Lots of brave, courageous, enthusiastic runners enjoyed the Freedom Run in the early morning, and later hundreds of folks gathered along the parade route to watch as floats and vehicles and walkers passed in review.
A spokesperson for the Parks and Recreation Department estimated the turnout for the parade to be the largest ever in attendance.
After the parade, activities in the park continued to draw crowds until mid-afternoon.
Some of us managed to catch a nap before time to head out to watch the fireworks show at the Target complex.
Although a mishap there caused a delay, some folks waited around for the finale while others, like us, gave up and went home to watch “A Capitol Fourth” on TV.
There was just one day between events to catch our breath, and then it was Friday and the monthly Friday Night Live festival.
The theme for this month’s event was Tour de Main, featuring a bicycle parade down Main Street.
In spite of the heat, folks of all ages, on all kinds of bikes, wearing all manner of attire took advantage of the opportunity to show off their wheels and their stamina, and what a show it was.
There were 91 registered entrants with perhaps a few extras who just showed up.
The bike parade was a hard act to follow, but merchants, sidewalk vendors and musicians, and a slight drop in temperature as the sun set, came together to draw the usual crowd for the rest of the Friday Night Live activities which has come to be a very popular monthly event.
The downtown, especially restaurants, was bustling until long after 9 p.m. Once the sidewalks cleared, folks who still had energy and a desire for more entertainment walked over to the Elm Street Players auditorium for more fun and games with the iThink Improv Troupe.
No rest for the weary. The Farmers Market opened bright and early on Saturday morning, ready for customers at 8:30, and gearing up for the homemade pie contest.
I was privileged to serve as a judge. It was quite a treat. With 13 pies to sample, judging turned into a feast!
While the other judges were professionals in the culinary arts, I was just a hungry grandmother who doesn’t like to cook, but knows a good pie when she tastes one.
In recalling the drawn-out holiday, I realized yet again the value of our public servants. Public works, police and fire, parks and recreation, and all other city offices and departments seem to work together as streets are closed for the run and parades, and as people find parking and as pedestrians move around in safety.
The traffic patterns, while convoluted by necessity, take motorists in and around, and folks seem to understand that holiday traffic is not the same as everyday traffic.
Another segment of our Woodstock society that needs a thank-you is our merchants.
Many of them were open for all events, and some had posters proclaiming their designation as Official Cooling Stations.
While it was an opportunity for business owners to attract new and old customers, it was for many of those customers an act of kindness.
What a relief to go inside for a few cool minutes, and for some folks, it was a revelation to see our specialty shops and experience the friendliness and hospitality of the clerks and storekeepers.
Regular long-time shoppers in Woodstock have benefitted from being greeted by the same folks behind the counter over a period of years.
Penny and Leslie at Pennybag are familiar faces.
Connie is the postal clerk at Woodstock Pharmacy, along with the girls in the gift shop and the regular pharmacists.
You can usually spot Mike Morgan at Morgan Hardware, and on a bad golf day, Alton Edwards might be with his son Mike at Edwards Tire Sales.
Kevin is always at the bike shop, as are Barney and Becky at Hot Dog Heaven. Newer businesses are beginning to celebrate anniversaries, and in a few years those faces will be as familiar as Cheryl’s at Seven Arrows, Kim’s at Tea Leaves and Thyme, Sam’s at the antique store, and Kyle’s at the Visitors Center.
Ah, what a town.
We’re cleaning up and gearing up for yet another event. On Saturday, A1A, a Jimmy Buffett tribute band, will perform in The Park at City Center.
This promises to be a night to remember. Come join us!
Juanita Hughes is Woodstock’s official historian and former director of the Woodstock Public Library.