There are very, very few events in the life of a community that merit continued conversation two weeks later.
But, I’ve gotta say, this year’s version of Central City’s Lone Tree Days was most definitely one of those events.
Oh, the celebration has been a memorable part of the heartbeat of this community since that very first Lone Tree Days years ago, and every year of the city-wide observance has seen its successes.
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But this year, my friend . . . Oh, this year.
It started with Friday events both familiar—like the Library’s book sale and business open houses—and brand, spanking new—such as CC LIVE’s hot dog and Polish dog feed in the gazebo.
From there, the celebration only grew and grew and grew
I mean, Saturday, for instance: this little gray duck’s tail was kept hopping from place to place all over town, again taking in old stand-bys like the petting zoo and the car show at the State and the Teddy Bear picnic and the lap dog races, but also enjoying—along with the rest of you, I’m sure, the first-time events at Prairie Creek and at the Lincoln Manor.
And, listen—the literal whistle stop made by the U.P.’s 844 steam locomotive was a sure-fire crowd-drawer, whether or not it was ever part of the initial plan drawn up by the architects of this year’s festival.
Monday was cool: the high school’s leadership class sponsored a hot dog eating contest, and there was a kickball tournament and rib fest and scavenger hunt . . . what more could you ask for?
Even the Fourth, itself: love the parade every year, and the Kuceras always have a great turn-out for their team roping competition at the Fairgrounds, and I live for the evening parade every year.
This year, the parade was even more special, led as it was by the American Legion honor guard and someone I consider to be a very, very special National Guardsman.
But the hospital’s open house, complete with a visit and comments from the Governor, really put the whole thing over the top. Family games and a feast for the family: what more could you ask for?
And that was for the second, or third, or fourth time that weekend.
In the days since the Central City Volunteer Fire Department’s grand finale extravaganza of fireworks on the Fourth, no fewer than ten people have stopped me around town to comment on this year’s event.
Here are the comments of one of those men: “I don’t think Central City has seen a four-day stretch like this one, ever.”
The other comments were similar; even farmers who are typically too busy for everything this time of year mentioned an event or two that had drawn their attention.
Yes, I get that this year of our Lord 2017 marks the Sesquicentennial of this great state of Nebraska, and that there was a lot—a couple of tons worth, probably—a lot of extra effort put into this particular Lone Tree Days, but, you know what?
They pulled it off. Everybody involved got it right, all weekend long.
And it sounds as though a good many of the individual event planners are planning to do it all over again next year.
Kudos to them, and many thanks.
Can’t wait until Lone Tree Days 2018!