The giant revival tent had been taunting for days, its blue and white stripes imparting a carnival feel as the centerpiece of an upcoming event. Then on Saturday afternoon, as the sun baked Centreville with its July in Alabama setting and the national weather service issued a heat advisory, people began to trickle in around the flat green between Bibb Medical Center and McDonald’s. They came for three basic reasons: to have fun, to socialize, and to eat!
I believe everyone I spoke to was either heading to get food, had just eaten food, or was actively eating food from one of the several vendors on site. The choices ranged from BBQ to Italian Ice, and included the obligatory festival funnel cake and deep fried Oreos.
Vendors under canopies lined the perimeter of the green selling wares from jewelry to rain gutters as children played on the giant inflatable slide and got their carnival fun riding a mechanized spinning contraption and a little train with street wheels. People gathered under and around the giant striped tent to enjoy the music – provided by artist Ben Norris as well as event M.C. Mike Oakley and his Cahaba River Band.
The Rockets and Rapids 5K Run began just as the sun began to drop – presumably in a hope to avoid heat strokes. Many participants took on the 5K, including Captain America – Centreville’s Mayor Terry Morton. Following the 5K was a 1-mile run for the kids. Medals were given out for top place entrants according to age category, but everyone seemed to have fun.
Following the medal ceremony Ben Norris filled the nostalgic night air with smooth country melodies as more people arrived and gathered inside and out of the closed off streets to wait for the fireworks show. Just after 9:00 pm the sky lit up with a boom of the rocket’s red glare, and continued with an impressive display for almost 20 minutes.
All considered, it was quite a day and evening to remember and will likely stick in the minds of the youngsters as what small-town life is supposed to be. At one point, standing in line for Italian Ice and looking across the green at people gathered laughing and enjoying each other’s company while the smells of smoked meats and sugary treats filled the gentle and welcomed breeze, I felt as though I was living in a John Mellencamp song. And that was a pretty good feeling.
Caution: Opinion ahead.
Not wanting to end this on a bad note, I feel my one complaint must be addressed nonetheless. The one point of disappointment the entire night for me was watching many cars – I stopped counting after six – drive around and across the red tape strung between fallen bright orange road barrels that blocked off the roads so that people could safely walk to and from their cars without being run over.
Walking in the dark with an infant, it was not a good feeling having headlights suddenly at our backs in the chaos and noise of people leaving. We stepped aside for one to go past us, then came another, and another – people driving right through the center of a blocked-off intersection where people were walking to their cars. The roads were blocked for a reason people. Just because there was not a cop standing there doesn’t mean you should ignore it. What if a child broke away from their parents and ran through that intersection as you were handily ignoring the barricade so you could get gone a few minutes quicker? Would that two minutes saved from you waiting in a traffic line be worth accidentally running over a child whose parents thought they were walking in a safe path to their car? Those who drove across the tape know who you are. Shame on you.
ANY opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the writer and are not necessarily those of The Bibb Voice or its Editorial Board. Your Comments are welcome and are always invited.