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Luke Bryan Farm Tour stop acts as fundraiser for Dover-Eyota students

Rachel Thoma and volunteers opened up the Dover-Eyota Elementary School parking lot to Luke Bryan concertgoers, with money raised going to the Spanish club's trip to Ecuador this summer.

farm tour
Luke Bryan performs at Gar-lin Dairy Farm during Luke Bryan's Farm Tour in Eyota, Minn., Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022.
Special to the Post Bulletin / Craig Johnson
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EYOTA, Minn. – Rachel Thoma braved a windy Saturday afternoon to stand in the Dover-Eyota Elementary School parking lot to sell $20 parking spaces to Luke Bryan Farm Tour concertgoers.

luke bryan farm tour
Rachel Thoma (right) greets a driver who parks in the Dover-Eyota Elementary School parking lot before Luke Bryan's Farm Tour concert in Eyota, Minn., Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022.
Abby Sharpe / Post Bulletin

Gar-lin Dairy Farm, which hosted Bryan’s tour stop in Eyota, is a little over a mile from the elementary school. When Dover-Eyota Public Schools Superintendent Jeremy Frie learned of the concert, he knew it was an opportunity to raise money for the school district.

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After conversations between staff members, Frie and school board member Heather Duellman, it was decided the funds raised from the 100-plus parking spots available would be donated to Thoma and her Spanish club’s trip to Ecuador.

The funds will be allocated for the Spanish club, but students don’t have to be a member of the club to join on the trip. Thoma understands that learning a different language is difficult and can be intimidating, so the trip is open to all high school students.

“Really, I just want to get these kids out of rural Eyota, Minnesota, and show them the bigger, wider world,” she said.

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The club traveled to Costa Rica this past summer, and to Spain twice before that. It’s a cultural immersion for students.

“This is more just that other people live differently than you,” Thoma said. “It’s fun to see them out of their element, try new experiences and seeing just the way the different personalities come out.”

Braving the elements

Speaking of braving the windy Saturday, Gar-lin Dairy Farm was still packed with 20,000 people despite the whipping wind and chill that overtook the open field. People huddled in the general admission standing only sections, in front of the section marked for those who brought lawn chairs.

Multiple concertgoers were equipped with fleece blankets to protect from the elements.

Gar-lin Dairy Farm was filled with 20,000 people to see Luke Bryan, who was joined by Jameson Rodgers, The Peach Pickers and Riley Green.

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.”

The Peach Pickers hit the stage next, a songwriting group made up of Rhett Akins, Ben Hayslip and Dallas Davidson – or “some of Luke Bryan’s favorite people,” according to the DJ. Riley Green followed the group, and he performed everything from 2017 single “Georgia Time” to “That Was Us,” from the 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 opening number “I Don’t Want This Night to End.” Other hits included “Huntin’, Fishin’ and Lovin’ Every Day” and latest single “Country On.” He brought Rodgers back on stage to sing a song Rodgers co-wrote, “Born Here Live Here Die Here.” Green made his way to the stage after, singing popular country hits, including Tim McGraw’s “Where the Green Grass Grows.”

The entire point of Bryan’s Farm Tour, though, is to honor farmers across the country. The Allen family was honored on stage with a check from Bayer to support the dairy farm’s work.

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luke bryan farm tour
The stage set up for Luke Bryan's Farm Tour stop in Eyota, Minn., Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022.
Abby Sharpe / Post Bulletin

Abby Sharpe joined the Post Bulletin in February 2022 after graduating from Arizona State University with a sports journalism degree. While at ASU, she created short- and long-form stories for audio and digital. Readers can reach Abby at 507-285-7723 or asharpe@postbulletin.com.
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