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 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.