STEWARTVILLE, Minn. (KTTC)- For the past four years, the Ironwood Springs Christian Ranch in Stewartville has packed their grounds for a weekend of fun and faith.
It can be anything, the meaning behind it is up to interpretation, but it is known as only one thing at the Ironwood Springs Christian Ranch: a miracle.
Miracles Happen, a saying they all live by and the name of their annual festival.
"I really didn't name it the Miracle Lodge," says Bob Bardwell, the camp director. "I didn't have a name for it until a gentleman from Rochester was donating some stuff to me, his name was Gerard, he looks and me and asks me 'Hey Bob, how's that miracle lodge coming?' And I'm going 'What? Why do you call it a miracle lodge, Gerard?' and he says "Bob, what do you call it?'"
And that Miracle Lodge for Bardwell is the center of the entire festival.
"And it's certainly been an appropriate name because that lodge provides miracles for families, soldiers, people with disabilities. People of all walks of life keep coming here. So this festival is a celebration of not only the lodge but all the people that come here as well, I call that a miracle as well."
People can enjoy bike rides, monster trucks and musical performances, including songs from Tony Melendez who, without the use of arms, plays the guitar with his feet.
This entire weekend has another purpose as well, as it pays honor to our nation's military heroes.
"One of the highlights for me of this festival, which we'll always continue each year, is celebrating our soldiers," says Bardwell. "We call it 'Support the Troops- Honor the Veterans,' and that's going to go on every year because that lodge is a tribute to our soldiers. We put on four retreats each year at the Miracle Lodge called Operation: Welcome Home."
As hundreds gather on the last Sunday of July each year, their biggest message to share is that miracles do happen, whether you call them miracles or not.
The weather was a slight deterrent for events Sunday as it rained through much of the morning, but those in attendance had no complaints and enjoyed a Sunday morning of car shows and family fun.
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