Small town, Big celebration
I love birthday parties. I especially love planning them down to the tiniest detail, and I am happy to say, I was like this WAY before Pinterest. Birthday parties are celebrations of anther year of successes, achieved goals, and surviving the stuff of life. It doesn’t matter to me if the party is simple or elaborate, just as long as the person of the hour is truly celebrated and the guests enjoy themselves.
Last week, our country had a “birthday”. July 4 marked 242 years in existence as a sovereign nation. There were celebrations throughout the country that included barbecues, watermelons, rodeos, swimming, outdoor activities and of course, fireworks. John Adams, the first American Vice President and the second President of our nation once remarked that he hoped the anniversary of American Independence Day would be celebrated with “guns, bonfires, and illuminations.” The first July 4 fireworks actually took place during the American Revolution and the cannons were fired as a morale booster. Over time, the cannons and firearms were phased out for safety concerns, but the noise, the bonfires, and the illuminations continued.
The city of Jackson, like thousands of American municipalities planned and presented a great American birthday party last week. Jackson’s party took place at the McMullen Fairgrounds. The guest list included everyone from the youngest patriot to the most decorated veteran. This party offered a little something for everyone who entered the gates.
The music of local band Sunny Vaiden entertained the crowds with covers of well-loved songs from a variety of genres and decades. SMASH Hits 94.5 also provided excellent music and emceeing. (Aren’t you glad that 94.5 is back? I am!) A walk through the vendors’ area gave visitors both a literal and figurative taste of Jackson. Members of the Chamber of Commerce were on hand to offer any necessary assistance. Mayor Paul South enjoyed visiting with residents of the city. Members of the Jackson Police Department provided security, but also stopped to talk to curious children and to visit with their neighbors.
Jackson merchants brought out their wares and the crowds received them well. One of the city’s newest businesses, Bigbee Coffee Roasters, sold various flavors of iced coffee; while The Lucky Duck Boutique, also a new business, hosted a tent sale. A representative with Usborne Books displayed the beautiful, quality products. The ARC of Clarke County sold nachos and drinks.
Giant inflatable water slides were the draw for children. Squeals of delight could be heard throughout the arena. After a few times down the slide, the children would head to Ice’s Pop Shop’s booth to choose a homemade, gourmet popsicle, or to Rod’s Sno-Cone trailer to pick one of a variety of flavors. Brooks’ Motors was on hand with a few of their Jeeps for anyone interested in purchasing and their booth had lemonade.
Beautiful ladies from the International Girl organization sold tee shirts and assisted their mothers with face painting as fund-raising activities for the upcoming national pageant. The Dawg House, a new pet grooming business partnered with the Clarke County Animal Shelter by raffling off a pet gift basket. The animal shelter was present with kittens, puppies and dogs ready for adoption. Volunteers walked the dogs on leashes, introducing them to the crowd.
Most birthday parties have a cake that depicts the theme of the party. The Jackson Fire Department presented the “cake”. It was not a literal cake, but a giant American flag hung from one of the ladder trucks. I do not know the dimensions of the flag, but it was massive. At dusk, all attention was turned to Old Glory as she hung dignified over the celebration. Instead of “Happy Birthday”, the crowd sang, “The Star Spangled Banner” and then the fireworks show began.
I think John Adams would have approved of Jackson’s American birthday party. I think that every guest enjoyed the party and our nation, the honoree, was celebrated most appropriately.
Well done, Mayor, Council, Chamber, JPD, JFD, merchants, and party-goers.
Leave a Reply.
Weekly columnist. Feature Writer.