The day was beautiful, not too hot and not too cold. Just what you would want for a day at the fair.
“The big llama,” Dorothy Millam answers, as she holds her bag of popcorn, when asked what she enjoys most about the event held at the Milaca Elim nursing home.
“All the young people,” says Doris Lundberg as she watches children from All Star Daycare who are talking with residents and running activities at each of the game stations. “It’s a lovely day.” Shirley Hoskins concurs and says that she loves watching all the kids from the daycare.
The residents of Milaca Elim couldn’t get to this year’s state fair, so the “state fair” was brought to them in the way of farm animals (including a llama, a calf, sheep, goats, ducks, and a chicken), fair food and games on Aug. 27.
Cindy Hemmerich, of Milaca Elim, said each year the residents enjoy playing games with the children and eating the caramel apples, popcorn, cotton candy and lemonade.
“Everyone enjoyed the animals and getting a chance to pet them as well,” said Hemmerich. “Both young and old enjoyed trying their hand at good old fashioned carnival games like lucky duck, pop bottle ring toss, bean bag toss, and basketball toss.”
Hemmerich said that when the fair was over, they served a fun lunch with fair food for staff, volunteers, residents and family members which included mini-corn dogs, egg rolls, caramel apples, cheese curds, deep fried macaroni and cheese, french fries, and mini-donuts.
Chaplain Dale Clifton said, “I would think that something like this brings back happy memories of being back on the farm. Along with the animals, it’s been a delight to see kids holding the animals; that’s a winning combination for any nursing home. It’s really heartwarming to see some of the residents who normally stay in their rooms come out to this event.”
Dewayne Collins, a resident at Elim who used to run the mini-donut cart at local county fairs for Land-O’Lakes, tried the mini-donuts, said Hemmerich. “He had a bag of donuts and stated, ‘These are like the real thing,’” said Hemmerich.
“The fact that they do this for us is wonderful,” said resident Norma Hannenburg. “It’s very much appreciated … their energy and exuberance. They have done this every year for about five years.”
From the expressions on residents’ faces, the day at “the fair” will be something to be remembered.