Chariton's 4th of July weekend celebration opened officially late Thursday afternoon and it looks like today is going to be a great day --- sunny skies, with a high near 80. Saturday? Well .... Wait and see.
Whatever the case, the square's a colorful and crowded place right now --- and will remain that way through the weekend, weather permitting.
I liked the look of this year's carnival, more traditional than last year's version that was heavy on vast inflated bouncy attractions. Lots more traditional rides and traditional carnival stands this year, plus all the food and other stands operated by the carnival and local organizations on the courthouse lawn and in the parking lots surrounding.
A time-traveling visitor from a century ago would have few problems recognizing his or her hometown this weekend --- carnival and other attractions encircling the courthouse, encircled themselves by historic buildings --- then far newer and, in some cases, in better repair. But we're working on the latter.
Chariton always has been a 4th-of-July destination in southern Iowa --- and still is. If you doubt that come see the thousands of people who will line the streets before the 1 p.m. start of the big Independence Day parade. There will be a variety of attractions on the square all day, a municipal band concert at 6 p.m., live music on the stage after that and, at 10 p.m., fireworks in Northwest Park. The beer tent, by the way, opens at noon.
About 20 turned out for the walking tour of the square --- just the right size of group to talk to. I'll have some of the brochures that go with the tour printed off next week and leave them at the Chamber-Main Street office for those who might care to do the tour on their own.
Fireworks make a lot of noise, but the 4th of July Committee --- which makes all of this possible --- generally doesn't. It's a heck of a business to organize this annual celebration, raise the funds to pay for it, then get everything moved into place to pull it off. So if you see a committee member, be sure to say "thanks."