The Grand Parade of the Silver Lake Pow Wow is not an entirely solemn event, but it carries the weight of ceremony. The dancers enter the ring in a prescribed order, the flag bearers hop from one foot to the other to the beat of the drum, which performs a slow song that befits the occasion.
Although the Silver Lake Pow Wow is 19 years old, the gathering of communities at summer's end goes back a lot longer than that. Old friends greet each other with words and hugs, and after the elder has said a few words and the drum sends the assembled dancers through another turn around the ring, the parade breaks up and the greetings continue. Then the ring is opened up to everyone in attendance and it is completely filled. The Pow Wow is under way.
Photo - Kiley Stanley, 2nd from right, was declared Miss Garlic, the princess of the Maberly Fair parade.
At the Maberly Fair, the parade enters the fairgrounds led by two girls dressed as heads of garlic, followed by a marching pipe band, floats carrying entire extended families pulled by newer and older tractors (including one that is over 90 years old) followed by fire trucks. Politicians and heads of agricultural groups, as well as the fair convenor, bring greetings as the parade participants watch from the infield, but the fair is already underway. The Light Horse show is well into its second hour; the poultry are squawking away in the poultry display shed; Marilyn the Psychic is already making predictions in her booth; the zucchini vehicles are set out on a table even though the race is hours away, and old friends are greeting each other throughout the compact fairgrounds. It’s a one-day fair so no one wants to wait for the ceremony to be completed before starting to have fun.
Light Horse pull at Parham Fair.
The Parham Fair starts on Friday evening. The grandstand is almost full when the fair committee and township politicians proclaim the fair open, but the people aren’t paying much attention. They are waiting for the Light Horse pull to begin. They want to see if Bill Lee will win again (he will – at 7,200 pounds, see photo on page 9). Meanwhile kids and teenagers are gathering at the bandshell for the Cowboy/Cowgirl and Parham Idol contests to start. Ambush is ready to play when the contests end, and the midway is open for business.
These three events and others are all about people gathering in community to mark the end of another summer, before preparations begin for another harsh rural winter’s onset.