Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy Independence Day!

I kept hearing from everyone we met over the past couple of weeks, "Oh, just wait until the 4th of July! You are in for a treat!" And boy were we! The activities and food were built right in and amazingly, it was all volunteer-driven by the neighborhood.

The fun kicked off Friday night with an adult social complete with kegs of beer, wine and jello shots followed by a Lip Sync contest. And they are not playing around with amateur night, oh no! Amy Winehouse was done beautifully by a British guy dressed the part.
Also in attendance were Miley Cyrus, Adele, and Danny and Sandy from Grease. It was quite a show!

Saturday's lineup of activities included: fishing derby, animal show, bingo, sail boat races, home run derby, cart races, a basketball shootout and two bands. We showed up for the animal show first thing in the morning.

After watching a bit of the fishing derby we headed over to the bbq stand for hot dogs, burgers and grilled corn on the cob.

Next up was bingo which Kate got VERY into...so much so that on Sunday she brought $5 of her own money so she could play again. She won...a lot.

When the announcer said it was the last round, she bought three cards with her remaining money and worked them like a champ.

The sailboat races got off to a slow start as there wasn't a lot of wind on the lake.
We headed over to the beach for the rest of the afternoon to swim and take the kayak out for a spin. After I gave both girls a turn around the islands, I headed off for a tour of the south part of the lake. It was amazingly calm and serene--quite addictive is the meditative motion of paddling.

Len finally got his chance and loved it as well. We'll be watching the end of season sales I suspect for three more kayaks...they even sell kid-sized kayaks as we saw later in the races.

After coming home for some supper, we walked back over around 7:30pm to listen to the band and watch the sunset over the lake.
Lucy asked one of the guys if she could try his mandolin. She got a mini lesson.

It was a late night by the time we walked home and did the whole bath/bed routine but well worth it.

Sunday's lineup of activities included pony rides, face painting, swim races, bingo, sand castle contest, tug-o-war, kayak/canoe races, youth talent show and more bands.

We got in the line for the face painting and pony rides first thing. Lucy couldn't decide between a lion or spiderman.
The lion won.

 Pink kitty was Kate's choice!

After watching the first tug-o-war with the grownups, the girls jumped right in for the tug-o-war for kids and managed to be on the winning side.

Next up were the kayak/canoe races and they are ruthless! Bystanders are not above dumping water into the boats and the contestants are not above pushing over their opponents into the water. First up were the kids under 10 (and there were a few kids who were only 5 years old competing!). They started at the bridge and had to go to the end of the lagoon, out into the lake, around the island and all the way back--not a short distance but all of the little ones managed it in under 10 minutes.
Len and I have both been amazed at the level of independence and ability of the children here. And in the level of politeness from kids of all ages...every person I've met under the age of about 18 addresses grownups by either Mr or Ms So and So, never by their first name which was very common in Chicago and which I found quite impolite given my Southern upbringing.

And there is waving...lots of waving...when you drive or walk past someone. Everybody waves, including the kids. Both the girls kept asking, "Why does everyone keep waving at us? Do we know them?" which cracked me up because growing up in a small Southern town, it was common for people to give a friendly wave as you passed by.

Anyway, back to the races...this pic shows the racers coming back from around the island that is that group of trees in the center of the photo.
K and L are now VERY hot and bothered to have a kayak so they can compete next year. For this year, though, they had to content themselves with throwing water into the boats. (notice that they have embraced the whole running around without shoes on thing...exactly the way I grew up!)
The lifeguards had a bit of fun in the last race. At the start line one crew managed to dump the other crew's boat completely over so they couldn't compete. Instead of slinking away though, the capsized lifeguards abandoned ship and lay in wait in the lagoon until the other crew returned from the race and was headed towards the finish. The 4 lifeguards in the water grabbed their opponent's canoe and capsized them right as they were about to grab victory! Everyone came up laughing though--good sportsmanship!
We ended our evening at the Youth talent show. Kate and Lucy signed up for a spot and performed part of their routine from the kindergarten graduation. We got most of it on video and will load it up for another post later in the week.

Today was the culmination of the weekend's events and included a parade, a flag ceremony with the pledge of allegiance and national anthem, pancake (and bloody mary or mimosa!) breakfast, more music and a volleyball and tennis tournament in the afternoon. Kate and Lucy wanted to march in the parade so we taped some flags to their scooters and sent them off.
I think there were more people in the parade than were watching it.

This group of people had the right idea--comfy chairs and a table full of food so they could sit and watch the parade while eating breakfast!
The Village police and a few boy scouts were on hand to raise the flag and lead the pledge.

Next up was awarding prizes for various groups in the parade as well as acknowledgements for all the volunteers who organized the weekend's events.
We enjoyed pancakes, juice and bloody marys.
Lucy and Kate won in their division for best Youth Team entry...I think because they were the only ones in that category though!

More music, this time from a man who grew up here. He was quite good!
The girls spotted another girl headed to the water to do some fishing and high-tailed it after her.
It didn't take long for the shoes to come off...
Back at the house, Len got out the old fishing poles that the former owners had left behind. With a bit of TLC, some new hooks and worms, they were soon ready to have their first fishing lesson.

It's a catch and release lake...and they caught quite a few. I think Len really enjoyed himself as they were gone for 3 hours!

The one thing this neighborhood does not do is the actual fireworks. You have to go into the larger village or cities for that. We decided that we would skip it for this year since we had so many other activities this weekend. The girls didn't complain at all and went happily to bed before the sun was down.

All this fresh air and new activities have certainly been good for our little family. We are feeling very fortunate this year and hope you all had a great holiday as well.

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

Oh my goodness , you seem to have a little piece of heaven at your new place! What a great community and terrific neighbourhood! The girls will be so happy here. I bet your Florida relatives miss you this year but your summer is sure off to a good start! Would you like some Canadian company? Just kidding! It sure looks peaceful and relaxing. Happy Belated 4th July!


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