Friday, August 12, 2011


Every small (and large!) town in America has some sort of festival. My hometown is no exception.

When I was growing up, it was called Old Fashioned Days. The carnival came to town and set up in the park. Merchants dressed in old time costumes and sold their wares from the streets. Antique cars abounded. And, of course, the highlight was the parade on Saturday afternoon.

But times have changed. Twenty-one years ago the festival I knew in my youth was abandoned and replaced by.....what else.....a baby food festival! After all, my hometown is the home of Gerber Baby Food. Actually, I'm surprised they did not change the name to Gerberville long ago.

But don't get me wrong. Gerber was and is a substantial part of the community. They have never been a take from the community company. The town is full of examples of their philanthropic goodness. Although the name still exists, the company was sold to big business years ago. I believe Nestle's owns it now.

So, then, let's see what the current festival is all about.

I'm really torn here. I want, oh how I want, to say totally snarky things in this post. But I feel a certain loyalty towards my home community also. Can I meld the two?

Main Street is closed off to traffic during the Festival. Merchants and vendors set up along the way.

I thought these were provided for relaxation. Nope. They were for sale.

Saturday morning, bright and early and kindof a rainy day, my sister-in-law hauled me off to the parade. I couldn't help but compare it to the last parade I had been to. The Karnaval in Merida. Certainly no comparison though.

The parade was led off by members of the local police force, sirens blasting. Followed closely by representatives of our servicemen. I was flabbergasted by how many people did NOT stand when Old Glory passed by or salute. Shame on them.

The first float to follow was the local royalty. I guess this is not a popular title to hold. At least judging by the size of the court.

No, this is not the Jolly Green Giant. Wrong state. She, like every body that passed, is carrying candy to hand out. It is against the law to throw candy to the throngs. They have to walk up and just drop it at your feet. Silly. I thought that if they were going to get that close to me, they could at least hand me the candy and not just unceremoniously drop it at my feet. How rude.

The ingenuity of the entrants knew no bounds.

I think there was a mud rally of something going on later. Either way, I liked this bug.

The sweetest Queen in the parade.

I am so glad that they did not throw stufff from this float. I would have hated to try to catch asparagus spears.

The balloons were just a pretext to advertise their business. I only saw them give one away.

What possesses people to want to be a clown? I will never understand it. I don't even know anybody who likes clowns.

I like the horse related entries.

Maybe it's just not our festival. Look how small this court is too. Is the desire to be a small town Queen of something dying out? Or did they just not have enough room on the float for everybody? At least they got their waves correct.

These guys were really good. Or, at least they made a lot of noise. Notice that they are not banging on drums.

When all was said and done, I really did enjoy this piece of small town Americana. As evidenced by the stash of goodies we brought home!


Ann said...

That's quite a haul! I live in an even smaller town....we have one parade a year--Memorial Day --one band ( HS) & one float--very strange--there is a group of people ( NE Family Campers) that stay at the fairgrounds Mem. Day weekend & they march & come up with some kind of float! I love small town America!

Jackie said...

My little town may only be a few miles south of Portland but it has that small town feel with its Milwaukie Daze and parade. Thanks for sharing the memories with us.

Anonymous said...

Looks like a charming town...Thanks for sharing a glimpse.

You do like free candy!
I can just imagine what you were like as a kid during Halloween!!

Life's a Beach! said...

Please tell me it wasn't really the National Baby Food Festival! I hate clowns, my son hates clowns, and no doubt, I come from a long line of ancestors who also hated clowns. My town is much more sophisticated. They have the Ostrich Festival. I need to go some year so I can see what the Ostrich Queen looks like.