Cars, Carnivals, and Flying Critters

I live in a small town that is a suburb of a larger city. I get the best of both worlds and this weekend is a small town weekend. It’s the weekend of my town’s annual festival. Four days filled with activities for all ages, most of which I don’t attend, but it gives you a nice small-town feeling to know your community is having a cookout, a parade , fire department water fights, and a pancake breakfast even if you’re not there.

There were three things, however, that I was looking forward to this year, the classic car show, the carnival, and the fireworks.

I didn’t end up going down to the classic car show, because I was working on a project in the house. A project I will soon be writing about here. I also knew I could see the cars after the show. I had read that as the cars left the show, they would “cruise” the main streets of town with a police escort that took them right past my house. When the time came, I stood on the my deck and took pictures as they drove by. Some of the drivers honked and waved when they saw me with my phone out.

One of the many cool cars that cruised by my house Friday night.
One of the many cool cars that cruised by my house Friday night.

The carnival takes place at a park within walking distance of my house. I drive past the park every morning on my way to work. Every year it’s fun to see them start setting up the lights and the booths and the rides. I haven’t been to the carnival since I was in high school, but this year I decided I wanted to walk down and check it out.

I walked down on Thursday, and I must say, I was a little disappointed. Not a lot of people and it was too early for the lights to be on. I left thinking, well, that is nothing like I remembered. I must be getting too old for carnivals.

I decided to give it another try Friday night before the fireworks. I’m glad I did! It was a totally different experience. As I walked down I saw the blocks leading up to the park lined bumper to bumper with cars. This was a good sign. Sure enough, the park was packed with carnival goers young and old and all lit up in the night.

I could hear music as I approached. A great live band was playing a great variety of music. I stood around and listened to Love Shack, Glory Days,  Jessie’s Girl, Fun Fun Fun, and my favorite, You Really Got Me. That is the closest I’ll ever get to a Kinks concert!

This band did one of my all-time favorite bands, The Kinks, proud on this song.
This band did one of my all-time favorite bands, The Kinks, proud on this song.

I didn’t ride any rides or play any games or buy any food, I think I must be too old to enjoy those things. All I could think was the games are a waste of money and the rides and the food would both make me sick. But, I had fun walking around taking in the sights and sounds.

A view of the far end of the carnival from the out amongst the bat trees.
A view of the far end of the carnival from the out amongst the bat trees.

So, now we come to what I had been waiting for with the most anticipation. The fireworks. I love fireworks, but, whatever the occasion, I’m usually watching them from a ways away parked somewhere in my car. This time I was going to watch them from the park.

I walked the paths up the hill amongst those big tall trees I love so much and picked out my spot to stand and watch the fireworks. The show began and not more than a minute in, guess what I discovered apparently loves those beautiful mature trees in the park as much as I do?? BATS!! And guess what bats do not seem to like? Fireworks!

I was oohing and aahhing at the show when something came flying into my line of vision, silhouetted against the fireworks lighting the sky. What was THAT? Was that a bat?

I tried to dismiss it, but there is no mistaking a flying bat for a flying bird. They flap in a totally different way and I could definitely see its wings.

If you know anything about me and my fear of animals, even cute ones, you can imagine how NOT excited I was to see bats in the sky. But I really wanted to enjoy the fireworks, so I tried to focus on the fun.

Cut to a few minutes later and two bats were crisscrossing the fireworks show about every thirty seconds. Now I was starting to get nervous. There were lots of people scattered in clumps around me on the hill. Why was nobody else freaked out by these bats? It is impossible not to see them, so apparently I am just a wimp.

A really freaked out wimp. Now the bats were circling and swooping up and down about about ten feet above my head. The fireworks were at a crescendo and all I could focus on were the flying rats that seemed focused on stopping my heart, or at the very least, ruining my show. When I could see them, it made my skin crawl. When I couldn’t see them, my eyes were darting around wondering where they went and when they were coming back.

As the fireworks were getting closer to the finale, the bats were getting closer to my head. Finally one flew literally about five feet above my head and five feet in front of my face. That was WAY too close! I started to back up the hill until I realized I was backing up under a giant tree…that was probably full of bats!

I had worked myself into a pretty good panic by now. I did manage to get mesmerized by the giant fireworks finale and forgot about the bats for about 30 seconds. Then came the deafening silence that signals the end of a fireworks show. The crowd applauded, smoke lingering in the air, and I turned on my heels and ever so casually race-walked away from batland.

The first thing I did when I got home was rifle through my phone thinking, “please tell me one of these fireworks shots has a bat silhouette in it!” Alas, no bat pictures, but here is a shot of the fireworks.

The town put on a great show for the bats and me.
The town put on a great show for the bats and me.

Later on this  summer there will be more small town activities like outdoor concerts and movies shown under the stars on the lawn of the library. I might even go watch when they show Back To The Future. So, long about the middle of summer, if you hear Marty McFly down by the library, look for me on the lawn.

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