Wednesday, July 6, 2011

An All-American Tradition

Several of you have asked me to share photos from our town's traditional Fourth of July "Picnic in the Park"  - one of the highlights of the summer.  This event has been held for nearly 40 years.  It is a great place to catch up with old friends, enjoy some tasty food, browse the booths sponsored by local community groups and take in all of the sights and sounds.

If we are in town, I usually help at the booth for our quilt guild, The Concord Piecemakers.  The members help by sewing blocks (with the fabric and instructions provided), some extra dedicated members put the top together and a member who is a professional long-arm quilter does a fabulous job quilting and finishing the quilt. 

The theme this year was "Caribbean Dreams" and the quilt is full of beautiful fabrics and intricate stitch patterns.  Here is a closer view of one section (you can click any photo to get a larger view).  We can't hang the quilt high because there is usually a breeze in the park and the large quilt turns into a sail!

It was a surprise to arrive this year and find that a tree had been removed.  The booths are all set up along a lane of giant trees, however, the tree that shaded the quilter's booth and a few others must have died over the winter.  If you look between the two tents you can see the replacement tree that was planted, beyond you can see the size of the other trees so it will be quite a while until we have our shade back!

One of the main events of the day is the children's parade of decorated bikes, tricycles, wagons and doll carriages!  I think that the children who participate year after year (until they are "too old") will have some great memories.

This little girl was very intent on moving her carriage along.

Look at all of the stuffed toys that got to ride in this red wagon.

I couldn't help but to think of E.T. hiding in the toy closet when I saw all of them jumbled together!

Don't you love the floppy hat?

What a lovely shady ride decorated with ribbons, bows, streamers, stars, bunting and balloons!

After the parade there are lots of other activities for kids - a bouncy castle, a tethered hot air balloon, face painting, and a chance to try a real fire hose to put out a "fire."

Families start setting up folding chairs to listen to the live music and eat the delicious food from the booths or packed in their picnic baskets.

There is a flagpole in the park but the fire truck ladder is raised even higher to fly the stars and stripes.  It was a beautiful day with a lovely blue sky.

My favorite treat this year was the vanilla ice cream with blueberries.

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you will remember that Concord is the town that voted last year to ban the sale of single serving plastic water bottles.  (Here is a LINK to the post about that showing the reusable water bottles that I decorated with vinyl).  The ban was overturned by a narrow vote this year but there are many efforts being made to reduce waste. These water wagons for taking a drink or filling your own water bottles were set up to remind people to conserve.

I am always fascinated by the silhouette artist - she is so quick and I loved her sign about "wigglers!"

Eventually everyone settles down to listen to the Concord Band and they always put on a good show.  The next to the last selection is a medley of the songs for each branch of the military and, by tradition, as each song is played, the men and women in the crowd who were in that branch stand to be acknowledged for their service.  Of course it all finishes with "The Stars and Stripes Forever."

 On the way back to the car we noticed this patriotic mailbox.  I feel very fortunate to live in such an interesting town and to be surrounded by so much history and tradition.  I hoped you enjoyed this little slice of America - I'll have a more "crafty" post to share tomorrow.

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  1. Looks like a lot of fun. I just love the first pic of the little girl on her tricycle.

  2. This post was really great. It was full of fun pictures and we get to see things from a different point of view... Thanks for sharing.

  3. Tanks so muh for sharing this wonderful day with us, Diane. I grew up in a small town and love the memories. The Caribbean Dream quilt is positively awesome!

  4. You must have had a wonderful day. I love the quilt, and kudos to those who contributed to it and especially to the one who had to arrange all those squares.

    I also liked the "drinking fountain". What a novel idea.

  5. Loved this post. Thanks for sharing with us. What a great town you live in! Did you win the quilt? They used "your" colors. I love the beautiful blues!

  6. Thank you for sharing your beautiful pictures and very vivid descriptions! It brings a little bit of your town to those of us that live in the city and don't have such opportunities.

  7. What a wonderful tradition, loved all the photo's.
    Kim xXx

  8. I love to see little kids all dolled up, so traditional - really enjoyed it. The colors in that quilt is so vivid - really reminiscence of the Caribbean Sea. It reminds of my childhood, looking down in the water and seeing all the different shades of blue and green. (I was born on one of the islands in the West Indies). Thanks for sharing!

  9. Fabulous,fabulous pictures!!!! The quilt is amazingly awesome! Looks like you all had a great time!

  10. Looks like you had a great time.
    Nice pictures.


  11. Thanks so much for sharing your traditions with us! I come from a small town and LOVE the community events at the holidays!

  12. What a great patriotic event to have in your town. Looks like so much fun to be had. I love the water station. Everytime I take recycling to the depot, I think about ways to reduce, reuse and recycle! Maybe that's why I hoard all those bits and bobs of paper!


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