The sound of sirens, the occasional black cloud puff from a tractor, and the high school band playing “God Bless America” as they march down the street. What could it be? It’s a 4th of July Celebration, of course! For over 40 years, the small town of Garnavillo in Clayton County has organized this celebration of our nation, attracting spectators from across the county. With events and activities going on throughout the day, it’s a day of fun and excitement as we celebrate our great nation’s freedom.
Before the parade started, everybody lined up, or rather, tried to find an open spot along the main street, and waited patiently for the floats to round the corner at the park and parade down the street. Once the sirens could be heard coming down the street, children gripped their bags in excitement, lining up in front of the crowd in anticipation for their sweet treat to come. As vehicles, floats, and go-kart clowns cruised down the main street, children collected candy in their plastic bags, grinning as they filled up to the top.
As the last float ventured down the street, I strolled through the crowd to get to the park, where there would be even more festivities throughout the afternoon. The grumble in my stomach told me I needed to grab a bite to eat, and the steam rolling out of a local civic organization’s tent led me to the source. Volunteers had burgers and hot dogs sizzling away on the grill, and grabbed a cheeseburger all wrapped up in foil just calling my name. Topped with relish and a healthy dose of mustard, my hunger pangs were satisfied. I walked past children with painted faces holding intricate balloon animals, and noticed some people were walking with a thick slice of pie…
I made it my mission to find out where that pie had come from, and after squeezing through crowds of people and picking up lost balloon animals, I found it. The Historical Society of Garnavillo was set up next to the chicken dinner hosted by the Lion’s Club, and they had a table of various freshly baked pies that everyone seemed to flock to. With my thick slice of blueberry pie, I found a spot on a bench across from the kid’s tractor pull, and stuck my fork through the flakey crust for my first bite.
With that first bite of pie, my taste buds met the sweet, yet tart blueberry filling surrounded by a buttery crust dusted with cinnamon that brought warmth to the pie. It brought me back to my childhood; after the 4th of July parade, we would go to grandma’s house, and she’d have five pies baked for anybody who would happen to pop by for the evening. That same warmth of cinnamon and sugar filled her kitchen, like how this pie was filling my senses. I devoured the remaining bites of pie, saving the edge of the crust for last; everyone who loves crust knows that’s the best part!
Afternoon faded into evening, and evening faded into night as the sun set on the horizon beyond the rolling hills. People had set up lawn chairs and blankets, waiting for the light show to come. People were set up on both sides of the main street, looking into the dark night sky, waiting for the whistle of a rocket to ascend into the sky. The sky lit up with shimmering light as a ‘BOOM’ echoed throughout the town. A huge firework display illuminated the town and wowed the children their faces were lit up by the flashing light above. Dimming shimmers were replaced by new flashes of light, until the end of the Grand Finale, when the last few glimmers of shimmering light faded. A gigantic display of fireworks was the best way to end a day celebrating the freedom of our nation, and it was in a small town in Clayton County.
Written by Jayna Felder | Photo Credit to Alan on Blogspot