Sunday, July 29, 2007

Saturday Simple Pleasures: Town Festival

The last weekend in July is always our town's festival. After a community-wide pit BBQ and dance in the park on Friday evening, the parade starts at 9 AM on Saturday morning. With over sixty extrants and lasting almost an hour, the town parade commences with the local high school's drill team and concludes with our town's heroes, the mostly-volunteer fire department (one full-time paid fire fighter). In between are more fire trucks from surrounding communities, floats and trucks from local businesses and churches, antique cars from Model A's and T's to classic Mustangs, clowns, tractors, gunslingers on horses, the high school marching band and cheerleaders, llamas, army tanks and military transports, bagpipers, jugglers, Miss Alpine in a convertible, well-digging trucks, pick-up trucks filled with girl scouts and hair dressers, medieval knights and ladies on their steeds, and just about everything else you can imagine.

Many parade participants toss candy and small toys from their floats and trucks; tiny kids (and not-so-tiny ones, too) dash out into the slow-moving parade, collecting treats and toys into baggies. Some of the fire trucks squirt water on the parade-watchers (my own son soaked me on purpose, the little wretch!), and one never quite knows what to expect during that delightful hour of enjoying the parade with one's neighbors and friends as we shout to the parade participants whom we know. It's simply delightful.

After the parade, we usually have both rodeo rings going, but the meadow behind our home changed hands this year and the purchaser wouldn't allow the rodeo to proceed on his land, thus breaking a 36-year tradition of rodeo fun. So without the rodeo and kiddie-rides, the craft area and the county park, which hosted family games such as three-legged races, etc., were the places to be. I sat all day at our creative arts council's information booth in the craft area, selling tote bags and art cards created by Judith and to-die-for brownies baked by Margo. But mostly we spread the word about our arts council's activities, trying to get more exposure and participation in the arts here in the back country. So many artists live in the far-flung corners of the eastern San Diego county, and we'd love to band together to network, to share, to enjoy, and to learn together and really build up an extensive arts community.

So our town's festival wasn't quite all it usually is, minus the rodeo and other activities that are possible with the money the rodeo brings in (like kiddie-rides), but it was still a time of bonding with neighbors we don't see daily, with friends who live near but the daily drudge gets in the way of chatting with. The festival is just a good time to come together physically as a community and to realize once again that we live in a truly great place.

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