Street Fair on a roll

Once again, like last year, the town threw itself a party that hit all the right notes. Last Friday's street festival was, once again, a great success.

Credit for that should go to all the town officials, town employees, and other organizers of the event. Those businesses and non-profit organizations who took out booths to spread their message were also a big part of the picture, as was the evening's entertainment. The "Don't Leave" band and friends gave everyone an excuse not to leave, but everyone from John Stork, the acrobat, and a group of facepainters, were also essential parts of the festivities.

All around, a great night, which showed off the town at its best. While we're sure they were some travelers and motorists slightly inconvenienced by having to detour around downtown, in the grand scheme of things that's a small price to be paid for turning over a section of Main Street for a well-deserved and executed town party.

Now that three such events have come and gone successfully (even last year's event in August, hampered by shaky weather, went pretty well), it's tempting to consider doing even more than two a year. But that would be overkill. What makes these special is that they are relatively rare. More than two per year would tax those who organize and put them together.

There's something interesting that happens when people are free to wander about a downtown without having to look both ways before crossing a street.

Wandering around in the middle of a roadway is oddly liberating. Converting the busiest street in town into an impromptu fairgrounds seems to bring out the better angels, or maybe it's just the contrast that is so incongruous that it just makes for a good atmosphere. Good weather helps, and we've been fortunate twice in that regard.

But the main winner here is the town as a whole. Not only do we have nifty things to share with ourselves and visitors, but we also have good people in a human scale setting. In any case, it's hard not to think of it as anything other than a community "feel good" moment, when people from differing walks of life come together to share a few hours together, just "visiting." And since we have enough times when controversies and differences of opinion tug at a community's fabric, occasions such as last Friday's street festival remind us that in the end, we're all after the same thing - a good quality of life in a livable space.

It may or not be Norman Rockwell's America, and the stuff of New Englandesque fantasies, but it sure sufficed for one night. Mark your calendars for the next one on Aug. 15.


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