April Jeppson: It was like visiting a village from a game

Published 8:45 pm Friday, September 22, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Every Little Thing by April Jeppson

Last weekend my family went to the Renaissance Festival. I haven’t been to the one in Shakopee for probably 10 years. When we lived in Iowa, my husband and I went to the Des Moines festival a few times, but that was before we had children. I remember the Minnesota event being larger, but I had no idea how big it had become over the years.

April Jeppson

When I went online the night before to figure out the parking situation, all the onsite parking was already filled. When we arrived at our park and ride location, half of the people getting on the bus were in full costume. My previous experience was that about a quarter of the people dress up. As our bus was driving through the literal sea of parked cars to drop us off at the entrance, I was in awe. There were so many people.

Email newsletter signup

I love things like this. I enjoy board games, movies like “Harry Potter” and “Lord of the Rings,” and dressing up for Halloween. The land of make believe is fun and not just for children. I’ve learned that the people I tend to enjoy the most are those that aren’t afraid to look stupid. They go the extra mile, not because it’s expected but because it makes them happy.

My husband and I knew of each other, but it was at a college Halloween party where we really hit it off. I thought it was awesome that he dressed up for the party. I mean, everyone dressed up, but he really got into it. He came as a medieval knight, donning 30 pounds of chain mail the entire evening. I went as Trinity from the Matrix and “dogdged” bullets on the dance floor all night.

Being raised by individuals who encourage dressing up and going all in, our three children also get into it. As we took our seats on the bus and surveyed our fellow passengers my ninth-grade son whispered to me “next time we come, I’m dressing up.”

After walking around for an hour and enjoying the first of many snacks, we asked all the kids what they thought so far. They loved it. My daughter was mad that we had been hiding this place from them. “How come you never took us here before?” The others enthusiastically agreed.

It was a really fun day. As a family we play board games with elves, trolls, dwarfs, mermaids and dragons. So for my children to see a mermaid, a row of elves sitting in front of us on the bus, a group of wizards eating turkey legs … it really brought everything to life. It was as if we were visiting a village from one of our games.

Not only was it fun, it was also a good reminder for me to do more stuff like this. I will always be busy and there will always be things to do. My children won’t always be living under my roof and the amount of days I have with them is fleeting. I’m excited to help them plan out their outfits for next year. I’m also excited to take them to more places that we’ve been “hiding” from them.

Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams. Her column appears every Saturday.