Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Small Town Fun 2009

When you first move to a small town, like I did about a decade ago, you tend to scoff at the local "goings on" and make fun of what is termed "a good time" by the locals. For example, when prom time rolls around, you will drive by the high school here and see bleachers set up on the front lawn, and very early in the daylight hours, people will start claiming spots on the grass with their lawn chairs. That night, it is local custom to attend "Promenade", better known as sitting on the grass in front of the high school and watching the couples arrive in their various unusual vehicles and ummm....what may or may not be termed "formal attire" depending on the styles of the moment.

This is one tradition that I still do not understand.

However, I have found that the longer you live in this small town, the more some of its customs tend to grow on you, creeping into your subconscious, and becoming a part of what you look forward to about the seasons. I will give my town credit for trying to fill as many weekends in the fall as possible with family friendly events. In our case, fall officially begins when the Lions Carnival sets up shop on the town square. After that, the fall unfolds into a series of fall festivals and other events that we have come to adore. So far this fall, we have had the Lions Carnival (which we missed this year, much to Ty's dismay), the Fall Festival (a craft fair at the local historical society), and now the Apple Festival (at the local orchard), which will soon be followed by the Pumpkin Festival and the Halloween Parade. You'll see another post in a few weeks with the second set of festivals, but here are a few shots from the Fall and Apple Festivals.

(This is Ty, riding in the wagon with our carefully chosen pumpkins. We do this every year at the Fall Festival. Hopefully you'll see more shots of our pumpkins on my front porch later this season.)
(This is a traditional shot at the Apple Festival every year.)
(There are always pony rides at the Apple Festival. The first year, Ty cried the whole time. This year, he was finally a "big boy" and rode all by himself. In this shot, I caught him mid-"woo-hoo!")
(You'll see a shot nearly identical to this when the Pumpkin Festival rolls around.)
One other event that is put on locally, although not in our town, is Hunting and Fishing Days. In a town north of St Louis, there is a brass plant called Olin where they manufacture ammunition. This company owns a piece of ground not too far from us that they have called NILO (OLIN = NILO) and although I know they must use it for other functions as well, each fall they hold Hunting & Fishing Days there, which is an event geared toward hunting and hunting safety and is very pointedly focused on the youth in the area.

This year, we decided to take Ty for the first time and asked if we could also take his cousin along. At NILO, they have a number of activities available to promote interest in hunting and arms, putting emphasis on safety. There are stations where you can shoot cans with b.b. guns, trap shooting for both youth and adults, youth and adult archery, a demonstration on dummie retrieval with a group of well trained Labradors, and always a demonstration of trick shooting by a seasoned professional. It used to be Tom Knapp (of Benelli fame) but lately has been Patrick Flanigan, who unfortunately was absent this year due to a nasty case of pneumonia. They also always have the fire department there, representing the school of fire safety and a number of hunting related vendors and organizations.

The boys both got the opportunity to shoot, and the staff does a wonderful job with positive reinforcement, helping each youth feel a sense of accomplishment and success. Both boys can't wait for next year's event.

I know this may seem odd to those of you who are not a part of the hunting genre, but when it is a part of your daily lives, it is really nice to see an event where you can trust that they will instill not only a sense of pride, but good hunting safety and ideals as well. Big kudos to Olin for sponsoring such a wonderful event, which has become a time honored tradition in our family. I'm including some pics of my Little Hunter.

(First time shooting a bow and arrow - the instructor was terrific with the little kids.)(Shooting cans with Daddy. Ty was doing the shooting, Daddy was just being supportive.)(Waiting patiently for his turn at the "youth shotgun" station. His first time shooting trap. Notice the safety gear.)(Posing for the camera. The staff sure were good sports with all the first-timers.)
(Aaaaand....PULL! He actually hit one of the clay pigeons, too!)


Bev said...

There are so many simple, fun, and usually less costly things to do that are also more accessible than what we city folks have available. Thanks for sharing all this with your followers.

We're planning to be there so perhaps I'll see you at the Halloween parade.

NV said...

He is so d*mned cute. And getting BIG!!!

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

He's having so much fun!
Your town sounds lovely.
We lived in the city for the first half of the kids' lives, so I dragged them to pumpkin farms and such when they were teens!

sewwhat? said...

I loved having access to the things that country folk do! I even owned 2 guns at one time, and promised to take lessons one day--never happened! Sold them when I moved back to the city, my country realtor told me I would need them more in the city! Maybe there is some truth to that!

About the cassock, it is Butterick 6844. Perhaps it is one that might be eliminated soon, so look for it now if you want it. I can look and send it to you if you would like.

Are you still quilting? I loved your quilt stories! Now, I'm interested in that. However, your recipes always make me hungry when I read about them.