EYOTA, Minn. — Rachel Thoma braved a windy Saturday afternoon to stand in the parking lot of Dover-Eyota Elementary School to sell $20 parking spots to spectators on the Luke Bryan Farm Tour.
The Gar-lin Dairy Farm, which hosted Bryan’s tour stop in Eyota, is just over a mile from the elementary school. When Dover-Eyota Public Schools Superintendent Jeremy Frie learned about the concert, he knew it was an opportunity to raise money for the school district.
After conversations between staff members, Frie and school board member Heather Duellman, it was decided that funds raised from the more than 100 available parking spaces would be donated to Thoma and his Spanish club’s trip to Ecuador.
Funds will be allocated to the Spanish club, but students do not need to be members of the club to participate in the trip. Thoma understands that learning a different language is difficult and can be daunting, which is why the trip is open to all high school students.
“Really, I just want to take these kids out of rural Eyota, Minnesota, and show them the bigger, wider world,” she said.
The club visited Costa Rica last summer and Spain twice before. It is a cultural immersion for the students.
“It’s more fair that other people live differently than you do,” Thoma said. “It’s fun to see them out of their element, trying new experiences and seeing how the different personalities come out.”
Speaking of braving the wind on Saturday, Gar-lin Dairy Farm was still packed with 20,000 people despite the strong wind and cold that engulfed the open field. People crowded into the general admission sections, past the section for those who brought lawn chairs.
Several spectators were fitted with fleece blankets to protect themselves from the elements.
Jameson Rodgers kicked off the show with “Cold Beer Calling My Name” – a song normally dueted with Luke Combs – and his debut hit “Some Girls”.
Next took the stage, a group of songwriters consisting of Rhett Akins, Ben Hayslip and Dallas Davidson – or “some of Luke Bryan’s favorite people”, according to the DJ. Riley Green has followed the band and he’s performed everything from 2017’s single ‘Georgia Time’ to ‘That Was Us’, 2021 album ‘Behind the Bar’ and crowd favorite ‘I Wish Grandpas Never Died’ .
Finally, at 9:40 p.m., Luke Bryan took the stage with the opening number “I don’t want this night to end”. Other hits included “Huntin’, Fishin’ and Lovin’ Every Day” and the latest single “Country On”. He brought Rodgers back on stage to sing a song Rodgers co-wrote, “Born Here Live Here Die Here”. Green then took to the stage singing popular country hits, including Tim McGraw’s “Where the Green Grass Grows.”
However, the purpose of Bryan’s Farm Tour is to honor farmers across the country. The Allen family were honored on stage with a check from Bayer to support the work of the dairy farm.