Local festivals rock. Go explore one this summer, whether it’s theme is art, a specific food (ice cream, corn, garlic), a region, music, sports, some fictional character, a hobby. Yesterday my daughter Devon, her friend Courtney and I went to the Long Grove Strawberry Festival, right up the road from us. The main goal was to see my friend Cindy’s band Centerfold Band play on the center stage–they were awesome, belting out many familiar songs– but we had a great time experiencing the entire event.
Long Grove has been hit HARD by this economy. Many of the stalwart shops have closed, leaving barren windows during the week, but yesterday the traffic was halted, the paths teeming with families. It was wonderful to see such a variety of people mixing, laughing, sharing a drink, fresh strawberries, listening to live music, spending money in the shops, the booths and the restaurants.
We all saw people we knew, other friends joined us, we chatted and laughed with people we just met. I found a new clothing shop I will definitely return to, on a quieter day. And we bought gifts in a couple familiar places.
If we all visited one local festival this summer, we would support our small businesses, encourage new development, learn about local bands and artists, bond with our neighbors, spend time with our families and–most importantly–have inexpensive FUN in our backyard or a short drive away, rummaging through a new area. Be inspired by the day, the unexpected, the laughter. C