Atkins Watermelon Days 2006 has come and gone. There was fun, food and frivolity – let me share with you the highlights.

Watermelon Days started on Friday night. They always have a “teen dance”, which is basically all the middle and high school kids hanging out at the basketball court listening to music and oozing hormones. Hannah didn’t go because she didn’t ask to go. She’ll be old enough to go when she’s ready to ask if she can go. But the whole family went to the “balloon glow”. A family from Blairstown has a couple hot air balloons, one of which they set up on the soccer field so they could give tethered balloon rides. We didn’t go up: Carl thought $7.50 per person was too expensive. When it got dark they set up their second balloon. Both were tethered to the ground, and every few seconds or so they’d “glow” the balloon by shooting flame up into them. It was kind of a neat sight – we got to see what the inside of a balloon looks like, how they get set up, and etc. Mary even got to sit on the edge of one of the baskets. Moose Mutt was with us, and he spent most of the night cowering behind me because the sound of the gas jet scares him. Sheesh. But as we were leaving we turned around and saw the balloons glowing in the distance, and that was beautiful.

Saturday was the parade, the games and the raffles. The girls got lots of candy from the parade, and they both participated in some of the games. Mary, my little “lady” (please note the heavy sarcasm) won first place in the seed spitting contest in her age group. I mean, really, it’s nice to win first place, but spitting? This is her father’s influence showing up here. I would NEVER teach her something like that. šŸ™‚ Carl had to work for a while in the bingo tent as cashier. The PTA runs the bingo tent, and Carl is vice president of the PTA, so he signed up to help. Once he’d finished we went home for a while, and at dusk we went back down to the park for the fireworks. We laid out blankets on the field, and the fireworks went directly up over our heads. I’ve never been that close to fireworks before. It’s kind of disconcerting watching glowing sparks raining down directly at you, but none landed close to us. Whoever they hired did a really good job, though. It was an extremely nice display for a town our size. After the fireworks, we went home. They have a live band and a beer tent on Saturday night, but we were tired, and the girls can’t stay home by themselves yet.

Today was cleanup day. For the past several years, we’ve loaned the Community Club our camper to use as the “office”, and after church Carl went and picked it up. Shortly after that, the Community Club president, Ken Popenhagen, stopped by to return his set of camper keys and also to give us a leftover watermelon. I wasn’t home at the time, but I called him later and he told me they’d almost run out of t-shirts. They were a real hit this year, and Ken sounded happy that I was already working on a design for next year. It will be Atkins’ quasquecentennial (that’s 125 years) and the Community Club wants to plan a BIG celebration. I hope to be a part of it – not just as the designer of the t-shirt, but maybe helping out with the games or something. After all, it’s not every year your town turns 125, and I don’t want to miss out on the fun.

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