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 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! 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 proceeds were used to construct a beautiful new entrance and welcome sign to Robbins Island for summer 2018. Additionally, we donated $5,000 to the new Celebrate the Light of the Word holiday light display at Robbins Island. (Our Willmar Rotary Club also donated $5,000, for a total club contribution of $10,000.)
To date, Rockin’ Robbins has raised over $116,000 for improvements at Robbins Island Regional Park! We are currently working with the City of Willmar to determine how best to allocate these funds. Plans include a four-season rental pavilion for kayaks, ice skates and cross country skis, three new three-season picnic shelters, and a permanent bandshell.
In the spring of 2018, Willmar Rotary Club was presented with a district-level Rotary Service Award at the Rotary District 5950 annual conference in Minneapolis. This is the video we submitted for the awards presentation. We are so proud of this project, and all the support we receive from our awesome community!
One last thing… 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! Visit us at WillmarRotary.org to learn more about Rotary, or to inquire about joining our club.