Through a curious but fortunate bit of miscommunication, this effort has likewise found its way onto the web page version of The Toledo Free Press.
This is the weekend of the Mission Family Festival, an extended weekend carnival found here in Kansas that's staged just a block away from the place I call my haven from an increasingly misguided and often rather silly world. Oh don't get me wrong, there's nothing really wrong with the city deciding to use a few pleasant days in spring to celebrate itself, but it would be nice if they didn't do it in my backyard.
Of course while this weekend promises warm temperatures, it also carries the potential of rain and thunderstorms on Saturday and rain on Sunday. Some would say that this may dampen the festivities (figuratively and literally). As far as I'm concerned however, the idea of sitting on metal rides whose framework reaches ever skyward in such conditions only adds to the excitement of the experience and the bargain of a $20 unlimited ride wristband. (It also tends to shorten the lines.)
Who am I therefore, to deny the city its opportunity to have a few harmless carnival rides seemingly right beside the poor refuge of my deck ... until of course they turn the damn things on. There is nothing after all, that inspires the calm and peace of mind that one seeks after slaving away in the salt mines all week like the rattling of rides that have long since seen their day, and the screaming of young teenagers whose only real fear is that their friends will see their parents frantically waving at them from the crowded parking lot below (when it probably should be over the safety inspections performed by poorly trained state workers).
Lest one accuse me of denying the kiddies of a few hours of harmless entertainment, let me point out for those not already enticed to attend by the titillation of rides long ago rejected by "Worlds of Boredom", there is in addition to them an educational and equally exciting exhibit of special vehicles which features (oh be still my heart): A John Deere tractor, a DUI trailer (huh?), a D.A.R.E. car, a fire department ladder truck, a Kansas City Power and Light bucket truck, and a battle tank. (Oh just give me just half an hour in that battle tank and I'll show the kids and parents of Mission some adrenaline-filled hysteria that they'll remember as long as they live.) Additionally, there will be a few food tents operated by local businesses operated for no other reason than to tempt carnival go-ers into joining the ranks of the morbidly obese, with the largest purveyor of these unhealthy but tasty treats being the local grocery store.
And if all of this were not enough to make you abandon whatever village or glen bereft of such events that you happen to reside in and begin a pilgrimage to my own humble community; perhaps the Saturday night concert featuring a live performance by "Funky Mama" (undoubtedly some exceptionally loud and misguided tribute to Mother's Day) should certainly do the trick.
But lest you think that these spine tingling efforts constitute the bulk of the festivities for this weekend's gala, let me beg to differ. As the title of this effort takes great pains to point out (pun intended) there's also a parade. What kind of merrymaking would there be, especially during an election year, if we didn't allow locally elected officials to sit in the back seats of open convertibles, the beds of even more open pickup trucks (this is Kansas after all), or completely open hay wagons; while practicing their best insincere smiles and hand-waving.
Of course it won't all be that 'red carpet' glamorous. Some of those participating in this pompous procession of pageantry for local gentry stretching for some 4-6 blocks will instead merely be local 'movers and shakers' in business, members of area fraternal organizations, and (cringe) those enlisted in local marching groups. Note here that I said 'groups' and not 'bands'. After all, even cranky bastards like me enjoy a marching band as much as the next guy. These however, are instead groups of young people who will be performing what are carefully choreographed routines to pre-recorded noises perceived in some circles to approximate melodic interpretation. The only thing that can be guaranteed by the accompaniment of these efforts however, is that what they may lack in tonal quality, you can be assured that they will more than make up for in decibel levels.
The kids will be oh so cute marching in their matching outfits, twirling and tossing batons, and occasionally clapping or stamping their feet to provide extra emphasis to their canned cacophony (though it's unlikely such efforts will be heard in the clamor of noise being produced). The parents will be so proud of little Johnny or Jenny (as they should be), even if the routines don't always come off as planned. And the children themselves will be a bit tired, though happy and proud as they approach the end of their efforts and pass RIGHT UNDER MY PATIO. Oh yes, make no mistake on this one my friends. I will have a front row box seat (in the balcony, no less) to every bit of the parade; since it ends a mere thirty yards from my back door.
Now they say that spring only comes once a year (if at all) and the Mission Family Festival is only one weekend a year (something for which I must remember to properly thank the Mission City Council in person); so I must take great 'pains' to enjoy it while I can. While the event may present some petty annoyances that must of needs be dealt with, it should at least provide an easily explainable excuse to self-medicate this weekend with a bit of 12 year-old C2 H6 O. While this may produce something akin to a bright side to the situation and a generally warm feeling towards my fellow man, I must still in the end come to the conclusion that even with the assistance of ethanol enhanced enthusiasm, that I Love a Parade ... Not.