by Curt Kovener
Crothersville just completed its annual salute to our nation’s flag. For 33 years the community has come together to celebrate a common thread as Americans. Initially a celebration of the United State’s Bicentennial, the Red, White & Blue Festival has become the kick-off to the Jackson County festival season.
It has been held during times of war when our sense of patriotism swelled. It has been held during times of debate over first amendment dissent and the issue of flag burning when we re-newed our view of what it right and proper in celebrating and honoring our country’s colors. And we celebrate in gratitude for the freedoms and privileges the cloth of red, white & blue mean.
Community festivals are important and maybe even necessary for the good health of communities. Every small town needs one: a time of the year on which each community member can hang his/her hat of pride.
Festivals are like family reunions, a time when we see our friends and neighbors and all are gathered for the same purpose: to enjoy a spirit of camaraderie. Like those family reunions we partake of good food, are entertained—some by others, some by the simple interaction with others, and we re-new acquaintances and perhaps ‘catch-up’ on personal news that our too busy lifestyle prevents us from sharing in the old-fashion notion of visiting neighbors on the front porch swing.
Just as our nation’s economy grows, declines & breathes & moves, so do festivals. As familiar faces retire and move on, new blood comes in to breathe a new and different form of vitality: community events evolve and take on a different look.
Later this summer the community will be blessed with its second festival, a 150th birthday celebration of the community’s founding in September. There it will be a focus on our history and how we got to where were are today.
Some folks may view the whole idea of small town festivals as old-fashioned. Old fashioned like a family reunion, old fashioned like a family discussion on summer’s evening on the porch swing, old fashioned like an ice cream social. All those kinds of things we like to pride ourselves as holding dear.
The weekend’s festival was a job well done for organizers of the recently completed Red, White & Blue Festival. And good luck to the Sesquicentennial Committee in its efforts to pull off a 150th birthday celebration later this summer. It is great that community event organizers have the vision to offer these kinds of old fashioned community events.
Let us all be neighborly and old-fashioned enough to enjoy them.