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Larned event boasts small-town charm
Judi Tabler

This coming weekend, the Larned Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the 24th Annual Santa Fe Trail Days. The kickoff was held Thursday with a community banquet sponsored by Tabler Furniture.
There will be ice cream socials, a beer garden, vendor booths, a carnival, a band, a petting zoo, horse drawn wagon rides, and many more events.
I have decided one thing. My decision is final and I don’t think I will change my mind. Are you ready to hear my decision?
I am not going to boogie with the band until midnight. And I probably won’t close down the Beer Garden either.
O.K. So that’s no big deal. But I do enjoy these things.
I like shopping the booths and watching people.
This past week, I was in Wichita and our son Jake and I attended the first night of the Wichita River Festival.
I had never attended and we decided to give it a try. We heard there would be a parade.
I bought two buttons, and we set off for the event. All we had to do was follow the cars. They were all headed in the same direction once they exited Kellogg. We parked at the Century II lot, and put our coins in the meter.
It was hot.
“Should we bring the chairs”, Jake asked?
“Oh, let’s not bother,” I smugly replied.
“Are you sure?”
“No, who wants to lug chairs a mile or two,” I confidently stated.
We began our trek. The outside of the Century II lot was filled with concessions.
“It’s the State Fair all over again!” I remarked, as I assessed the different fried delicacies.
I concluded that this event is like shopping. We women don’t proceed until we look at everything that is available.
As we plodded through the large food area, we were pressed in by multitudes of people. The East-West street north of the complex (Douglas) was packed eight to 10 people deep along the walk. The North-South (Broadway) street running perpendicular to this street was the same.
Packed. As far as the eye could see!
I could sense my energy running out of me like a sieve. I was wishing we’d brought the chairs but we were at least two city blocks from the car. Everyone had folding chairs, or blankets, or sat on the curb. We stepped over people as we carefully ambled down the sidewalk looking for a slot.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that there were at least 50,000 people there.
I decided to look around, and even though I was hot, and tired, and my feet hurt already, we plodded on.
I saw guys with low slung jeans almost to their knees, pushing baby carriages.
Lots of ball caps.
There were Mexican families sitting on blankets or on the curb with their children who were beautifully dressed like they were going to a Quinceanera.
Areas were roped off, and sitting spaces were not to be found.
Mounted police on horses stood in the street at the corner giving directions to anyone who asked.
There were tons of children, and strollers, and folding chairs, and …portable toilet facilities set up in lines along the street.
Soon the parade began. Oh the expectation! Not.
The parade was, well — a parade, I guess.
First the flag and the soldiers marched by. Not many people clapped. A few of us did.
The police then peddled down the middle of the street on their TREK bicycles.
Next, the fire engines rolled by, running the sirens and blasting the horn as they progressed.
There were a few sad floats, and a band….
I looked at my son. I wanted so badly to just lie down on the sidewalk, except there was no space!
“Do you want to go?”
“Fine with me. This is crazy”
“Oh good”
We stepped out between paraders and crossed the boulevard, heading for our car.
Soon another car was following us so that it could slip into our parking place.
We arrived. Oh blessed relief!
Air-conditioning! A place to sit! Heaven!
I know. I am a wimp. I am a Senior Wimp. Say it. Go ahead.
You know what? I recommend you attend the wonderful event going on in Larned this weekend. It has everything that the Wichita event offered, except you don’t have to walk far, or step over people.
And you will find it so much easier to enjoy.

“A Woman’s View” is Judi Tabler’s reflection of her experiences and events. She is a wife, mother, writer, teacher, grandmother, and even a great grandmother. Contact Annie at pprarieannie@gmailcom