Monday, September 13, 2010

A weekend of Parades and Reenactments

This weekend was Defeat of Jesse James Days in Northfield. It is one of my favorite weekends of the summer (though it falls after Labor Day, so some might call it fall). We attend some portion of the festivities every year, as I have for most of my life. It is one of my childhood traditions that I have carried forward and love sharing with my kids.

This year we participated in the Kiddie Parade, watched the bank robbery reenactment, visited two arts and crafts fairs, ate some lunch at the food trailers, watched the parade and went to a picnic. In past years we have gone to a period baseball game and hubby and I have done the bike ride. The bike ride and participating in the Kiddie parade are not compatible, however, so we haven't biked in a number of years.

The Kiddie parade is a favorite of the kids. It is another time they get to dress up in costumes, there just aren't enough of those! This year my nephew joined us, which was fun. Kiddo dressed up as a Ninja (the costume he has selected for Halloween) and Kutey was a princess, again. I tried to get her to at least be a cowgirl princess, but no. She was just a princess. She has the cowgirl boots (pink even!),a hat and a tiara that goes on the hat, still no. Princess it was, for the second year in a row. Oh well, she knows what she likes! I "dress up" too, because the kids won't walk without me. Cowboy hat and a bandana and I am in. This year, I adopted 3 additional kids to walk with me, as their parents wanted to watch, but the kids wanted someone there. No problem, we all walked together. It was fun! Had my nephew, not quite 3, not been there, I think I could have convinced the other 5 to walk together without me. I didn't want to have Kiddo take care of his cousin, though, so I walked.

The fun thing about walking is you get to see the parade from the inside. It is honestly almost as much fun to watch the parents with cameras parading down the sidewalks as it is to see the kids parading in the parade! There are far more people walking on the sides, "following" their kids as they go through the route, as there are kids in the parade, and certainly more than there are sitting and watching! This year we had a special treat, too! My grandmother came down and saw the kids in the parade. Normally she stays away because downtown is really, REALLY busy during this weekend. But she said she decided she couldn't miss it. Yay!

The parade route is only a few blocks and at the end there are orange push-ups as a treat. A melty, sticky treat. And I always forget the wet wipes. Usually I end up sacrificing the bandana from my costume for the wiping of hands and faces! It is fun for the kids to get to be in a parade. I figure I have 1, maybe 2 more years before Kiddo decides he would rather not participate. Until then, however, I will enjoy the parade with my kids. And maybe next year I will get to sit back and watch!


After the Kiddie Parade, we stuck around and watch the bank raid reenactment. One of the best things about the whole event is that everything is done by volunteers. And that includes the raid reenactment. There are many, MANY people who are involved in reenacting the raid. This year, there were too many. We had a difficult time seeing what was happening at certain critical junctures, which was unfortunate but true. They basically tell the story of what happened on September 7, 1876 when 8 men rode into the town of Northfield and tried to rob the bank. Townspeople managed to figure out what was happening--my favorite line in the reenactment is "Get your guns boys, they're robbing the bank!"--the bank teller lost his life protecting the assests of the bank, and the band of robbers was permanently broken up--two were killed, three were arrested and jailed, and two got away for the time being. It is a good dose of history and action rolled into one.


Sunday is devoted to the big Parade. We arrive early enough to park near our designated seating (we have been in the same location since I was a kid). Then we walk downtown for some arts and crafts (which the kids don't enjoy that much, but one of the fairs is at a park), then to Bridge Square, a.k.a. Concession Central, where we eat food that is not entirely good for you. The kids got corn dogs, french fries, and ice cream. I had a taco in a bag (which is actually not as bad for you as some things!) and a caramel apple sundae (it is an apple, that is healthy, right?). hubby ate a skewer of some sort, I think, and maybe a gyro. My sister and I then went to the other art fair, while the kids ate and lounged near the river. Then it is off to the parade. This is a well-done parade, though I have to admit I was a bit disappointed this year. It was missing some fun, somehow. They don't allow politicians to walk in the parade--a big thing in an election year! I appreciate that. They also limit the entrants to keep the parade under 2 hours, and keep the gaps to a minimum. There is candy thrown, which is fun for the kids, and a lesson in sharing and not being greedy (for me, too). At the end of the parade, a business comes through with a semi. I have to believe the back end is filled with candy, because they come and dump it by the bucket-full in front of the kids. Buckets. Full. Dumped. That is more candy than we ever eat. We divide it among all the kids, bet even then we end up with too much! I toss the gum and jawbreakers. Still too much. But the kids think it is great!

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