, but their planned campground was occupied for the dates they wanted.
So Daryl Bonin of Bloomington, one of the club’s organizers, said to his wife Vicki, “Ask around and see what you can find out.”
Vicki Bonin works for the Veterans Service Administration, and put the word out.
As it happens, Tammy Blaine, who works in the Veterans Service office in Redwood County, asked if the Sundowners club had heard of the Redwood County fairgrounds....
One thing led to another, and soon Daryl and Vicki were on their way to Redwood Falls to check out the possible places to park Winnebagos for a weekend.
“(Redwood County Veterans Service officer) Marty Caraway drove us over to the fairgrounds, and we were given a tour by Jim Sandgren (of the fair board),” Daryl said last Friday morning.
“Sandgren was very, very helpful. and your police chief, Mark Dressen, was fantastic to work with,” said Bonin. “We asked if we could have a squad car come out and patrol at night, and he said, ‘No problem.’ And your mayor is going to be visiting with us this afternoon.”
The Sundowners like visiting towns where they can do touristy things, and were delighted to find out they would be in Redwood the weekend of the Fall Festival, with lots of activities going on downtown and at the museum.
“We’re not mooching off of the town,” said Bonin. “We’re here to contribute.”
Jim Rademacher, one of the organizers, laughed when he heard about the Fall Festival.
“It might be a spendy weekend,” he laughed.
By Friday afternoon, 14 Winnebagos from across southern Minnesota were parked in the fairground parking lot by Friday afternoon.
“It’s a beautiful facility,” said Julie Rademacher on Friday morning, eating doughnuts on the 4-H stand porch before starting a day of activities.
“We’re just a bunch of vagabonds, one big, happy, disorganized family,” Jim Rademacher said.