Hi, Anna-Liza here. As you know, I live in a smallish city. Last I checked, the population was around 80,000, so not really a small town anymore. But one of the things I really love about living here is that it still feels like a small town. And I also love the fact that our city government spends time and money on community events to bring our growing population together. As an example …
Last night we went to our hometown holiday parade. It was held on Main Street (which is also a state highway, but what the hey! They close it down for big events several times a year). The entries ranged from several very good high school marching bands to Girl Scout troops and Cub Scout packs to a group representing Peru. The pacing got a little patchy at times, and there were a number of entries whose sponsors were, well, obscure. The local PT Cruiser club turned out in force and all tricked out. There were several vintage fire trucks all strung with lights, and a contingent of decorated riding lawn mowers.
Afterward, everyone went to Roosevelt Park, which is one of the original parks in the original square mile of Longmont. There, the city has an ice skating rink in the winter, a rose garden, and a big open oval in the middle which is terrific for flying kites in the spring. The oval was once a race track–they held harness races–and I’ve heard there was once a lake in the middle where the grass is now. This is where they had the rest of the Longmont Lights celebration.
There was a fireworks display over the park, hot chocolate, muffins, and cookies in the senior center next to the park, hot chocolate stands stationed at intervals around the park, a computer-run light display in the rose garden coordinated with Christmas music, a train ride for the kids, and a lot of lights hung on pretty near every tree in the place. There was even a free pizza stand! Earlier in the day, Santa had parachuted into the park, but we didn’t see that.
This was all paid for by the city or sponsored by local businesses. We didn’t pay a cent so anyone could come and enjoy no matter how tight the budget. We brought a bunch of kids with us (we had six with us total, and some other friends came along who had three with them), brought the wagon for the littlest ones to ride in, and just relaxed, drank hot chocolate, and had a good time.
Yes, yes, I know we pay for this, at least part of it, with our taxes. I am very happy to have some of my tax money be put to such a use. Seeing so many families and, in particular, so many kids out having fun, smiling, warming hands at the fire barrels and enjoying a not-too-cold evening was way, way worth it.
Pictures? Sorry–with six kids to look after and my heavy gloves on, taking pictures was a little beyond me. Even if I had remembered the camera!
Continuing wishes for joyful, peaceful, loving holidays to you all.