I'm sure I wasn't the only one feeling a little nostalgic and a little hopeful for the future all at the same time this past Saturday. The Dearing Mayfest brought out a huge range of feelings to match the range of people that filled the former school's drive and playground.
I went from kindergarten through fifth grade in that building. I had many a recess period and experienced many a scraped knee on the very ground where the festival took place.
But those weren't the main reason's I felt a sense of the past meeting up with the future. Those who have been in Dearing quite a while remember the Dearing Elementary School Fall Festival from years gone by.
Now, I don't mean the ones at the new school building. I mean the old school Fall Festival held in the very same spot that Mayfest was held. Those were the good old days.
In the gym was a continuous cake walk all day long and games for kids of all ages. In front of the gym was an old car, and for fifty cents anyone could test their strength or take out their frustrations on the rusty hood with a sledge hammer.
There was also mini-golf in the front, along with local musicians performing periodically. There was always a swarm of people, too. And don't forget the community atmosphere that the festival built on the foundation of children's anticipation.
Once it moved to the new school, things were never the same. There's something about that old school building in the middle of town that draws people in during a festival and urges them to grow closer as a common people.
That is where my nostalgia meets my hope for the future.
Dearing is my hometown. It's where I grew up from the age of one when my father moved there to take over the reins of DES from former principal Grover Garrison.
But since that time, people have tended to grow apart, and community doesn't quite mean what it used to.
Sure Dearing is much more tight-knit than most places, but there just wasn't a central event that brought people together, one that they could all be proud of. I think Mayfest has a great opportunity to become just that event.
I think it's so much more than just a festival. It combines a tremendous sense of pride in the history of our little town with a sweeping look toward the way we hope for things to be.
My hat is off to the organizers. Many thanks for a successful festival, on so many levels. It wasn't just a packed house and profit for a good cause, it was a window into Dearing's past and an invitation to participate in the future of a wonderful place to live.