Minnesota has many seasons, most only minimally related to the weather. For those keeping track, we are now officially into the community festival season. This is a good season to be in Minnesota, but be careful. Community festival season is short. Before we know it, we'll be on the sidelines for a football game and into another season.
Community festival season happens to coincide with "long time no see" season. Long lost relatives, former neighbors, co-workers and classmates from more years ago than we like to admit can be found on the boulevards of a parade route. Or on a float between politicians, dairy princesses, beef queens, pork ambassadors, Shriners and community royalty. One year, a former co-worker who had been just spent two years in the Peace Corps in South America was spotted in the cab of a pickup driving the Grant County dairy princess in the Hancock 4th of July parade. You gotta love this small town stuff.
As I said, this season is only minimally related to the notion of summer. It could be snowing and we would still gather in parks and along main streets to celebrate the wonder of small towns. Chokio has always been the season opener, with an early June opportunity to gather people in the streets to eat, throw candy, wave at princesses and yahoos, share laughs and dance.
After the Community Picnic, the celebrations come fast and furious and it takes careful planning to make it to all the parades, fireworks, street dances and picnics that happen between now and Labor Day. There are only about a dozen weekends in summer, so the events tend to double up. But that also means if there was a shortage of tootsie rolls handed out in one parade, you've only got a few miles to go to try another. This weekend in particular offers a good selection of seasonal activities.
A metro newspaper had an article over the weekend about the centennial celebration in Winger, a town in northeastern Minnesota with a population of approximately 200. The town is located near McIntosh and Erskine. If that still doesn't help you find it on the map, that's okay. Small towns are more about way of life than geography. Sometime try to explain to someone from St. Paul how to get to Johnson. Anyway, the reporter made note of the fact that some of the townsfolk, including the mayor, planned to ride on more than one float in the parade. Yes, well apparently this was the reporter's first small-town parade. Outside metropolis, we not only wear many hats, we ride many floats. It's one of the many perks of living where we do.