Build-A-Bear event sparks imagination, smiles

Published 10:42 am Friday, August 18, 2023

By Haley Mitchell Godwin

The heart of a small-town beats with its community events, and for the past three years, The Carriage House in Luverne has been fostering joy, creativity, and heartfelt connections through its annual, Build Your Own Bear” event held each summer.

The Carriage House owner Maegan Faulk Marshall shared her thoughts on the event’s success and the special place it holds in her heart.
“We had an amazing turn out,” Marshall said. “Some built their very first bear and there were other kids who couldn’t wait to tell me all about how their animal from last year was doing.”

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This year The Carriage House saw over 112 cuddly creatures come to life in just five days, bringing smiles, excitement, and a touch of magic to both young and old alike.

The event attracted new and returning attendees, like Kia Jo Hussey of Troy and her 3-year-old daughter, Sofia. This was their second time attending and Sofia had her heart set on building an eagle.

Sofia’s eyes lit up with joy when she found the eagle she wanted to create. Following instructions from Marshall, Sofia closed her eyes and made a wish before the stuffed animal was closed up.

The moment took an unexpectedly touching turn when Marshall, in her caring and intuitive manner, asked Sofia what she would name her new friend. Sofia, momentarily at a loss for words, was gently suggested the name “Frank the Eagle” by Marshall and unbeknownst to her, this name held a profound significance to the youngster who recently lost her great-grandfather, Frank Hussey.

The unexpected alignment of names left the Hussey family and Marshall with chills, reminding them how everyday interactions can turn into meaningful moments.

“It was the sweetest thing,” Hussey said. “Maegan asked her what she was going to name her eagle so if he flew off she would know what name to call…. It gave me and my mother-in-law chills as we knew that was nothing but God and Paw Paw speaking to us. We both had tears in our eyes, and it sure made our day.”

For Marshall, the annual event is not just about the animals being stuffed; it’s about creating lasting memories and a sense of belonging within the community.

“No matter how many animals I stuff, each one makes me smile,” Marshall said. “Listening to the kids come in excited to have something so fun brought right to their hometown never gets old. I hope to continue to bring new and exciting things to Luverne, but this one will always hold a special place in my heart.”