“Fun Finders” Jim and Bonnie Parr hit Burnsville this week to vet the city’s fine cuisine. Burnsville is one of six towns nominated for the best food in America by Rand McNally and USA TODAY. The “Fun Finders,” a retired couple from Florida, have the enviable task of taste-testing the food in each city.
The winning town will be announced on July 22 at the Destination Marketing Association International Convention in New Orleans. On Tuesday night, we caught up with Bonnie Parr between courses.
Q: How did you get the job of Fun Finder?
A: It was a contest sponsored by Rand McNalley and USA Today. I saw it on the USA Today site. They were advertising for the contest your city is in for the best small town in the USA and I read about that and then I saw the words 'Road Rally.' I read the rules and said to Jim, 'I think we could do this.' We were one of 75 teams that competed and one of five that was selected.
Q: What did the competition consist of?
A: We had to do a one-minute video on why we thought we were qualified to do this from our past experiences, and write a bio and do facebook and all that good stuff. I wasn’t all that much into that part of it, but I’m getting there. Then we had people vote for us. A team from Rand McNalley made the final selection based on what they saw from us.
Q: What are your qualifications?
A: We called ourselves the "Fun Finders" because we had to come up with a name. We called ourselves that because when Jim and I got together the year I was retiring we had a motto: If it wasn’t fun, we didn’t do it. That’s how that came aobut and we truly live by that motto. If it’s not fun to start with, we make it fun so that we enjoy every moment of our time together.
Q: What fun things have you done?
A: When I first retired we took a 10,500 mile trip around the U.S. and covered 39 states in 45 days. That was the year that we saw all the touristy sites, but we did do some small towns. We did a lot of off the road driving and we went on small roads rather than interstates. We found out we were very compatible traveling together so we take trips every chance we get.
Q: What’s the best meal you’ve had so far?
A: That’s a loaded question. We had so many good restaurants that we visited today here in Burnsville that I would be hard-pressed to say what was the very best.
Q: How are we doing so far?
A: You’re doing absolutely wonderful. We both said to each other ‘Can you believe that the mayor stayed with us all day long?’ We haven’t been to the other places yet, but I would almost put money on the fact that if we see the other mayors we’ll be lucky and I doubt they’ll stay with us all day.