Today is our town's annual celebration. For me, it has always marked the official first day of Fall. We are almost always blessed with beautiful weather. Blue skies, crisp, cool air, and the leaves just starting to turn. The festivities begin on Friday night with a concert, dance and Bingo. I have to admit, it's been years since I've joined in on that part. Last night, Emily went with a friend and her family to play Bingo, and they had a ball.
When the kids were small, we would start out early on Saturday mornings, usually to join the parade. All of the local schools are represented and the kids wear their school colors or costumes according to a theme. The year our school put on a new addition, the kids were all in yellow construction hats. One year, our beloved pastor dressed up as a knight in shining armour (the school mascot) and led the kids through town.
As the years passed, we were happy to just be parade spectators. As luck would have it, the first two homes we owned were within steps of the beginning of the parade route. I loved it. Waking up early in the morning to instruments being tuned, clowns hurrying down the street, and horses and llamas clip clopping by.
After the parade, there is a huge fair in the middle of town. Craft booths, food booths, inflatables for the kids, camel rides, and a stage where all the local dance troupes and choirs perform. I always buy something from the crafters for my fall decorations. Local businesses are all represented and I find that it's a good time to load up on pencils and notepads, shopping bags and fridge magnets.
This year, Dan and I went down to the festival early. We dropped Em off with some of her friends, so they could wander and get their hair colored goofy colors, buy snacks and search out all of their school friends. Dan and I headed off to find coffee and our guilty pleasure of funnel cake for breakfast. We wandered through the booths, and ran into many familiar faces -- a friend who recently retired, our family vet, the local celebrity who is master of ceremonies for the parade, to name just a few. When you've lived in a small town for 40-plus years, it seems you know everyone.
We both agreed that it was so nice to be able to enjoy everything without strollers, kids pulling us both ways, and not having to march in that darn parade! Dan was patient with me while I shopped and then he enjoyed the antique car show set up at the far end of the park. We both enjoyed the informal dog show, as everyone seems to bring their family pet. One of the newer attractions, in addition to the dog clown costume contest which is hoot! is a contest for the dogs where they run a long ramp and dive into a pool, going for the longest yardage. It's great fun to watch dogs of a every shape and size, racing down the ramp and plunging into the pool.
When our feet started to give out, we grabbed some lunch from the high school cheerleaders booth and found a picnic bench to sit at and enjoyed just watching the festivities. We gave Em permission to stay a bit longer with her group of friends and decided to head on home.
Now that Fall has officially started, it's time to pull out the pumpkins and scarecrows!