Archive for Tuesday, July 3, 2001

Best, worst of Baldwin City

July 3, 2001

We've witnessed the best and worst of small-town living in Baldwin City this past month. Thankfully, the best has far outweighed the worst.

What was best? Easily, that's "Annie." The Baldwin City Theatre's production of the classic musical captivated the town. Julie Miller as "Annie" and Knute Pittenger as "Daddy Warbucks" stole the show. But, that's the way it's written and that's the way it's supposed to happen. It did.

It has always amazed me how the whole summer theatre production comes about. You know it's "play" time when the semi-trailer shows up just to the west of the post office. From there, bit by bit, piece by piece, the stage comes alive and the whole area is a beehive of activity.

While most people are aware of the show, it's what happens before the actual production that really amazes me. It's the building of the sets, hanging the lights, all of the behind the scenes stuff and most of all the rehearsals.

I have the advantage of watching it all take place right across the street from the office. It's the only time of the year when others are putting in the same amount of hours I do. I enjoy the company. I'll take a break and step out front to listen to one of the many songs. They're done over and over again, just in practice.

Then it's show time. Downtown Baldwin bubbles even more with activity. Parking is at a premium. It's wonderful. By this time, I know the play by heart. But, it's never the same as it is before the "live" audience. It's even more wonderful.

Of course this year there were weather problems. That's the risk with an outdoor production. But, the show still went on. It was well worth it.

But, it wasn't just "Annie" that's had downtown Baldwin hopping. The last night of rehearsal, which is "senior citizen" night, there was also Art Walk, another of city's cultural mainstays which the Baldwin Community Arts Council has nurtured into a fabulous event.

With art displayed up and down the streets, at the Art Affair and in several downtown businesses, the Art Walk drew record crowds for its first "real" show of the season. Of course, "Annie" helped bring people downtown, but there were plenty of "non seniors" that took in the many displays.

Then, to close it out, Hedge's Real Estate had its "Ice Cream Social" Friday to coincide with "Annie." That's yet another prime example of small-town living at its best.

Theatre, art and ice cream what a trio. But what we don't always remember is that Baldwin City is so unique when it comes to such matters. Do you see other towns our size having such events? Not hardly.

That's why Baldwin is such a wonderful place. Sometimes we take it for granted, but we shouldn't. We have something very special here and that's what brings people to Baldwin.

Oh, yea, what about the "worst?" Well, of course, that's our electrical outages. That's also something we've all become accustomed to, unfortunately. But, for a change, there is actually something being done about them. Everyone in Baldwin needs to get involved to help decide which electrical path we should take staying in or getting out of the electrical generation business.

It's a vital issue to this growing community and the current city council is willing to listen to what the people want. Let them know.

After all, we wouldn't want something like "Annie" or Art Walk to go dark, now would we?

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