Rural life is a repeating cycle of down-to-earth seasonal routines. For my family, there are the seasonal routines of planting and harvesting in the garden, raising and processing chickens, getting firewood split and stacked, making cider, and making maple syrup. Over time, the routines become family traditions. Attending annual rural events can also be great family memory makers and, in time, traditions.
All of which brings me to the New Hope Mills Festival. I wrote about this local event last year and blogged about it here. I posted pictures of the old mill, my wife Marlene selling her handcrafted soaps, and the dunking booth in the mill pond. Going to the New Hope Mills festival was a lot of fun and we were back there this year, weekend before last.
Marlene was there again selling her soaps and baked goods. James again sold onions he grew himself. And I again sold some garlic. I sold single bulbs for $1.50 each, and 1-pound net bags of bulbs for $6.00. Here is a picture of my garlic:
Marlene overheard one woman at this year’s event remark to her friend that, “This is so Americana!” She was right. I like the festival because it is so simple, rural, small, and agrarian Americana.
This year I dropped Marlene and James off in the morning, helped them set up their tent and display, then headed home to work on the foundation of our new "barn" ( it's really just a small storage shed). Then, around lunch time, Robert and I drove to the Mill for lunch. It is only three miles from our house.
When we walked down to the event, I looked out in the mill pond and saw this:
That is my son, James, sitting on the dunking platform. He volunteered. Over on the shore people were paying a dollar for a chance to throw four small cloth bags of pancake mix at a trip arm (you can see the mechanism by going to the blog article link above). All the while, James is taunting them. But, eventually, the pancake mix found its mark and this was the result....
James would disappear under the water, come up a split second later, retrieve his floating hat, climb back up on the platform ,and go back to taunting the players. He was dunked dozens of times.
He thoroughly enjoyed himself, and I enjoyed watching it.
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