Randomness from Freedom Fest
Even with SPF of latex paint I still managed to head to bed with a bit of sunburn last night. It was a great day for Freedom Fest on the grounds of New Life Assembly of God in Janesville. The blazing sun kept a few people away during the heat of the day but the crowd for the event really started to stream in around 5:00. I was able to get a nice view of the grounds as a part of the bike safety team (on my 1991 Giant purchased from Michael's Cycle at the OLD location on Center and Rockport). With many hours on the saddle I was able to take in a ton....here are a few random observations.
More rides equaled smooth lines. One of the great things about Freedom Fest is the free carnival rides. In previous years rides were close together and lines seemed to merge into one big snake. This year, organizers spread the rides out and added a few more. For the most part the lines flowed smooth. It did clog a bit toward the end of the night but thousands were riding - for free.
Patience. Some have it, some don't. . Any time you put a large group of people together you really need to bring an extra dose of patience. The ride lines might be a tad long and it may take a few minutes to get your snow cone. Overall, I saw patience galore on the grounds...even from the 'got to have it now' Twitter generation. Smiles outnumber frowns 10 to 1.
Parking tip - there are plenty of spots on the grounds. I directed traffic onto the church grounds from around 7 until a few moments before launch. There was plenty of parking. Families who had parked miles away walked past and made a mental note, "We'll be parking here next year."
It's not always political. One constant at Freedom Fest is the introduction of Representative Paul Ryan. If you hadn't noticed this area is sort of polarized right now. Well, Paul was introduced and I heard pleasant claps. There were a few jeers but it was mostly pleasant. I think the crowd just wanted fireworks - and not the political kind.
Kids will be kids. A few years ago I wrote about the attire that many teens wore. Not much has changed there. I wouldn't let my daughter go out in some of the outfits I saw on teens and pre-teens but that's just me. Overall, the kids were respectful and were just out to enjoy the night. That was great to witness.
The fireworks were safe and AWESOME! There were a few people who were shaking their head that the city would let the event launch with the dry conditions. Well, the folks at the fire department are professionals and they called it right. The result was an INCREDIBLE fireworks display put on by Kirk Overturf and his crew.
Did I mention the fireworks were awesome? If you didn't catch the show you really missed a great one. My favorite part of the display each year are the hundreds of unsuspecting traveller passing on Highway 14. The display is bright in the air and the brake lights bring those cars to a crawl. Not as many cars did the hard stop but there were still heads popping out of the back windows :-)
The ride home. I've walked or ridden my bike home for the past five years. In my opinion the amount of traffic was greater than ever. I live about a mile north of the church and after I pass Sandhill Drive traffic and cars parked on Wright Road usually thins. Not this year. Traffic flowed out of Briarcrest Drive as heavy as Sandhill.
Thank you to the staff, the volunteers and the police and fire departments for making yesterday another memorable day in Janesville! Freedom Fest 11 is in the books and our wallets aren't empty. I can't wait until next year. Thank you!!!