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Rugland: Memories made at annual craft show trip

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My mom and I have gone to a craft show at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minnesota, every November since I was in seventh grade. It has evolved over the years to include more family and has expanded to a one-night hotel stay and then eventually a two-night getaway allowing time for more Christmas shopping and fun. But it started with just me and my mom nearly 30 years ago and has always been a special occasion. I look forward to it all year. For me, this weekend is the unofficial kickoff to the holiday season.

Addie Rugland

Addie Rugland

Last year, because of COVID, the craft show was canceled. As silly as it may seem, it was such a loss. It’s not just a day or weekend of shopping and spending money. It’s quality time spent together talking, laughing and making memories without interruption.

The first years we went I was a teenager and would help my mom choose gifts for loved ones or special pieces for our family’s home. As the years went on, I married and had a house of my own to decorate and family to buy gifts for. Today, when I see an item from the craft show in either my mom’s home or mine it takes me back to the memory of whatever year we bought it and always makes me smile.

It’s been interesting to watch the trends change over the years. Clearly, the home décor style has changed a lot since the early 90’s. Clothing and jewelry stands have increased and more recently signs with quotes or sayings fill many booths.

The size of the craft show has grown immensely over the years. A few of the vendors have been there from the start. A couple of them even recognize us from year to year.

One of my favorite memories of this craft show involves my dad, who has never attended. But he loves cashews and there has always been a vendor selling hot candied nuts. Each year before we would leave the show we would buy my dad a bag of these delicious smelling candied cashews. We got him this special treat for many years. Until he finally admitted he really didn’t like the candied cashews. We couldn’t believe it! All this time we thought we were bringing him such a gift only to find out he didn’t even care for them and instead ate them just to be nice! We howled with laughter until we cried.

Every year since my dad’s confession when we pass this vendor’s stand we joke if we need to stop and then have a great giggle. It’s these fun memories that have made the show and weekend so wonderful.

This year the craft show resumed. My mom and I deliberated if we should attend or not, as we knew it would be very crowded. Finally, we decided to attend. We’re both vaccinated and knew we would wear masks, so with these precautions we felt we were taking steps to be careful while still “living life.”

Once we made our decision to go, we asked our extended family if they wanted to join us. It was a quick yes from each of them. Everyone was eager to have this event back on the calendar. So we resumed our tradition and made a weekend of it, staying two nights in a hotel while shopping and dining out. Boy, did we have fun! Enjoying a weekend together talking, eating, having some adult beverages and laughing until our stomach’s hurt just felt so good.

The return of this beloved tradition was the perfect start to the holidays as I soaked up the fun at the craft show, accomplished a little Christmas gift shopping and made many memories with family. But make no mistake, we didn’t buy any candied cashews.

CAL Elementary students care for goats on their small animal farm in Latimer.

Addie Rugland is a freelance writer who lives in Northwood with her husband, daughter and son.

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