Sunday, March 26, 2006

Home Cookin'

There is nothing like going to a local festival to rekindle your faith in humanity. Even better when the festival gets so famous it has an international reputation. This weekend we drove down to Macon, Georgia for the International Cherry Blossom Festival.

It was unseasonably cold but sunny. We went to a small air show on Saturday. It was thrilling. It saddens me to think that this may all go away if the price of fuel continues to rise.

Sunday we drove by the beautiful mansions that had been reclaimed from disrepair on the way in. The blossoms were past their peak by a week but it was still lovely. How neat to have a civic identity that involves planting trees! Each year the Cherry Blossom Festival and the Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful Commission distribute over 6500 trees as a gift from the Fickling family at no cost to local residents.

Everyone was wearing pink as well. It was like being among fellow sports fans, except this was celebrating a 10-day long party that includes a gala ball, a fish rodeo by the new riverwalk, not one but two parades, Japanese dancers, a permanently pink poodle, the bedrace, and pink pancakes.

So much spirit! Some of the homes are even painted pink.

What a wonderful feeling to belong to the hometown of something so special. It reminds me of growing up in Berkeley. I identified strongly with the city, and loved the feeling of fellowship just walking down the street. I felt pride that people in my city were passionate about their beliefs and willing to take a stand for them.

I think every city and town needs to have something that people can be passionate about. It doesn't really matter what it is, as long as it is inclusive and gives people a chance to have fun with their fellow citizens. What a great way to build community. If your city already has something like this, go and join them! If not, how about joining a committee and getting something happening?

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