About Rockin’ Robbins
In 2014, the two Rotary Clubs of Willmar came together to discuss the possibility of a joint Community Service Project. The goal was to address a key strategy that had been defined by the Vision 2040 group — to develop and revitalize Robbins Island.
Inspired by the success of Summertime by George, a free outdoor concert series presented by the Rotary Club of St. Cloud, we aimed to create the same kind of excitement in Willmar. With leadership and guidance from the St. Cloud club, we formulated a plan to create a similar outdoor concert series that would showcase the potential of Robbins Island Park, and help raise money for its future development.
We kicked off our inaugural season in 2016 with two outdoor concerts – the Fabulous Armadillos, and Justin Ploof and the Throwbacks. Our goal was simply to break even in our first year, but with amazing support from our Sponsors and the Willmar community, we were able to raise over $20,000 in proceeds which we donated to the “Friends of Robbins Island Fund” for the construction of the new Willmar Playground.
In 2017, we doubled our efforts, hosting four outdoor concerts and raising over $38,000 for ongoing improvements at Robbins Island Regional Park. In 2018, we had perfect weather for all four concerts, resulting in record attendance and over $74,000 in proceeds for ongoing improvements at Robbins Island Regional Park.
Also in 2017, our two Rotary clubs had so much fun working together on this joint Community Service Project, we decided to merge into one club. Effective July 1, 2017, we are now the bigger, better Willmar Rotary Club!
Along with an in-kind donation from Quick Signs in Willmar and matching grants from the Rotary Clubs of St. Cloud, Litchfield, Monticello and Springfield, our 2017 and 2018 proceeds were used to construct a beautiful new entrance to Robbins Island, including a lighted welcome sign, flagpole, tree plantings, and a landscaped perennial garden. Additionally, Rockin’ Robbins donated $10,000 to the new Celebrate the Light of the Word holiday light display at Robbins Island. (Our Willmar Rotary Club also donated $10,000, for a total club contribution of $20,000.)
With crowds averaging around 5,000 each week and continued strong support from our Willmar business community, the Willmar Rotary Club raised over $82,000 in 2019 and almost $90,000 in 2021! Proceeds continue to support improvements at Robbins Island, as well as other Rotary initiatives.
Rockin’ Robbins and the Willmar Rotary Club continue to donate $20,000 each year to the spectacular Celebrate the Light of the Word holiday light display at Robbins Island.
In 2021, we were also proud to donate $20,000 to the new Willmar Flags of Honor Veteran’s Memorial.
Most recently, we’ve created a new Rockin’ Robbins sub-committee to start making plans for a permanent concert stage on Robbins Island. If you’re interested in finding out how you or your business can help fund this exciting project, please Contact us.
The Willmar Rotary Club has been presented with two district-level Rotary Service Awards for our Rockin’ Robbins community service project. We love our community and are so proud of the ongoing support we receive for this amazing event!
Visit us at WillmarRotary.org to learn more about Rotary, or to inquire about joining our club.