Riverboat Daze 2017 is in the rearview mirror, but people are still talking about it. It was a bit of a gamble for the Chamber of Commerce organizers, changing the format the way they did. But oh boy did it ever work out well.
Whether they’ve struck a well that will keep on gushing…. We’ll have to see what happens next year, or maybe in a year when the weather doesn’t co-operate. But for now, let’s just offer a big congratulations for a job well done.
It’s also good to be reminded, once in a while, of what ‘community’ can actually be. As in hundreds of people, on foot in a central location, enjoying organized activities and each other’s company. It sounds very simple, but in today’s world, it obviously isn’t. We’re all very busy, rushing past each other in our vehicles. Months and years go by without even saying ‘hello’ to many of our acquaintances. Such isolation is probably not good for anyone.
So what does the success of 2017 Riverboat Daze tell us? That with the right combination of good ideas, energetic leadership, timing and weather, something special can happen. Maybe more than that, but at least that much.
And here’s the kicker: as good as it was, it could be even better next year. The parade, for example, could be improved. The Chamber could raise its standards and not allow under-decorated (and in some cases not even very clean) vehicles. A string of cars and trucks with one or two signs on them is hardly worth showing up for. Floats on trailers can be very nice: some of them were and some were pretty ordinary. Marching bands would be nice. A pipe group leading the way would have been good: something to think about next year.
How about the sand sculpture event? It was a great day on the beach. People turned out and everybody seemed to be enjoying it. Participation in the competition was a bit low, which is consistent with the last few years it was held. But even a small-scale, low-key event on the beach – when the weather cooperates – is worth having. Being part of the bigger Riverboat Daze festival, it doesn’t have to be spectacular. When it was a stand-alone event, with big promotion, and only a handful of teams entered, it hardly seemed worthwhile. As one piece in the bigger Daze picture it fit pretty well.