If I had to pick a favorite moment from the past weekend, I am not sure I could do it. What a ride we had, huh? There were many high points and even some higher points. We will be talking about this one for a long time to come.
I admit I was a bit skeptical after the first Operation Celebration when other Main Street board members started talking about doing it a second time. I felt we had pulled off a good event, but I thought it was a one-time wonder. When they mentioned the 2009 Operation Celebration, I thought, “uh-oh …”
But I have to say, “What a party we had this past weekend!” The final numbers are still not in on finances, sign-in sheets, volunteer hours, tabulated comments and suggestions, and that all-important feedback from our merchants and citizens. But by comments and preliminary numbers, we feel pretty certain that the 2009 Operation Celebration will fall into the success category right behind the 2008 event.
Can we pull it off again? Who knows? We might be able to do just that.
I think there were more visitors to Peabody this past weekend than I have seen at one event in years. It reminded me of the first few July Fourth Celebrations the community hosted following our move here in 1970. Those were the days of crowds around the 10,000 mark — or so they said. While we didn’t have nearly that number during this Memorial Day weekend, there certainly were more unfamiliar faces than I have seen here in decades. Several of our local business owners noticed the same thing.
There was more interest in window and store displays than in 2008, although I think we had fewer contributors to the Vault of Treasures. A surprisingly large number of grade school-age children were interested in the medical unit display, the “Raid on Peabody” re-enactment, the World War II History Center display, and vintage vehicles and fly-over. Some teacher somewhere should sit up and take notice of that desire to see and know more about the World War II era.
Some great new volunteers showed up to work the information booths, cook and serve food, set up tents and equipment, and serve on the cleanup detail when it was all over. It was nice to see the new faces as well as familiar ones. We hope you all will stay connected to this event (and others like the Fourth of July celebration, cleanup days, and beautification projects) that mean good things for this community.
As always, we are grateful to our hometown veterans for their service and sacrifice. It seems there were fewer in the parade this year and we hope more of you will think about letting us honor your important contribution to our lives and liberty should we decide to host a 2010 event.
And just to make things fair, yes, we had some grumbling and the nay-sayers were holding court, convinced that anything going on out on the street had nothing to do with helping the cash register ring in their particular business. But that is a topic for another column.
Already there are suggestions for new exhibits, more re-enactors, a full-fledged encampment, and swing dance lessons! Feedback is important for something like this. Let us know what you think. Make a call, write a letter, have a conversation, make a suggestion for improvement or change, whatever. We look forward to your input.
— susan marshall