Arts & Culture Abound in the Willmar Lakes Area

By Erica Wacker

Rockin Robbins concert series, Willmar
Willmar's Rockin' Robbins concert series features free family fun in Robbins Island Regional Park

Best known for their lakes, parks and outdoor recreation galore, the “triplet cities” of Willmar, Spicer and New London share a well-kept secret.

Beyond the boats, the bass and the bike trails, discerning visitors will find a bustling arts scene, with enough theater, live music and art studios to please any connoisseur.

The largest of the trio, Willmar is still a small town at around 20,000 residents. In the heart of downtown, The Barn Theatre has grown from its humble origins in an actual horse barn to staging six major productions every year. This season’s highlights include “Nana’s Naughty Knickers” (April 4-14), “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” (June 13-30) and “The Fox on the Fairway” (Aug. 13-23).

Also in Willmar, the Rockin’ Robbins concert series features free, family-friendly concerts every Tuesday night from July 16-Aug. 6 at Robbins Island Regional Park. For more live music, check out the West Central Concert Series at the Willmar Education & Arts Center, starring 7th Avenue on April 18 and the Holy Rocka Rollaz on May 7.

In much smaller New London, The Little Theatre is a community and youth theater, concert hall and movie house all in one. This spring and summer offer three plays: “Glorious! The True Story of Florence Foster Jenkins, the Worst Singer” in April; “A Red Plaid Shirt” in May and June; and “Watson: The Last Great Tale of the Legendary Sherlock Holmes” in August. For some laughs, catch The Winery Comedy Tour at Glacial Ridge Winery in Spicer on Aug. 16.

Visual art appreciators should plan a visit around the Lakes Area Studio Hop (June 14-15), when close to a dozen area studios open their doors to the public.

Learn more and plan your trip to the Willmar Lakes Area.