Community. That is what I didn't realize it was as a child.
I liked it because my Dad would pop popcorn and stow it in bread bags for us to munch on while we watched. A tradition he continues. I liked it because sometimes the people walking would throw candy at us and we could scramble just a bit into the street to pick it up. I liked it because of the marching bands and color guards and the too-loud sirens of the firetrucks. I didn't understand then why I had to stand for the Vietnam Vets, but now insist that my own kids stand too.
We have gone to this event almost every year of my life and the memories tend to bleed into one another. But there is always the carting of lawn chairs to the house where we have relatives that afford us a front row view. There is always carnival food the night of the parade, supplied generously by my Dad, who seems to revel in the entire night.
There is always someone from High School and now, strangely, there are always kids from my children's school. In fact, they knew more people than I did. I'm not sure what that says.
And there is always Family.
Last night we went and did the rides with the kids. Willa was finally tall enough(by a hair) for all the rides she wanted to go on. The girls both ran into some friends from school to make the evening even more enjoyable for them. Adalyn enjoyed the sharing of the snow cones a great deal. (She is still fighting a mild case of hives from God-Only-Knows-What.)