Dozens stage ‘camp in,’ waiting for Chick-fil-A to open in Coon Rapids

In an “utterly” astounding development, dozens of Chick-fil-A fanatics set up tents and staged a 24-hour camp-in, eager to win a year’s supply of chicken sandwiches from the soon-to-be-opened Coon Rapids restaurant.

Playfully passing the time until the Coon Rapids Chick-fil-A opens tomorrow morning (Thursday, Oct. 10), Mark Kutrieb plays some football in the parking lot. Kutrieb came from Indiana for the grand opening event and set up camp with seven family members. Photos by Sue Austreng
Playfully passing the time until the Coon Rapids Chick-fil-A opens tomorrow morning (Thursday, Oct. 10), Mark Kutrieb plays some football in the parking lot. Kutrieb came from Indiana for the grand opening event and set up camp with seven family members. Photos by Sue Austreng

Chick-fil-A Coon Rapids – one of the first stand-alone Chick-fil-A restaurants in Minnesota – opens tomorrow (Thursday, Oct. 10) and the first 100 adults in line when the doors open at 6 a.m. will win a one-year supply of free Chick-fil-A meals.

Chick-fil-A fanatics came from as far away as California, Idaho and Indiana and from as close to home as Coon Rapids, Anoka and Andover.

“We come because they serve good, quality food, the kids have fun, play a few games, camp out. And we get free chicken for a year – who wouldn’t want that,” said Mark Kutrieb, who came from Indiana and set up camp with seven family members for the occasion.

Kutrieb’s got some bragging rights, too, having attended nine of Chick-fil-A’s “First 100” grand opening events throughout the country.

Chick-fil-A fanatics started to set up camp more than 24 hours before the scheduled opening and Chick-fil-A provides security, restroom access, games and entertainment. Why, they even feed the Chick-fil-A tailgating crowd, distributing chicken sandwiches, fries and a beverage to campers filing through the drive through lane for lunch and for dinner.

Later today, campers will stuff backpacks with school supplies (donated by the Chick-fil-A Foundation) to be given to children in need.

That community service project demonstrates the company’s passion for helping those who live in the neighborhood of each of its stand-alone restaurants, according to Coon Rapids Chick-fil-A franchise operator Jason Griggs.

“There are three key elements to who we are,” Griggs said. “We serve quality food. We extend genuine hospitality. And we work to give back to the community, to be a positive influence for the area.”

Chick-fil-A opens its Coon Rapids doors at 6 a.m. tomorrow, bringing nearly 100 new jobs to the community as the chain kicks off its expansion into the state. That expansion includes the Oct. 10 opening of a second restaurant in Maple Grove and two more in Apple Valley and Bloomington on Nov. 7.

Playfully passing the time until the Coon Rapids Chick-fil-A opens tomorrow morning (Thursday, Oct. 10), Mark Kutrieb plays some football in the parking lot. Kutrieb came from Indiana for the grand opening event and set up camp with seven family members. Photos by Sue Austreng Dozens of Chick-fil-A fanatics set up camp at the Coon Rapids restaurant, hoping to win free Chick-fil-A for a year. Campers line up single file, ready to walk through the Chick-fil-A drive through lane and pick up a free meal at midday during the camp-in. Filing through the drive through lane, Chick-fil-A campers collect their free meal. T.J. Look, Jake Hudson-Myer and Anders Skaalerud (dressed in custom-made Chick-fil-A jerseys) imagine the satisfaction of enjoying a year’s worth of free Chick-fil-A. Cousins and cousins-in-law Wanda and Roger Mickelson, Rich and Rechelle Donais and Teresa Larson traveled to the Coon Rapids Chick-fil-A restaurant from as far away as Kansas and Idaho, hoping to win a year’s worth of free chicken meals. Rechelle hand-crafted the crocheted hats the Chick-fil-A fanatics wore for the occasion. Dozens of tents line the Chick-fil-A parking lot on Round Lake Boulevard in Coon Rapids during a tailgate-style grand opening event in which fans can win First 100 coupons, good for a year’s worth of Chick-fil-A chicken sandwiches.
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Cousins and cousins-in-law Wanda and Roger Mickelson, Rich and Rechelle Donais and Teresa Larson traveled to the Coon Rapids Chick-fil-A restaurant from as far away as Kansas and Idaho, hoping to win a year’s worth of free chicken meals. Rechelle hand-crafted the crocheted hats the Chick-fil-A fanatics wore for the occasion.

Sue Austreng is at [email protected]

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