An Update from Waco
As we approached November, our community wondered whether safety concerns would keep us from hosting our annual fair for the first time in over 30 years. But we felt strongly that the fair could bring hope to those outside of our community who grappled with unrest and confusion as 2020 drew to a close.
We were granted permission by the county to hold the annual outdoor event with the exception that we not have regular concerts such as the music presentation in the large tent. After much prayerful consideration, our community decided to proceed with the fair. Several weeks of busy preparation followed, as we produced more crafts, set up new parking areas, built pathways, cooked, baked and made booth displays.
However, as Thanksgiving weekend approached, the forecasts indicated very unfavorable weather for outdoor events. We decided to postpone until the first weekend of December. But since Thanksgiving weekend is when people expect the fair to be open, we held an informal opening for folks who wanted to come early. Despite the occasional rain showers, 3,000 people showed up to tour the craft displays, visit the petting pen and sample several tasty options at the food booths.
The formal opening of the fair occurred Saturday, December 5. The morning dawned gray and threatened more bad weather. Yet despite predictions of showers throughout the day, it only misted a couple of times! The weather failed to dampen our guests’ plans or spirits. Hundreds of visitors showed up, then thousands as the day progressed!
This year we added a barnyard treasure hunt, which proved popular for children and their families. The treasure hunt featured hidden clues throughout the model homestead and offered as prizes either a free hayride or tickets to hands-on activities. The hay-bale maze was also a favored choice for young folks.
All three food courts saw continuous lines of hungry people looking for old favorites such as the southwest burger basket, beef pepperoni and chicken Alfredo pizza, fettuccine Alfredo or chicken and cheese tamales. We also added a booth this year offering specialty waffles (both sweet and savory options) as well as a food trailer from Cafe Homestead featuring three different gourmet burgers.
Lunchtime on Saturday held a surprise for our guests. At 1:00 PM, Sister Helen walked up the path alongside the food court followed by a group of young folks singing an a cappella version of “Lean on Me.” Everyone enjoyed the music, and many were singing along by the end of it. Not wanting to attract too big a crowd, we ended with “This Joy That I Have” even though the fair goers clamored for more.
Many Joyous and Grateful Attendees
Over the two weekends, more than 15,000 visitors attended our fair! We feel very blessed that God used the fair to answer questions and to minister hope and joy to many fair goers. Here are comments from a few of them:
“We loved the music! We were there Saturday and Sunday. Great weather, great fun, amazing artisans and wonderfully kind, God-fearing people. Thank you for sharing your faith and families with the world.”
“We had the best weekend! Thank ya’ll for giving us a fun family event to enjoy!”
“We attended today and had a wonderful time! Our first visit but definitely not our last!”
“Thank you, Homestead Heritage! We were there today and with God who provided beautiful weather. The delicious food and festive atmosphere were blessed and refreshed.”
Nathaniel Klingensmith and Aridai Lozano were married at the Fellowship Hall on November 6. Natt grew up in our community here in Texas and became interested in learning Spanish several years ago. He has since become instrumental in translating our church literature into Spanish and has made several trips to our community in Monterrey, Mexico. Ari grew up in Veracruz, Mexico, and only recently moved to Monterrey to join our community. Natt and Ari grew to know each other through their work in translating.
Ari’s family and friends from Monterrey faced several legal obstacles as they attempted to come into the States, but the Lord made it possible for everyone to make it to the wedding on time.
We wanted some of the wedding music to be in Spanish, so for a couple of weeks we practiced “Once In A While.” Yet without a Spanish speaker to help with our pronunciation, we learned several of the lines incorrectly. Thankfully, Brother Éder arrived a week before the ceremony to help us. He pointed out that we were singing, “Dog know in Jesus they do,” rather than, “But I know in Jesus they do!” We believe we sang it correctly at the wedding!
Celebrations after the wedding were conducted in a safe manner appropriate for the pandemic, but they were nevertheless joyous. Brother Éder introduced us to a Spanish hora song. Even those of us who did not understand the words felt the vibrant joy in the music, especially those who danced to it.