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April Jeppson: Bringing a bit of the fair to Albert Lea

Every Little Thing, by April Jeppson

A few months ago, our world changed. Then as days turned into weeks, events and activities started canceling — concerts, sports and then fairs. All events canceled months before they were scheduled to run. People were both understanding and outraged. At the end of the day, no matter what side of the line you stand on, everyone was feeling remorseful for the summer they had planned on having.

April Jeppson

A colleague reached out to me with the idea that perhaps my workplace could host a mini fair. Void of most the items in a traditional fair because, frankly, legally they weren’t allowed. But what if we could bring a taste of the fair to our town? What if we could gather in some food trucks and put together something that could help soften the blow of having the Six Best Days of Summer canceled?

I loved this idea. It ran in the back of my mind for weeks. As the governor eased restrictions, I knew that we’d be safe to go ahead and start planning, brainstorming with friends and co-workers on what they’d like to see happen trying to stay within the state mandated guidelines. A clear vision began to take place.

As we started reaching out to vendors, we got mixed results. Some were eager to join us while others were hesitant. I tried not to let the continued rejection get me down. My vision was clear, and I just needed to find the right people that could see it. We kept on and kept calling and messaging and reaching out to people up until a week before our event. The day before showtime, I was a hot mess. I had done everything I could think of — but would it be enough?

There are times in our lives when we work and work and work and there is no way to know if we’re doing it correctly. We simply have to trust the process, keep our nose to the grindstone and continue on — putting in the work and hoping that we’re on the right track. Then after weeks, months or even years, we are finally able to see the fruits of our labors. This week I was at a point when I would find out if the work I was doing was actually going to produce fruit.

There are many times in our lives where you just don’t know if you’re doing it right until hindsight tells you. When you raise your children. At what point do you find out if you raised a boy into a man that will become a great husband? 20 years? 30 years? Or how about this whole school thing we’re dealing with right now? When will we find out if the choice we made to keep our kids home or send them to school was the right choice? Six months from now? Two years from now? Will we ever know?

Well let me tell you some good news. The tree that I have been working on for weeks finally bore fruit — a lotof fruit! Our event was a success. It was even better than we hoped it would be. Happy vendors that were thankful we invited them out. Happy families that were happy we put the event together. I pulled out of the full parking lot Wednesday night with happy tears in my eyes. We definitely did not replace the county fair, but for a few moments, it felt like it.

Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams.