August 24, 2023 at 6:00 a.m.

Bigger barn on the farm

Tutti Fruitti expands for events, storage

By BEN SONNEK | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

There is now more space to dance at the farm.

Tutti Fruitti Restaurant and Market Farm near Sauk Centre recently completed their expansion, the dance barn, and are looking forward to hosting bigger functions and having more parties on site. With their annual Oktoberfest celebration Sept. 21, Kevin and Marlene Gwost are glad to provide a smooth, solid floor for people to dance on.

“Last year, they were dancing on dirt and carpet,” Marlene said. “Just got an old carpet and laid it out on the dirt so they could dance on it, but now, they can really dance.”

Tutti Fruitti’s original vegetable sales area has been the restaurant’s dining room for some time, and the extended dining room used to be a garage that was added in 2018 and then turned into seating about a year later. The existing kitchen was also an add-on.

The latest addition was inspired by the tent Tutti Fruitti used to put up for larger events.

“For the last three or four years, we always had an Oktoberfest,” Kevin said. 

“The first year we had (the tent) up, we had a terrific windstorm come through here and tip it over completely the night before Oktoberfest, so we had to straighten it. The poles inside were bent, so we worked until one o’clock in the morning, straightening out poles, and we had to make some of our own, and we had it back upright and got the cover back on it.”

After that experience, the Gwosts wanted to build a structure instead of a tent. They also wanted to have a space with a larger occupancy.
       They began building the expansion last fall, putting up the poles and roof before the winter and finished the walls in spring and summer.

While the Gwosts wanted more space, the size of their expansion was limited by the road’s proximity.

“We can’t go any bigger,” Marlene said. “You have to be so many feet away from the middle of the highway. But, if we have to, if our Oktoberfest keeps getting bigger, we can always put the tent (on the side).”

The structure of the dance barn is enclosed, but every other wall panel can open for fair weather events. Lighting will soon be installed, and insulation and a ceiling may also be added at some point. 

The space will be used as machinery storage during the winter, but in the summer, the Gwosts are hoping to host more events including concerts, weddings, anniversaries, birthday parties and more. They estimate their occupancy with the expansion can be 150-200 people, not counting the main dining area.

Before winter comes, the Gwosts are thinking about selling Christmas trees out of the dance barn.

“That way, we can have it open if the weather’s nice, but if it’s snowing and blowing, we can close it up,” Kevin said. “People can shop in comfort, even if it’s really cold, windy and snowing outside.”

The main thing the Gwosts are looking forward to about the expansion, though, is how many more people they can welcome to the farm.

“Yesterday (Aug. 16), a tour bus came in and filled up the whole room,” Marlene said. “It was nice to have them.”


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