• 81°

Letter: My holiday joy —  a thank you note

Where do I begin? Our Drive Thru Santa + Live Reindeer Experience that was held last Thursday downtown, was magical. Yes, the reindeer were spectacular, waiving at Santa & Mrs. Claus is always so special, music in the air and lights setting the scene — but all the beautiful people who made all those things happen is really where my joy derived from.

I’ve always known the importance of a good team, and when I accepted this position way back in March, I had found this quote, “faster alone, further together.” I put it on a post-it note on my desk. Delegating tasks and asking for help will always be a struggle for me, but I’m learning.

Our event was smooth and wonderful because of every person involved: Our city parks department for the lights, sleigh delivery, candy canes and physically putting together the parking lot; Freeborn County Historical Society for lending us the use of the sleigh; the ALPD for keeping the incredible turnout safe and controlled; the sponsors for making the Crystal Collection Reindeer possible (Lou-Rich, Farmers State Bank of Hartland and Freeborn-Mower Cooperative Services; Donavon Skinner for setting up and running holiday music; Bob and Patti Yaw for sharing the Clauses with us; and Lucas Schuster for capturing our event from the sky. And ofcourse, it’s not an event without attendees. Our community showed up in droves — we are estimating somewhere around 600 cars came through the line. Wow.

Our Light up the Lake luminary event that took place Sunday evening was just an echo of that same joy!

Janelle Koepke, a community member, had an idea and made it come to fruition! A reminder that ideas are great, but putting action to your ideas is when the magic truly happens. Thank you to all the community members who helped set up and take down luminaires, as well as the ALPD for making sure that all was safe for our event!

My biggest takeaway from the past week is that events are great, and of course I miss gathering the way we have in the past, but the real joy isn’t the where or how, it’s the who. Our community is filled with so many helpers and advocates. This season, they are my joy!

Holly Karsjens

executive director

Main Street Program

Albert Lea Convention & Visitors Bureau