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They were at the fair to help out

By Chuck Hunt - Editor | Aug 8, 2021

Ryanna, a young girl from Lakeville, offers to help carry the plate of pancakes to the table for Elmore resident George Huber at the Veterans Breakfast.

OK, I have to admit, despite what I wrote last week in this space, I had a lot of fun at the Faribault County Fair this year.

Part of that was because there was quite a bit of interesting entertainment throughout the four days of the fair.

However, an even bigger reason I had a good time at the fair is because I spent an awful lot of time visiting with folks around the fair.

That is not a shocker to my friends, family and coworkers, who have noted for years that I love to talk to people, and even more importantly, love to listen to them.

The county fair is a pretty great place to do just that. Of course, most of my visiting was with folks I know, who were excited to be able to go to the fair after a year of there being no fair to go to, and who pretty much just stayed home a lot.

But, I also started visiting with folks I don’t know. Especially if they asked me why I was taking a lot of photos.

One of those turned out to be the owner (and emcee) of the American Lumberjacks Show. Another one was from the Homeward Bound Theatre Company, the company which supplied much of the talent at the fair, including Wanda the Clown, the Balloon Lady and the Alfie’s Robotic Puppets.

Both men said basically the same thing. They were extremely happy to be back doing fairs this year, and were booked solid for the whole summer.

And, that was a good thing. Because both of them said they came darn close to shutting down for good by the end of 2020. They were a heartbeat away from hanging it up, and would have, if things had not opened back up this year.

But, one of the most interesting people I visited with during the fair was a young girl from Lakeville named Ryanna.

I met Ryanna at the Veterans Memorial Building and the Veterans Breakfast early on Saturday morning. She was helping serve the coffee and juice, bus tables, take out coffee refills and do whatever else needed to be done.

All with a lot of energy and a big smile.

She helped out George Huber, of Elmore, by taking his plate to the table and getting him a cup of coffee. Then she took a break and sat with George and his wife, Mary, and visited with them, and with me.

Turns out Ryanna and her mother, Christa, brother Evan, sister Lexi and her grandmother, Lisa, had gotten up at 5:30 a.m. and left their home in Lakeville to come to Blue Earth just to help out with the Veterans Breakfast here.

Ryanna’s grandmother, Lisa, is a veteran herself, as well as being a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. She heard about this special Veterans Breakfast through the Odd Fellows organization.

She told her daughter Christa about this event and she also wanted to come assist, and bring along her children to also help at the event.

Christa said she works hard on trying to teach her kids the importance of helping out where needed, respecting veterans and being good citizens.

The kids were into it. They were busy helping out wherever they were needed, and that included busing tables, throwing out the trash, refilling coffee cups, and visiting with those who looked like they needed some attention.

Even after having gotten up at 5:30 in the morning to come to Blue Earth, they were all pretty chirpy and smiling. Ryanna, who is an accomplished gymnast, she said, certainly had a pleasant personality.

I think we could all learn a lesson from this family who came from the Twin Cities area (grandmother Lisa lives in North Minneapolis, actually, not Lakeville, so she had an even longer trek to get here) just to help out some people they did not know.

But, they knew quite a few of them by the time they left.

I really liked this spirit of helping out your fellow man, no matter who they are, or for that matter, where they are.

I certainly thank them personally and on behalf of the Faribault County community for their dedication to being good neighbors…no matter how far away those neighbors might live.

I hope they had some time to enjoy a bit of the fair before they had to go home.