The spirit is alive and well in Winslow. And by spirit, I don’t mean in a religious sense but in a hometown pride kind of way. This past weekend, this little burg we call home hosted two great big festivities.
Homecoming actually began the previous weekend when students hung posters, streamers and balloons throughout the high school. It was colorful display of their Bulldog pride. There was barely an inch of bare wall anywhere. But what impressed me most of all, was the message.
The message was positive. There were signs from each grade claiming to be the best, of course. But none of the signs were insulting or mean. The students who created the decorations did so as a unified school letting everyone know they are proud to be Bulldogs.
Now, I’ve heard some claim that the spirit hasn’t been seen in town for quite awhile. Well, being a new arrival myself, I can’t speak to that. But what was, was. What is, is quite amazing.
Beginning Friday afternoon, I saw the streets of Winslow transformed into a parade of exuberance, a contest of conviviality and a stage from which the voices of Winslow bellowed, “Welcome to the greatest little city on the high plains!”
Can I get a “Yea, Winslow?”
The streets of Winslow were paved with gold as well as maroon and white. Students in the parade made a lot of noise, but it was a positive noise.
I saw a sea of maroon at the football game too. Just about everyone stayed until the end, even though the game had been decided early on. The loudest section was easily the Bulldog Brigade.
During the entire Homecoming celebration, the students carried themselves with dignity, honor and good sportsmanship, both on and off the field. Coach Matt Gracey could have run up the score some more, but decided to just run out the clock. There’s no reason to embarrass your opponents. The Winslow players did not taunt or rub it in during the lopsided game.
Can I get a “Yea, Winslow?”
Saturday was more of the same, only this time it was the entire community that showed the good nature of this town. Whether they came for the car show or the music, visitors were treated to the best. Even the sun came and stayed in town during the celebration.
For a Saturday evening in October, the temperature was still warm. The smell of kettle corn, cotton candy and barbecue drifted through town on the cool breeze. In all, it was an ideal setting.
The lights were bright while bands played rock or country favorites from the makeshift stage. In the tent, men and women poured foaming glasses of beer from an endless supply of kegs. More than a thousand people jammed between the band and the beer, dancing, drinking, eating, meeting friends and running into people they grew up with but haven’t seen for awhile.
It was exciting to be in the midst of this crowd of people so obviously enjoying themselves. Community festivals play an important role in the creation of public pride in small towns and cities. It’s one of the few moments in the year when a community publicly celebrates itself. From pageants to parades, barbecues to sweets and street dancing to car shows communities create a momentary, if recurrent symbol of local significance. The spirit of Winslow was made whole.
So what do you say, want to do it again this weekend?