Carnival: Large part of large social gathering

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Monday night, I was very excited to learn that Florala’s June 24th Celebration would feature a carnival this year.

Cheesy I know, but still.

The carnival is a large part of what the celebration means to the community – family, fun and fellowship.

At its creation, 139 years and some nine months ago, it was the premiere social event of the year for all of Covington County. People would travel miles in horse and buggies and spend the entire week in town.

And while it may not be to the same degree as it was all those years ago, it sill is the premiere social event in Florala.

It’s the only time when you can see your third grade teacher, your best friend from high school and that cute so-and-so you see pumping gas every morning at the Tom Thumb, all in the same place. It’s the place to see and be seen.

Now for kids, it is, once again, that one time of the year when the big rides “ride” into town and leave lasting memories of good times.

Back in June 2007, it was less than two weeks before the start of the event when news broke there would be no carnival in Florala.

And folks were very upset. Event organizers scrambled to pull something to together, and they succeeded – quite admirably, too, I might add – with a collection of outdoor activities such as slide, a rock wall climb, an obstacle course and some type of combination rock climb/slide/obstacle course thingy.

It wasn’t a tilt-a-whirl, but it worked.

One of the best photos I have of my two youngest children is them on some kiddie ride in 2007, and to me the expression of joy on their faces is exactly what the event is all about.

Now, organizers are debating on just where to put this carnival. In a city of less than 2,000 residents, every street and avenue is utilized. Possible locations include past sites such as the area in front of the Ladies Club House/Fire Department and years ago site on Lakeshore Boulevard.

One new site that has been proposed is the city’s Industrial Park, and to me, it’s an interesting concept.

A bit out of the way, but an interesting thought – plenty of parking, great access road, but like I said, a little bit out of the way.

After all, it is the oldest Masonic celebration in the U.S. and probably the only event in the world where you can run a mile, catch a bass, win a crown, touch an antique car, catch some candy and get hosed down by a gigantic water hose all in one place, all in one week.

Oh, and I forgot to mention hear some great music and dance a little dance.

Still, I’d love to hear suggestions on ways the public thinks this year’s event could be the best ever.