On our way out of Sycamore, we tried to locate a few of Chris’ family’s friends to say hello (and, goodbye) before beginning our trek to Indianapolis. Sadly, we were unable to make contact with any of them. As we were leaving, we drove along one of the town’s historic neighborhood streets, which also happened to be the parade route for Sunday, and noticed a large tent set up in a yard. The tent was filled with campaign signs, including signs for Chris’ friend Sarah, who is running for State’s Attorney for Dekalb County, and her father, Jordan, who is up for Circuit Court Judge. We pulled over so Chris could go and snap a few pictures of the signs.
I stayed in the car while Chris took the pictures but he was gone for what felt like an eternity. I looked out to see that he was chatting with some folks. This being a small, friendly town and Chris being the extrovert that he is, I wasn’t surprised to see this. So, I climbed out of the car ready to give my, “Come on…let’s go” look. Apparently, however, these were old family friends that he was talking to and it was their tent with the campaign signs. They informed us that before, during, and after the parade the following day, they would be having a party and all of the old family friends would be there, including the ones we were unable to connect with earlier. They invited us to attend and it didn’t take Chris long to decide that we would stay in Sycamore one more night and finish off Pumpkin Festival properly by attending the parade and a party.
Not wanting to return to the RV park, we took a chance and claimed a lovely spot for the Airstream on the street directly across from the parade route. I watched as people began claiming their seats along the route early. It being a small town, they simply placed their folding Green Bay Packers chairs or their Chicago Bears blankets in their claimed spot the night before and miraculously, the chairs and blankets were there when they returned the next day. Fascinating!
The following day, the town was abuzz with parade activity. Floats were lining up, excited families and friends were claiming their spots along the street, and parties were underway, serving up their beers and brats. (Because no parade in or near Chicago is complete without beers and brats, right?) We walked across the street to join the fun, talked with old and new friends, and even had a pre-parade show by the Fossil Band, whom I was told was made up of former marching band members/hippies. They came to the house, did a couple of numbers in exchange for beer, and then moved on to find their place in the parade line. It was entertaining, to say the least.
Promptly at 1pm, marching bands, loud motorcycles, elaborate floats, scary clowns, dancing children and many other parade participants began making their way down the crowded street. Rain was in the forecast but the blue skies and sunshine stayed the duration of the parade. Chris’ friend, Sarah, marched, along with other folks running for public office. For two hours, we stood and watched a variety of individuals walk, march, ride or dance by cheering and waving to the many parade attendees. Some parade participants were enthusiastic for the day and others (i.e., those teenagers forced to participate) looked slightly traumatized.
The Pumpkin Festival was a success. The rain held off until after the parade and parties ended. It was nice to be a part of a community after so many months of moving around from place to place. We said our goodbyes and departed for Indianapolis right on schedule…er…okay…a day late. But, that’s the beauty of this lifestyle: the freedom. We were glad we stayed the extra day and thankful for the coincidence of being in Sycamore for this big event. Thanks to all the kind folks of Sycamore, Illinois who made our visit to the town so memorable.