There were plenty of reasons to visit the little town of Benson, Minnesota on Tuesday October 1st, for this was the biggest kept secret in Southwestern Minnesota as Benson Northside Elementary emerged as the winner of the Give with Target celebration which included a massive event which would bring the Target class of 2013 celebrities including Academy of Country Music Entertainer of the Year Luke Bryan, Olympic gold medalist, Gabrielle Douglas, television personality and actress La La Anthony, former Green Bay Packer and Dancing with the Stars season 14 winner, Donald Driver, and actress Sophia Bush to town to celebrate.
The day began with organizers preparing the high school gymnasium for what was called the elementary and high school portion of the event, which included a variety of games, and treats set up for students. Some of the games featured were Plink a Prize which was just like the popular Price is Right version, Unlock a Prize, which students would have the opportunity to open several lockers and claim whatever was placed on the other side, this seemed to be a very popular event as there were multitudes of students always lined up. There was even a giant book that students could sign their name and leave any comments as well and also a live DJ who happened to be the official DJ of the Miami Heat, DJ Irie, who did a tremendous job keeping the crowd going.
Later that evening the main event was held on the football field, with a crowd of around 3,500 which is about the size of the town, it would be safe to say that the whole town was there. The high school band started things out marching onto the field, stage left, along with DJ Irie and Donald Driver getting the crowd going. There was then a brief presentation on the massive screens hanging on the sides of the stage which featured how Benson school pulled off the win, and celebrity congratulations. When it was over La La Anthony walked out and spoke about the importance of education, and congratulating the school for their win.
There would then be presentations of awards to various faculty members, including second grade teacher Roger Ebnet who spearheaded the entire event, and was responsible for getting the school to the 10,000 votes needed to win.
Finally, the moment the crowd had waited for all night, country music superstar Luke Bryan walked out on stage and the crowd went crazy. Luke performed acoustic versions of six of his biggest hits, including latest single, ‘That’s My Kind of Night,’ ‘I Don’t Want this Night to End,’ ‘Crash My Party,’ ‘Drunk on You,’ ‘Country Girl,’ ‘Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye’ and came back with an encore featuring an all-star lineup with all the celebrities of the evening with ‘All My Friends.’
Luke talked about how he worked out at Snap Fitness earlier in the day, visited Mike’s Sports and even stopped at McKinney’s Southside to fry up his own burger.
This community really shined today with this incredible event, which will most likely be the biggest thing to happen in town history. One thing is for sure, the hearts and minds of the next generation has been impacted, as many students left inspired and determined to make a difference in the world which they live. Target has put together a great thing here, and you could hear all over, people grateful for the opportunity to be a part of something in history.