Friday, November 12, 2004

Let the Festivities Begin

This Friday marked the kickoff of the Founders Day activities. Unfortunately, my husband and I were on the late flight home, so we missed out on the carnival and game booths. Hopefully, this will be the last year that we miss the first day of Founders Day weekend. I know that the activities probably sound like a bunch of hokey small-town stuff, but that's what I like about them. What kid doesn't try to win a goldfish at a local fun fair at some point in their life? What small town doesn't have fun-raiser booths with games and food and goodies? Those are the things that make up memories and Americana. I grew up with them, and now I want to be able to see them again in my adopted home town.

Unfortunately, by the time we rolled over the bridge on Celebration Avenue and approached downtown, most signs of life were long gone, as it was already close to midnight. We saw a few teens cruising around on foot and an intrepid soul making a withdrawal at the Cash Station, but the revelers and carnival goers were long gone.

We could see the skeletal canopies already erected on Market Street, waiting for the crowds of townies and tourists that will descend on Saturday. My husband insisted on making a detour; ever since I did my blog entry on Charley, Frances, and Jeanne, the motley trio of abandoned bikes that are slowly rusting away in the racks downtown, he's been firmly convinced that they're going to be removed. I explained to him that downtown is owned by Lexin, and all you have to do is look around to see that keeping up appearances is not one of their strong points. They're too busy trying to figure out how much more land they can sell for townhomes and condos. The only way they'll remove those bikes is if they figure they can fit another condo complex on the space where they currently reside.

But no, I couldn't convince my husband that his worries were for naught. So I cruised into the parking lot near Barnie's, where one of the trio resides, and showed him that it was safe and sound (well, okay, not so sound, but still chained in the rack).

We passed the flagpole, with the blue tarp already secured below it, hiding the newly installed bricks bearing the names of Celebration's newest residents. Just last year, we were among them. Now, we're "old timers" who get to watch the newbies go through this annual rite. Bricks are only installed for those who buy brand new homes, not resales, so once the last village is sold out, this event will fade away. But for now it's fun to watch the mad scramble as people rush to find their little rectangle of immortality.

Actually, now that the blue tarp has been named Florida's state flag in honor of our history-making hurricane season, I was amazed that A) Our state flag would be treated so disrespectfully, i.e. laid out on the ground; and B) Tarps are finally readily available again.

We headed to home sweet home so we could crash in bed and rest up for the second day of festivities. Saturday marks the latest meeting of the famous (infamous?) Bunny Brigade, so that should make for some great photos and another good blog entry. Granted, the Tampa Bay Bucaneers won't be around this time, but I'm sure that we can find new and exciting ways to amuse ourselves and to cause a scene. Once I get a few glasses of Columbia sangria into my husband, he will be game for anything.

The big capper will, of course, be the fireworks display. We have folding camp chairs that we bring downtown so we don't have to search too hard for a spot to watch them. We'll just sling the chairs over our shoulders and hoof it on the path from East Village rather than fight the traffic. Hopefully I'll remember to douse myself with bug spray first; my blood is apparently so sweet that they'll come from miles around to taste it. Once, while sitting out on my porch swing, I covered myself from head to toe in bug spray...everything but the bottoms of my feet. While out there, I slipped off my shoes. Bad idea! Those suckers actually bit up my foot bottoms! Nothing will drive you crazier than itchy foot soles.

Oh well, off to Dreamland now so I'll be bright and chipper for Day Two of the festivities. We have an early flight out on Sunday, courtesy of ATA's bankruptcy-fueled schedule distruptions, but at least on Saturday we'll be able to spend a full day of small-town frolicking, frivolity, and fun.

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