Raising a Farmer

Alot of work but always room for laughter

Bowlus comes together to support first responders

on October 11, 2018

This column was first published in Agweek on June 29, 2018

In central Minnesota, there is a small community nestled in the heart of the state that explodes with excitement the first Sunday in July every year. The tiny town of Bowlus is the poster child of how a community comes together to support its own.

Bowlus Fun Day is a community festival put on by the Bowlus Fire and Rescue and Bowlus First Responders. The town gathers for this event filled with good food, live music, fireworks at dusk and of course the famous tour of Bowlus with the Bowlus Fun Line Rides to name a few. If you have followed my Raising a Farmer blog, you might know Nathan is a firefighter and we run the snack stand so we can not forget, “NACHOS!” I yell “Nachos!” all day and last year we added cheese curds to our stand!


It isn’t just the people who come together — the businesses in town are closed or close early, except the American Legion, which generously supports the day as well. What town’s businesses close during a festival? The businesses in Bowlus do! This alone is a testament to the support the community has towards Bowlus Fun Day. It takes countless volunteers to put it together.

The food stand alone takes about 100 volunteers to run smoothly all day from flipping burgers, cutting fresh onions, running for supplies or being a friendly face welcoming you to Bowlus. The volunteers you see are generations working together — parents working with their kids, kids working with their grandparents. The park is filled with traditional festival food, cotton candy, hand scooped ice cream, sno-cones and pickles on a stick. And it all goes back to the fire department and first responders.

Sharon and Rich Zabinski along with their family donate their time and horses to give horse rides, and all the money they raise during the day is given back to the event. The Zabinskis are a true example of how families support their community wholeheartedly. Jordies’ Trailside Café is right across the street from the park, and you can find owners Sonya and Jordie, a first responder herself, along with their staff working in the outside Bingo stand with a smile.

The rural community of Bowlus comes together because they know how vital these organizations are to a small town. The fire department and first responders are the first ones to arrive in time of need. In a small community, they are the ones called to car accidents, if someone needs to be airlifted out to secure the area, when a toddler wanders off, when someone is hurt, along with fire calls. They are the manpower when someone needs help.

These departments are called on when their communities are having their worst days. When the call comes in, the volunteer fire departments and first responders drop everything and go. I can’t count the times I have been left alone to do chores because Nate needed to go on a call. Even my two small children know when the call comes in that it’s time to move because someone needs help. During birthday parties, doing chores or at work, these volunteers drop everything and run to someone who is in need without thinking twice. And in small communities, there is a good chance these strong volunteers will personally know the person they are helping.

If you are looking for something to do in central Minnesota, come check out Bowlus Fun Day on July 1. The parade starts at 11:15. If you don’t know where to sit, pick a street, because it travels almost every street in town! If you are a bicycle family, bring the bikes and take a ride on the Soo Line Bike Trail that runs right through the park. If you do make the trip with your kids, make sure to bring an extra set of clothes, because they will not be able to stay out of the puddles or mist from the fire department water fights. If you are looking for me, just listen for “NACHOS!” and you will find us. Come support an amazing town I promise you will not be disappointed!

Recap of 2018 Bowlus Fun Day


This year Bowlus Fun Day started out rainy but that didn’t stop the fun.

Our good friend and firefighter Luke Harakel had the weather report.

The parade was delayed and we were wet but we were still smiling!

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And just like that the sun came out and it was a perfect day!

Its the VOLUNTEERS that make Bowlus Fun Day a success. From big to small from the departments to community members. It is all the volunteers who say yes with a smile!!


Our reward for working hard together and having fun, the fireworks. 

Make sure to mark The First Sunday in July on your calendar for Bowlus Fun Day!

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