Today we celebrated the Labor Day holiday in a small town about 24 miles away. It was a pretty typical small town celebration in our area.
There were plenty of food booths; with many of them being fund raisers for various church groups, Kiwanis groups, and The Lion’s Club. Local restaurants shifted their base of operation to the park in the center of town for the day to be where the action was. I really wanted to get a bag of kettle corn (which is delicious!) but the line was so incredibly long that you could have probably grown some popcorn by the time you would get to buy some.
Another section of the park plays host to local vendors who are selling everything from Tupperware to crafts made from repurposed items to booths selling spices and home-baked goods.
Off to the side is the children’s section……lots of carnival games (think the fish pond) and the ever popular inflatable things they can jump around in.
Most small town celebrations in our area include a parade. This one was no exception. The color guard started it out with veterans from the local legion group leading the way. In small towns around here everyone stands, hats off and pays their respects to these veterans and the flag.
The vets are followed by the parade marshal who seems to always be the oldest living person in the town. Sometimes they are long time business people who have just retired but old seems to be the main criteria. As I do not live in a town and have not yet reached that age I think that I will never be a parade marshal, which is okay because it would be kind of awkward with everyone looking at you. A person would have to practice the parade wave…..elbow, elbow, wrist, wrist type of wave……stressful.
A big part of our small town parades involve firetrucks, ambulances and the EMTs and firemen and their families tossing candy at any small child along the route. Once in awhile they take pity on those of us who come without children and we get tossed a tootsie roll. Life is good!
Also featured are various businesses and lots of farm tractors of all ages, makes and sizes.
Always a crowd pleaser at the parades are the shriners. Sometimes we get to see motorcycles and sometimes it is the go carts/dune buggy things. My husband thought it looked like a lot of fun! I laughed when I overheard one parade watcher ponder on how many tires they must go through in a parade season.
One of my favorite entries in these parades has to be the bands. This time there was the elementary band and high school band of the local school system. They also had a business that featured a percussion type of band on a trailer. Their instruments consisted of wooden bar stools and trash cans.
After the parade we ventured over to the high school where they were hosting a car/truck show. Every year they seem to get more entries. It is kind of fun to wander through the rows of gleaming cars that are shiny enough to use as a mirror. It is also a journey through memory lane as a lot of those “classic” cars were cars that kids in my day routinely drove to high school. I am never sure if that make me a classic? Or just old?? I think I prefer classic.
A bonus to the day is running into people you have not seen in a long time. It is a great time to catch up on what they are doing and what is going on in their families. This might be one of the biggest draws to this type of holiday celebration in a small town…….relationships. Sometimes these are people you only see a couple of times a year; but you just pick up the friendship like you had just seen them the day before.
I have a feeling that my husband and I will always be small town type of people. The place where a holiday consists of flags flying in the breeze, firetrucks parading through the street with sirens blaring and candy being tossed to the delight of children (and some of the older crowd who will remain nameless….). The place where a friend of a friend becomes your friend just because you know the same people and share in the same small town experience.