We finally moved in to Boo Manor at the end of May. Although, truth be told, I have yet to spend as many nights in Boo Manor as I have spent away. But I’m working on it.
Our first holiday weekend (that didn’t involve moving cats, clothes and foodstuffs) was this past weekend. Apparently, Canada Day is a big deal in Innerkip. Certainly the local events calendar would imply as much: parade, beer gardens, slow-pitch tournament, a firefighters’ breakfast and a soap box derby, to name but a few of the events on the weekend calendar. You can pretty much be busy from the time you wake to well past the time that you should have been in bed.
The long weekend was also the first weekend in a good long while for Dianne and I to just stop and unwind. Which meant that by 9:00am on Saturday morning, we had done very little indeed. I was having coffee, the cats were fed, and it was as yet unclear whether Dianne was even a wake. A few minutes later, however, the phone rang; Gene was inviting us over to watch the parade from their place. When did it start? “10:00am.” And how late can we actually get through and be able to park in their driveway? “Oh… around 5 minutes to 10 should be fine, but if you’re later you can probably just tell the cop blocking the road that you’re going to that driveway right there.”
Dianne went from zero to caffeinated with remarkable speed, and we were actually out the door at about 9:45am. Which had us pulling in Gene’s driveway at about 9:47am. It really doesn’t take long to get anywhere in this town. We were, in fact, the first ones to arrive.
For a 10:00am parade, things were awfully laid back. People started drifting to the roadway to take up a viewing position a few minutes before the hour. The OPP officer that was there to block traffic finally pulled up to the side of the road about 2 minutes to 10:00am. And sure enough, at 10:01 am, he pulled out across the road to block traffic for the duration of the parade.
The parade was a delightful mix of floats, vehicles, marchers, bicycles, firetrucks, tractors and just about anything else that you could imagine wheeling or walking down the main thoroughfare. I’m not entirely sure what the criteria are to march in the parade, but I imagine they are fairly liberal. There were ancient tractors spewing exhaust. Antique cars ferrying local MPs. Local folk driving their hotrods and pickups. Kids on bicycles. Floats that ranged from the amusingly hilarious to the hilariously amusing.
Impressively, Innerkip has a bagpipe and drum corps.
We also saw Oxford County’s Queen of the Furrow (aboard a tractor advertising the Oxford County Plowmen’s upcoming plowing match in July). And a local farm had very creatively assembled a giant maple leaf out of vegetable boxes.
The highlight for many of the kids along the route was the firetruck that came at the end of the parade. The local fire brigade’s pumper, it featured a member of the volunteer fire department wielding a very active fire hose. Many of the local children gleefully went out of their way to get as completely and utterly soaked as possible, and within minutes looked like drowned rats—ecstatic drowned rats that were eager for more.
A little while later, and the parade receded into the distance, wet pavement and the odd popsicle left in its wake. It was a pretty awesome welcome to the local community, and a hilarious way to start the weekend. Innerkip may be small, but it has a massive amount of community spirit, and it isn’t afraid to show it.