Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A different kind of diversity

Every now and again Knoxvillians feel the winds of change calling. Usually at the start of the summer season they sing out, beckoning us to get the heck out of Dodge, if even for a day trip. Sometimes leaving Knoxville is just as important as taking a stroll through Market Square in helping us realize what a gem Knoxville is.

For my first summer excursion I chose to head south on I-75 to Dayton, TN. Every May the folks in Dayton have their now famous Strawberry Festival. Now you may remember Dayton as the site of the historical Scopes Monkey Trial, but be not fooled, in May it's all about the strawberries. 

The festival is technically a week-long event, but my partner-in-crime and I decided to hit up the culmination of a weeks festivities. We drove down on Saturday just in time for the parade (well, just in time to grab a corn dog, funnel cake and a front row seat in between some senior citizens).

Our expectations were pretty high for this event. The night before we watched the mocumentary Drop Dead Gorgeous about a small-town beauty pageant in the Midwest. We knew what we were getting into, and expected a show both on and off the parade route. 

Needless to say, all our expectations were met if not exceeded. From the beauty queen (first of many) who started the parade with her ride in a muddied Hummer to the bloated man in a blazer running for State Senate riding in the back of a vintage convertible, it was perfect. 

It was great to get out of town for the day and be surrounded with people who have different priorities and operate at a slower pace. Now, clearly my investigation of these people goes only so deep-its easy for me to assign a certain belief/priority set to someone wearing jean shorts and a well-coiffed mullet.

Surely we are not that different, but for this writer, sweeping generalizations pretty much do the trick. 

My only regret was the fact that there were not more out-of-towners there sneaking a peek at small town life. I know the Strawberry Festival doesn't need to be overrun with self-important hipsters taking pictures of mullets (I think two is enough), but I do urge everyone to take the effort and experience a fascinating and refreshing kind of diversity offered just outside the city limits. 


The Modern Gal said...

Everyone needs to do at least one small-town Southern festival every summer. They are quite the slice of life.

I went to the Scopes re-enactment a few summers back as I have a strange facination with that trial. It was ... um ... interesting.

I'm going to try to make the storytelling in Jonesborough in the fall. Might I also recommend the cornbread festival in South Pittsburg, just outside Chattanooga?

Also, I love your green pants, Robert.

B said...

robert, this post epitomizes all the things i love about you. wish i could have watched you watch all those people. -b

ck said...

I can't believe my absolute favorite pic from Dayton didn't make it! You know the one I'm talking about, Robert.

Robert said...

fine ill put it up.

B said...

poor, poor lady. y'all are ruthless.

Robert said...

ck made me

benjamin said...

what, beth? i think that lady is hott with two T's. she'll probably get her 15 seconds of fame because of this blog post.