Tractor Parade

This past weekend we decided it was time to check out our first local seasonal event: The Christmas Tractor Parade. This parade I have been told is the biggest of the year and at least a thousand people bundled in their warm clothes line up along the parade route.

The main route goes through  old downtown Centralia. Fortunately we live only blocks from there. So Luke and I put on our warmer clothes and walked downtown.  There we met some family friends, some of their kids, and nephews and found our spot along the brick street.

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Please Note: these pictures are from the Centralia downtown’s website: http://downtowncentralia.org

You may wonder: what makes a Christmas parade a tractor parade? Well most of the lighted floats were either pulled by tractors, pulling tractors, carrying tractors, or had tractor themed decorations on them. We saw a motorcycle dressed up in cardboard to look like a tractor, several holiday blow up santa-riding tractors, the parade queen sat on the bucket of a tractor, and we saw a lumber tractor on a semi truck bed decorated with full limbs of fallen timber.

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We were told the entry fee is minimal so on average there are 80 or more float entries! Floats are judged for different categories before the parade begins at 6pm. Each tractor or float was creatively decorated and lit; advertising their organization, church, farmers market, or store. Many had music, bubbles, or snow machines.

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What was most suprising to me was how interactive the parade was. Young people dressed as angels, elves, snowmen, reindeer and more walked alongside each float with buckets. When they saw children, they would pass out candy, toys, stickers, coupons and information about their organization.

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The family we came with were prepared with plastic grocery bags. The kids were given so many goodies they could fill up their stockings! Eventually we were given a bag too as the parents tried to get rid of some of the sugar heading home with them. When we got home we opened our bag to find some really amazing treats (not only candy canes and dum dum lollipops).

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Other than floats the local high school band played, motorcycle groups wove up and down the street passing out candy, and a local equestrian team came through with very disciplined horses who were unfazed by the semi truck horns, tractor engines, or the lights they were decorated in.

Overall it was a lively and inviting Christmas parade. It was well attended too in-spite of the rain and cool temperatures. Let’s just say it was a great first local outing and we will probably go again another year.

 

Birthday in picture review

Thought I would follow up my b-day outing plans with some picture proof.

After a walk down to the library, I went to Walker Cake Co.and realized I was hungry for more than a treat. So I got a gluten-free artichoke avocado bacon turkey sandwich with flaxseed tortilla chips and grapefruit juice and yes it was very good. 🙂

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Then I walked down to Soul Full Cup. Indecisive about what to order I looked at the specials and decided on the dark chocolate iced coffee. It was rich dark yummy awesomeness great for accompanying my good read.

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Next I walked down to the grocery store to pick up a few items and some new kitchen goods then headed back home.

thunderstorms predicted thought an umbrella would be a good caution
thunderstorms predicted thought an umbrella would be a good caution

After cooling off from the humid 90 degree weather I treated myself to the dessert I picked up after lunch: mocha doughnut cupcake. It was so rich and crumbly good I only ate a quarter of it.

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To top off the day, Luke came home after work with a present for me too beautiful for wrapping.

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Strawberry Festival: an up and down outing

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This past Saturday, Luke and I decided to go for a drive to a little town called Owego NY for their 33rd Annual Strawberry Festival. We took a scenic northern route to get there driving through small towns and farmland. Once we arrived downtown we struggled to find any form of parking and decided finally to support the local boy scouts for $5 parking. Eager to stretch our legs and explore, we got out and began walking the blocked off streets of downtown Owego.

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Looking around we saw the typical festival food everything dipped, fried, and covered in powdered sugar or syrup possible. There were also BBQ, Gyro, Philly Cheesesteak, Italian sausage, and hamburger and french fry trucks parked all along the sidewalks. Among the many vendors we saw local artists paintings and pottery, antiques, tupperware, tie dyed outfits for all ages, face painting,  sunglasses stands, jewelry, toys all similar to the many flee markets I’m used to in SoCal.

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Turning a corner, we ran into one of the Saturday events: fireman’s hose race. Two teams at a time compete to  set up the hose line,  filling it with water, and  be the first team to knock down the sign at the end of the raceway with their steady stream of water. We watched one race and at the end in celebration the winning team turned the hose to the sky spraying the crowd with water.

