Tradition is a good thing.
Every year, as summer transitions to fall and the children have all gone back to school, my little community has one more tradition that announces another change, another season.
The Greentree Festival is a beloved event in my little town. Schools have had volunteers decorating floats, the high school pommies have practiced routines, and neighborhood groups have loaded up on candy. The parade is like mini-Halloween for some of the kids who get a pre-taste of treats to come.
My family started attending this little event the first year we moved here. It is a community event that brings together old and young, rich and poor, black and white, from here and not-from-here, for an annual rite-of-passage. The parade always features a new group and the little little kids are always tuckered out by the time they have marched the 2 mile distance, yet they press on, and put candy in eagerly awaiting bags of their fellow citizen-kids lining our city streets. The parade stretches a known route from the high school to the park, many people have had their "spot" staked out for generations.
I love this tradition, our children give up sleeping in on Saturday to "hurry up so we won't miss it!"
After the parade, the casual and community ease of the day continues with the Festival at our town park. It is a place filled with wonderful eatery treats from blooming onions to kettle corn. The crafters and vendors have a separate section to reveal to us all they have been working on all summer. I have two pens I've purchased in the years here, the girls look forward to the doll clothes lady.
We walk and chat and eat fun foods and just breathe in the hope and promise that is community, that there can be a peaceful gathering of citizens, all different, yet all alike in this one day, this day where tradition is more important than anything.
The Greentree Festival is our moment to pause and remember all the fun of summer, cocoon and "sweater up" for the fall, and smile that we have a chance to just live with our fellow man.