In the spring of this year we moved to a small town just outside the city with a population of approximately 2500 people. We have loved getting to know how small community, and really feel a sense of belonging in the short 8 months we've lived here. Our kid's school is 5 houses down from us, and the clerks at the local shops know us by name and always ask how our kids are doing. It really feels like a town out of a book.
Every fall on the Thanksgiving long weekend, our small town hosts the largest Children's Parade in the Province, along with cattle and sheep shows courtesy of the agriculture club and a carnival complete with candy apples and rides. This year was the 157th celebration of the Elmvale Fall Fair.
Every year, all the local schools have the children walk in the parade. The elementary schools and high school all participate with parade floats, chants, and even have their bands march in the parade. Everyone get's the day off school to take part in the parade, and then hang out with their families on the event grounds for the day. The sense of community is something that I haven't seen since living up in small-town Northern Ontario.
The kids and their families feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves. Standing there in the crowds of people, participating in this collective assembly, I couldn't help but think "This is what it means to be human." I stopped to chat with a couple of women who have been watching the parade since they were young girls themselves, and realized how special this fair is. It may not be the most extravagant, or even the most visually captivating parade, but the heart and community that exists in its core is something truly remarkable.