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Since this was a strawberry festival, there were plenty of  strawberry flavored novelties: lemonade, icees, strawberry flavored kettle corn, smoothies, shortcake and more. Luke and I decided to pick up a strawberry daiquiri from Elk’s Lodge to share as we walked around.

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Following a path around one of the three music stages we found the waterfront to the Susquehanna river. Walking along the path following the river, we watched  cars crossing over the river on the bridge leading into old town.  Passing a children’s play area including bounce houses, we found a local jam and butter stand and bought some strawberry rhubarb butter.

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Walking further down the street we found the wine tasting tent. We only bought one ticket: $5 for 10 tastes to share since there were only a few vendors. Disappointed by most of the wineries, Luke headed to the brewery.  Eager to try their beers Luke sampled them all. The result was good and bad new. Bad news for the brewery he wasn’t impressed by. Good news? He thought his first homemade brew was actually better than what he tasted and has more faith in his ability to make some great homemade beer!!

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After a little more walking around, we decided to stop to eat. Craving mexican we decided to stop into their local mexican restaurant with seating over looking the river. Luke ordered a build your own burrito and I did the same but in a bowl form. Hungry we were happy when our food arrived. Sadly that happiness did not last long. Barely into my meal I found the chicken in my burrito bowl to be tasteless. Luke found his meat to be similarly bland. We left disappointed realizing we have still yet to have found a decent Mexican restaurant any better than Taco Bell here on the East Coast.

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As we left the festival we found another local vendor for honey. Luke has been wanting to get local honey for awhile, hoping it will help us adjust to the pollen and allergens in the area. Knowing that I use quite a bit of honey   and wanting to support a local business we got the 2lb. container and a few honey sticks for the road.

The goodies from our outing
The goodies from our outing

The Strawberry Festival had it’s ups and downs. Another down moment was that we saw only one actual strawberry stand out of the hundreds of vendors, selling small containers of strawberries for 4.50 each!!!! Still it was a worth while to explore a thriving small downtown area only an hour from home. Plus we found a new river to explore and hopefully kayak on.

How was your weekend?

My new hometown

Luke and I love to explore but sometimes for cost sake it’s better to stay local. Yet in this still very winter weather, no matter how tempting, we don’t want to get stuck inside. Fortunately we live in Corning.

Spending more time close to home, I realized I haven’t blogged about my new hometown.

(As I have written before click on any picture or word/phrase in orange to see more!)

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Corning is probably known best for Corningware or Corelle. You know, all those plates and baking dishes you buy for wedding registries? (maybe even bought for mine). This is where it all got started.

Corning was first known as a lumber town because the Chemung river runs through it. When the industrial revolution hit the city became a center for the railroad. By 1868 it had become the new home for Corning Glass Works. This is why Corning’s nicknamed “Crystal City”.  Tourist come in the summer to the Corning Museum of Glass featuring modern glass art, the science behind glass, glass uses, live glass blowing demonstrations, and an extensive collection on the history of glass.

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On the same property is their glass making studio where you can sign up to make a featured item.

Ornaments Luke and I made in the glass studio in December
Ornaments Luke and I made in the glass studio in December

Or you can take one of many glass shaping/art classes at the glass making studio.  You may remember my 2300 degrees blog; that event was hosted at the museum. Corning Inc.’s offices and one their research and development facilities, which test glass products for industry, science and technology, are also in Corning.

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As much as I love history, what you will probably hear me talk most about is our historic downtown called the Gaffer District (a gaffer =a glass blower/maker). This area encompasses several blocks of glass art studios, museums, eclectic speciality shops, antique stores, bars, bakeries, and restaurants.  Many events and festivals are held here annually (some of which I  will attend in the future and share with all of you ).

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If you are a history buff and want to know about Corning’s history: Click Here!

Want to know more about the historic downtown Gaffer District? : Check it out here!

or take a look at the Gaffer District’s Facebook page: Click here!

So that is a short tour of my new hometown. What do you think?