There’s no getting out of the neighborhood any way but on foot today. They’ll be blocking off the end of my road soon for the parade that, barring a pouring rain will be starting around 6 tonight and will end not long before dark. I’ve often told people that don’t live here that the festival weekend is about the only time of year this town gets remotely interesting.

Watching the parade at least for one evening out of the year gives almost everyone in town something to do. I don’t have to go far, just up to the end of the road to watch it. This may be the first year in a long time I will actually maybe have to take a sweater with me. The festival weekend is usually never this cool, but I don’t think this year has been normal weather-wise from the get go.

I have a lot of strange memories of growing up in this town, a lot of them connected to the parades, either watching them or even riding or walking in them, both the Popcorn Festival parade and the now sadly long since defunct US Open parade. I remember riding on the floats dressed as everything from a princess, a cowgirl, a witch, depending on the theme of the year. I rode on the back of a pickup truck with my softball team, and on the flatbed of an 18 wheeler with my high school clubs a couple of times.

When we weren’t riding in the parade as kids we were sitting at the end of the road by my grandma’s house in front of the church trying to keep our feet flat against the curb so the shriners didn’t run over our feet in their funny little red and yellow stunt cars. (which sadly haven’t been in the parade the last few years) I however do not miss the creepy old man that used to set off the parade every year shooting off his cannon out of the back of a pickup truck. I’m sure the man was a nice enough person, but, that cannon scared the tar out of me as a kid. I never, ever, uncovered my ears until after he was long past me.

Seems strange to think that this may be the last time I watch the parade in this town. Between my present plans to get married and move away, and the fact I doubt Julian and I have any future plans to move back here anytime in the vastly foreseeable future. Watching it tonight for the possibly last time should be fun, but maybe also a little sad. The good memories in this town have been few and too far between for a long time, but the parade at least has usually almost always been a good one.