Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Come one, come all Saturday!

The nights are turning a little chilly and the leaves are starting to fall.

That means a couple of things to me. First, that fall foliage will be hitting soon and lots of photo opps.

Second? The Heavener Lions Club Fall Carnival will be here soon.This Saturday, Oct. 3, to be exact.

I have been going to the carnival for most of my life. It started when I was just a little squirt and continues as I struggle to hang on to middle-agedom.

Thousands of people will find their way to downtown Heavener Saturday. If you live in or near Heavener, chances are good you will be there.

Lions Club members start working on the event months ahead. They start rounding up prizes for the bingo stand and getting volunteers to help stage the big event.

The Carnival starts right around 6 p.m., give or take a few minutes. Usually the first event is bingo. Players start arriving well before 6 p.m., wanting to make sure they have a chair at the bingo tables.

These are hotly contested seats. Some never leave from when the bingo starts until the last “Bingo” echoes off the old buildings and throughout downtown.

Some come to eat. Yes, there will plenty of food and drinks available from grilled hot dogs and burgers to popcorn and maybe even cotton candy. Plus, funnel cakes!

There are other games such as the dart throw, spin the wheel and ring toss. Little ones can get their faces painted and the older ones can get a free test to see how high the cholesterol is after scarfing down a burger or two or three.

Little ones can tire themselves out (pay attention to this parents, it is important) by jumping or sliding on the inflatables. These are the newest events and usually the most popular for children and parents alike. Remember, the tire themselves out part, parents.

You will see pretty young girls and their escorts dressed up like they probably haven’t been before (and for the guys, like they hope they won’t have to again), getting ready to see if they are fortunate enough to be crowned as one of the queens and kings of the Carnival.

And there are some who come just to mingle with friends and classmates they haven’t seen in some time. There is something special about visiting with old and new buddies and finding out what has been going on with them and their families.

I used to work the Carnival every year. I actually retired some years back, came back to take pictures then sat out the last few. But like Brett Favre, I can’t stay retired. I will be there Saturday, making popcorn or manning the booth in the dart throw, wherever I am needed.

Come Sunday, many of us will be tired and sore from walking and standing on those old streets of downtown Heavener. No, things aren’t the same in downtown Heavener like they were when I was a child. But for one night, things will be like they once were.

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