Every year around the 4th of July, the entire community gets patriotic, and a sense of community spirit (latent for much of the year) blooms once again. I've written before about the Glendale Parade and the joy that the community (adults and children) seem to take in our annual march through the park, and I'm glad to do so again today.
Of course, the other part of our 4th of July festivities has been Glendale Days. Over time, this Glendale tradition has grown in size and in importance, drawing people from beyond Glendale's borders. I think that's because there's nothing quite like it in the North Shore. And all of that credit has to be given to the Glendale Days Committee, this year led by Alderperson JoAnn Shaw. I should point out that when I came up to Ms. Shaw this weekend to commend her on an excellent festival, she would not accept credit. Instead, she noted that Glendale Days 2008 was and is a group effort, and that the committee as a whole deserves the credit for a fabulous affair.
And I agree. I certainly hope that the rest of the City, including the powers that be, credit this fine group of volunteers who annually put together one of the best shows. We can talk a lot about how community is important, and how volunteering for its benefit is a goal for which we must all strive, but I don't know that most people realize how much effort the committee members put into Glendale Days. Heck, I'm not even sure I do. Suffice it to say that the people who put together our festival are doers, not talkers. I can only imagine the multitude of tasks involved. I assume the city has to gain permission and access to the park (a county park); I'm sure there are plenty of fees to be paid and sponsors to be secured; vendors must be found and placed; volunteers must be taken and scheduled to work the grounds and ticket booths; security must be hired; permits must be applied for; firework shows must be arranged; and entertainment must be hired. None of these are small tasks, and most people have day jobs, too, so time is a premium.
I hope people noticed that there were plenty of improvements this year. Most notably, the fair rides were markedly better. The carnival industry may be a bit touch-and-go. There are a lot of carnival companies, and many of them have bookings years in advance. If memory serves me, last year I was not impressed with the quality of rides or the staffers. Being a father, I want to make sure my children ride safe, clean, comfortable rides. This year, I was very pleased. Just for the record, my son loved the giant choo choo train ride. Another improvement was the better placement of the vendor booths in a more prominent location. This was a smart move that benefited the vendors, who were previously less accessible.
This year, many people are feeling the pinch of a struggling economy and rising gas prices. Yet Glendale days has proven itself as an affordable festival within walking distance for everyone. Let's applaud Glendale once again for doing such a great job.