Monday, August 19, 2013

Small Town Festivals

     Every small town has at least one.  That special time of the year when the town celebrates its uniqueness by highlighting some product or hobby that is prevalent in the area.  It is a great opportunity to attract other folks from other communities to your  neck of the woods. 
     A small town festival is made up of many different facets, and each town has it's own special way of celebrating and attracting out of town tourists.  There is usually a theme, whether The Corn Festival, Strawberry Festival, Bluegrass Festival, Watermelon Festival or, as in our town, The Mule Festival.  Each town has their own special area that is their line of expertise.  There is always food of all sorts.  Maybe the Catholic ladies set up a tent to serve meatloaf or home-made beef and noodles, the Lions serve their famous homemade ice cream and the local boy scouts have a lemon-shake-ups stand.  Private vendors also attend hoping to tempt your taste buds with Kettle corn, Funnel cakes, corn dogs and anything else they can batter and  fry up for you.
     Most towns have some sort of a parade through town.  It's always a chance to show off your fancy truck or tractor, or get your business name out there.  Often there are car shows, dog shows, tractor shows, engine shows, baby shows, and any other item you may own and want to show off to try and win the prize.  I honestly never understood the baby shows.  Dress up your little one so people can come by and judge which baby is the prettiest. And, what happens if you don't win?  Sorry, babycakes, you weren't the prettiest?  Hmmm.
     Of course, there are always contests.  We country folk love to compete.  We can haul in our livestock so people can judge whose is the heaviest, and the strongest, and the best looking.  We can haul in our baked and canned goods for people to judge which is the tastiest.  We can haul in our old junk cars and drive them around an arena with a bunch of other junk cars trying to hit each other and see whose will last the longest (which, by the way, is known as a demolition derby).  We can haul in our souped up tractors and pickup trucks and see whose can pull the greatest weight. There are plenty of ways to compete in the country!
   I was recently perusing our local "Shopper" newspaper.  It was crammed full of ads for festivals, since this is the time of year that we celebrate the nearing of school and the end of another farming season.  One particular ad caught my eye:
     Seriously?  Just seeing that headline conjures up some disturbing images and some rather unusual questions, like,"Do they provide gloves?" "Does chicken poop make the game somehow more enjoyable?" "Fun for all ages?" Sorry I don't think toddlers should participate. Sometimes I think we country folk try too hard to be rednecks and come up with stunts like this.  Maybe next year I'll see an ad for The Chicken Poop Festival.....but you'll get that in a small town.