Sunday, July 4, 2010

Celebrating The Fourth (A Little Early)

I love the downtown celebrations. Especially the Fourth of July, even when it is held on the Third.

When we woke up yesterday and wondered just what we would be doing for the day, I never dreamed that we would leave the young ones at home and do the Fourth by ourselves. I assumed that they would go with us like before but the are in their mid teens and it would be bad to be seen with us.

Mrs. Sweeper asked, as we were getting ready to go out the door, "Where is the closest trolley stop?".

I looked back in disbelief and said "What?".

"I thought that we could walk in to the nearest trolley stop and go down to the street fair and parade", was her answer.

I had to explain that, in the best of times, the trolley ran at lunchtime -11:30 to 1:30- and the evening run for the bar scene AND that the east/west run only went as far east as Midland Ave. and that the main streets would be closed off event. That intersection is nearly a five mile trek for us. We have been known to do it before but we did want to walk around some while we were there. I also suggested that we could take the car and park somewhere close and then walk.

"Well, that is just crazy." she said, "Why don't they want people to come downtown and participate without having to make it difficult? There will be no place to park. With all the streets blocked, you can't get to the garages or get out of them." I did have to agree with her.

We took the car in as far as Woodland Park and walked from there. It is an easy walk that I have done all my life. I do agree that a free trolley ride from these inner suburbs would bring many more folks down for the celebration and may cause some from farther out to consider it. Many of our city residents feel that downtown is somewhere that they go, but only begrudgingly. We should make it far more easy to attend our downtown events.

Once we got downtown, we found that not near as many streets were blocked and the arrangement around the Courthouse Plaza plus the addition of the spaces on Short St. made the whole flow much smoother. I feel that it allowed the businesses to participate more and that it involved many more people. My long time readers will know that I see great things for the Short St area and more changes to come, so I see this as a stepping stone toward that end and would like to keep it for the years to come.

The parade, though shortened, was what we have come to expect (and some loathe) a political and social statement. The politics I can stand, as the reflect they most basic political statement that this country has made- to separate ourselves from others and declare independence. The social differences are just something that we are free to express and I can take them or leave them. Mostly I care to leave them.

I did see one thing that have written about lately. A group of street performers set up on Main St. and playing music. No schedule or advertising but just playing for the crowd. I don't know if they took donations or not but they were doing their part in celebrating the Fourth, their way, and I celebrate them.

After the parade, we made our way back to the car and home for a rest and dinner before all of us going to the fireworks show. Parking was not difficult and the seats were plentiful but the crowd was the most ill-behaved that I can recall. No fights or nastiness, just wandering everywhere by folks of all ages, talking on cell phones and jumping in front of others to take pictures.

And then - BOOM - it was over. Just like that, done. Twenty five minutes and thanks you can go home. My youngest turns to me and says "So, why did we come here?" I replied "To get us ready for the real show tomorrow in Richmond where they know how to do it right".

Lexington, you are getting better but you could learn a few things from Richmond.

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