Thursday, February 29, 2024

Byron resident brings sleigh rides to Olmsted County History Center

On Saturday, February 24, there will be sleigh rides at the Olmsted County History Center from 10 a.m. — 4 p.m.. (It is located at the intersection of West Circle Dr SW and Salem Road SW in Rochester). Admission will be a free-will donation and all proceeds will be given to the Minnesota Special Olympics.

Byron resident John Davis, coordinator of the annual event along with his wife Monica, has been doing this for 20 years.

The plans are to have 16 horse drawn sleighs and their drivers. If there is not enough snow they will use horse-drawn wagons instead.

Horses and sleighs/wagons will be coming from several communities including Byron, West Concord, Mabel, Canton, Waseca, and Wells. Some of the sleighs can hold 15 people and the smaller ones 2 — 3. The sleighs will be pulled by draft horses and some lighter weight horses.

There will be free hot chocolate, free cookies, and a bonfire to enjoy. It will also give those attending an opportunity to have a photo taken with some of the big horses. If there is enough snow, John will bring in a skid loader and make a big snow pile for the kids to play and slide on. By the end of the day in previous years, the snow pile was pretty well worn down by all the sliding activity.

John has also organized the Friendship Wagon Train that was first held in 1990 and takes a different route each year. The 2024 wagon train will start at Gamehaven Scout Camp near Rochester and end at Good Thunder, Minn. It will be held June 22 — 29. Participants come from as far as Alabama and they pay their own expenses. They work with Lion and 4-H Clubs, local churches and American Legion groups that provide meals for the Wagon Train ride each year. The proceeds raised also go to the Special Olympic organization.

John is a member of the Rochester Morning Pride Lions club and Monica is a Byron Lion member. John’s phone number is 507-365-8064 if you have any questions. Come enjoy the sleigh rides and the great cause the proceeds will be used for once again.

 

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